TORONTO (May 14, 2020) – As Canada prepares to honour one of the world’s most iconic queens on Victoria Day, Crave announces the cast of its majestic inaugural season of CANADA’S DRAG RACE. Season 1 of the Crave Original Series promises to have viewers clutching their royal pearls as 12 of the fiercest queens in the land showcase their Canadian Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent to compete to become Canada’s First Drag Superstar, and win the $100,000 grand prize.
Crave also announced today that in celebration of Canada Day, the herstorical first season premieres Thursday, July 2 only on Crave. New episodes roll out weekly, Thursday nights on Crave’s TV channel, Crave.ca, and the Crave app.
With Snatch Game, Rumail, the reading challenge, puppets, makeovers, and gag-worthy untucked sessions, CANADA’S DRAG RACE serves up fan-favourites from RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, but with a dash of maple-flavoured Canadian realness. Each episode tests the queens’ talents, and challenges them to master singing, dancing, acting, impersonation, costume making, and improvisation. One competitor sashays away at the end of each episode, until the last queen standing is announced the inaugural winner. Throughout this journey, the queens share their personal struggles and successes, highlighting their individuality.
As previously announced, presiding over each of the 10 episodes is a panel of expert judges – Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Stacey McKenzie – while ETALK Senior Correspondent Traci Melchor is Canada’s very first Squirrel Friend, making appearances throughout the season and adding her trademark fabulousness to the werkroom, challenges, and the main stage. Weekly celebrity guest hosts also join the panel, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Official brand partners for CANADA’S DRAG RACE include Hilton, Neutrogena®, and Roots Canada.
CANADA, MEET YOUR QUEENS!
— Toronto, ON –
Anastarzia has won more than 15 pageants including Miss Canada International, Miss Gay Toronto, and she is the reigning Miss Black Continental @ Large. Her drag is inspired by her Caribbean roots and is heavily influenced by the American drag pageant scene.
“Being on Drag Race is the culmination of an amazing 17-year career. It allows me to represent all the little black boys and girls in third world countries like the Bahamas that have huge dreams but no resources to make them a reality.”
Her drag name “BOA” is actually her real last name and nickname growing up. BOA is also an acronym for “Bitch on Arrival.” Although she doesn’t consider herself a comedy queen, she tends to grab attention of her audiences with goofy mannerisms and quick wit on a mic, but put her in a 3” block heel and she’ll high kick and cartwheel!
“I love drag because it gives me the opportunity to be my authentic, goofy self and bring my audience happiness. When an audience is happy, so am I! I like my drag to allow people to let loose, have fun, laugh and forget about all the negativity in the world.”
Ilona Verley is a two-spirit indigenous artist who grew up Nlaka’pamux and strives to be the representation she wished she had seen growing up watching mainstream media. Ilona is always serving monochromatic head to toe pastel looks and has a strong social media presence.
“Drag is important to me as it is how I visually express how I see myself on the inside, and how I manifest my female energy as a two-spirit person!”
— Victoria, BC –
Jimbo has a background in clowning and loves to incorporate elements of that into her drag. As a cabaret performer, Jimbo loves standup and singing and wants to showcase that side of drag. She likes her audience to find laughter in the uncomfortable.
“Drag is the perfect gateway for self-discovery and self-expression. It’s the beautiful culmination of courage, joy, performance, and artistry that inspires and entertains. Drag is a personal and political statement that challenges the social constructs to help inspire change in the world.”
Juice Boxx is bright, bubbly sinful, and sexy, and always adds a little bit of spice. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Visual Arts from the University of Windsor and a Diploma of Makeup Artistry and Special FXfrom CMU.
“I’m so excited to be on the first season of CANADA’S DRAG RACE and I can’t wait to show the world how incredible Canadian drag really is.”
Kiara recently quit her job and put school on pause to focus full-time on drag. Kiara is one of very few queens of colour in the Québec drag scene. She is proud to represent her community.
