Arts & entertainment
3 min

Bianca Del Rio hosts day-long Toronto drag queen fest

We catch up with the Queen of Mean before her big gig at Pride

Bianca Del Rio is back this year to headline Drag On!, an all-day drag event that celebrates Pride Toronto’s 35th anniversary with 35 drag queens (including Drag Race Season 7 stars Katya and Miss Fame).

Credit: The Lujon Magazine

RuPaul’s Drag Race has seven seasons of sickening alumni under its belt, but Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio is an all-time fave. After making her Toronto debut during WorldPride in 2014, Ms Del Rio is back this year to headline Drag On!, an all-day drag event that celebrates Pride Toronto’s 35th anniversary with 35 drag queens (including Season 7 stars Katya and Miss Fame).

We caught up with the Queen of Mean herself to dish on day drag, glitter-face and the dangers of the internet.

Daily Xtra: A little birdie told us Drag On! is actually taking place on your birthday!

Bianca Del Rio: Yes! I’m turning 40 this year. And initially, I wanted to quit by the time I was 40. But then the whole Drag Race thing happened, and it’s a completely different world now.

And how has your year with the crown treated you?

Playing the larger arenas and travelling the world has been amazing. One day you’re in London, the next day you’re in Vegas, the next day you’re in Amsterdam . . . I haven’t consciously thought about the crown and stuff, cause I think we all kinda won? I was in really good company with two really talented queens. We’ve all hit the ground running and we’ve all been working constantly. Literally, I’m home maybe a couple of days a month.

Has Drag Race completely changed the whole drag ecology?

In a good way, and a bad way. I’m old enough to know that there’s like tens of thousands of styles of drag. And the younger generation, because of social media, they don’t think before they type. I recently did glitter in the finale, and some queen put under my photo “she stole my look.” And I’m like, “Bitch, first of all, I did glitter in 1996, and I’m not the first fucking fag to do it, and nothing is new and original anymore, so calm the fuck down!” You can Google 10,000 pictures of me with a glitter-face from 20 years ago!

How long did that glitter-face take to put on?

Taking it off was far longer than getting that shit on. A half-hour to get on, and more than an hour to get off. I felt like that scene from Silkwood, just scrubbing the shit out of it and trying to get it off! But no regrets! You never know when you’re gonna be on TV again — let’s make it sparkly!

What did you think of Season 