“Being on CANADA’S DRAG RACE is a dream come true. I’m beyond excited to be on my favourite TV show and I can’t wait to make queer Canadian her-story!”
Kyne is a YouTube star with more than 100,000 subscribers to her channel, which focuses on her love for makeup, costumes, hair, and art. Kyne was introduced to the divas from the karaoke machine, where she and her family loved to sing Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
“Drag is my vehicle for all my joy, ambition and creative energy. It makes me feel alive.”
— Toronto, ON –
Lemon, who’s living in New York, was chosen by RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE winner Sasha Velour to be one of the models in her New York Fashion Week collaboration with Opening Ceremony. Lemon wants to bring the NYC Drag Scene influence to Canada.
“I am so excited to be on CANADA’S DRAG RACE so I can show the world I’m not only that bitch, I’m that *Canadian* bitch.”
She is no stranger to the camera, having worked as a kids TV host for years before she switched to a full-time career in drag. She graced the cover of Toronto’s NOW Magazine in 2019 when she was voted Favourite Toronto Drag Queen by their readers.
“I love drag so much. I had a drag queen perform at my 26th birthday party and they suggested I do drag. Now three titles, two music videos, and one big opportunity to be on CANADA’S DRAG RACE. I could be Canada’s First Ever Drag Superstar…what’s my name?!”
Rita Baga is very involved in the LGBTQ+ community in Montréal and has been a driving force as part of the bid committee that submitted the city for World Pride 2023. Rita Baga has also been a part of many TV shows in Quebec, including her own reality show ILS DE JOUR, ELLES DE SOIR, FAMILY FEUD, LES JOKERS, CODE F, and BONSOIR/BONSOIR.
“I’m beyond excited to be part of this journey! I want to make my province proud and to be the very first francophone to own a Drag Superstar title. Dreams DO come true!”
Scarlett Bobo created and produces Empire’s Ball, a drag competition which she uses as a platform to talk about community needs and to inspire the younger generation of queer youth. Scarlett Bobo went to circus school because she was bored! She learned to eat fire, light herself on fire, and perform aerial skills.
“I love, love, LOVE doing drag because it allows me to live my truth every day and there are no rules to what I am allowed to do, say, or accomplish. CANADA’S DRAG RACE lets me express every side of myself and show others how to be fearless and authentic. I want to prove that you can stay true to who you are, no matter what.”
Tynomi is known as the Dancing Queen of Toronto; she is one of the most celebrated drag queens in the city. The first time her mother saw her in drag was when she performed at World Pride 2014 in Toronto.
“Tynomi Banks is fun, flirty, and fashionable. She will entertain you, all the while stealing your man in plain sight and you won’t even realize it’s happening.”
As previously announced, Crave and OUTtv formed an unprecedented partnership that extends the reach of international television phenomenon, RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE in Canada. This partnership includes the new Crave Original Series, CANADA’S DRAG RACE, the first-ever Canadian adaptation of the show, and all past seasons of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, currently available on Crave.
In association with Crave, CANADA’S DRAG RACE is produced by Blue Ant Studios. Executive producers for World of Wonder are Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Tom Campbell. RuPaul serves as Executive Producer. Executive producers for Blue Ant Studios are Michael Kot, Laura Michalchyshyn, Mike Bickerton, and Betty Orr. For Bell Media, Production Executive is Danielle Pearson. Robin Johnston is Director, Original Production, Factual, Bell Media. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Jeff Hersh is Vice-President, Strategy, OTT Distribution & Premium SVOD, Bell Media. Tracey Pearce is President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.
Delivering more Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning programming than any other service, Crave is Canada’s prestige entertainment offering, with HBO, SHOWTIME®, Starz, Hollywood-hit movies, a superior collection of kid’s movies and programs, and thousands of hours of acclaimed television series, specials, factual programming, and originals that can’t be found anywhere else.
Crave is the exclusive home of HBO in Canada, delivering HBO’s current slate of signature dramatic and comedic programs, documentaries, films, and live specials, as well as titles from HBO’s extensive off-air library. Crave is also home to current SHOWTIME series and specials, and past SHOWTIME hits. Crave Original hit series include comedies LETTERKENNY and NEW EDEN; CRAVINGS: THE AFTERSHOW with Lainey Lui; HEALTHY IS HOT with Chloe Wilde; candid interview series MUCH STUDIOS PRESENTS: MIKE ON MUCH IN CONVERSATION WITH…; a series of original stand-up specials; the upcoming competition series CANADA’S DRAG RACE; and the upcoming apocalyptic original comedic documentary series WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE.
Crave is a major supporter of Canada’s production industry, helping to fund and develop numerous film and documentary projects including feature films THE SONG OF NAMES, WHITE LIE, and THE GRIZZLIES among others, as well as Crave Original Documentaries ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, SHARKWATER: EXTINCTION, YOU ARE HERE: A COME FROM AWAY STORY, and ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH. Crave also includes acclaimed selections from the Toronto International Film Festival which are featured in two exclusive collections: Best of TIFF and TIFF Selects.
Crave is a bilingual TV and streaming service with more than 6,000 hours of exclusive French-language content included with the Super Écran add-on. Crave is available directly to all Canadians with access to the Internet at Crave.ca, via iOS and Android, and other platforms. It’s also available in English through participating television providers across six 24-hour High Definition linear and on demand channels. Crave is from Bell Media, Canada’s leading content company, providing Canada’s most-watched and most-acclaimed television programming on network, specialty, pay and digital platforms. Visit our website at Crave.ca.
About Blue Ant Studios
Blue Ant Studios is a leading international studio and production business, based in Los Angeles with offices in New York. Blue Ant Studios includes production companies in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which produce content in multiple genres including Scripted, Documentary, Kids, Adult Animation, Factual Entertainment and Natural History. Current series and documentaries include Canada’s Drag Race, in association with World of Wonder (Crave for Bellmedia), The Healing Powers of Dude (Netflix), Doomlands (Quibi), Neopets, produced in partnership with JumpStart Games Inc. and Hotel Paranormal (Travel Channel and T+E). Blue Ant Studios works with all the major international streaming, cable and broadcasting companies as well as regional players in the markets it operates in. Blue Ant Studios is a subsidiary of Blue Ant Media.
About World of Wonder
Outside of Canada, CANADA’S DRAG RACE will stream on World of Wonder’s premium service WOW Presents Plus, the international home of Drag Race US, UK, Thailand, Chile – and now Canada. For more than two decades, award-winning production company World of Wonder has introduced audiences to new worlds, talent and ideas that have shaped culture. Programming highlights include: Emmy® Award winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1/Logo), “Million Dollar Listing” LA & NY (Bravo), “Dancing Queen” (Netflix), “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” (Fuse), and “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” (National Geographic); award-winning films and documentaries including “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” “Inside Deep Throat,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “I Am Britney Jean,” “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” “Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking,” “Monica in Black and White,” Emmy-winning “The Last Beekeeper,” and Emmy-winning “Out of Iraq.” Seven of WOW’s films have premiered at the Sundance Film festival including “Becoming Chaz” and “Party Monster.” World of Wonder has also created a substantial digital footprint with its YouTube channel WOWPresents (1M+ subs), SVOD digital platform WOW Presents Plus, along with an award-winning blog, The WOW Report. World of Wonder’s bi-annual RuPaul’s DragCon is the world’s largest drag culture convention, welcoming 100,000 attendees across LA and NYC in 2018. Co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey authored The World According to Wonder, celebrating decades of production, which can be found online at http://worldofwonder.net/. Randy and Fenton were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award in December 2014, celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community, named to Variety’s Reality Leaders List in 2017, and chosen for the OUT100 list in 2018 for their trailblazing work in the LGBTQ+ community. World of Wonder was also selected for Realscreen’s 2018 Global 100 list, which recognizes the top international non-fiction and unscripted production companies working in the industry today. World of Wonder creates out of a historic building/gallery space in the heart of Hollywood.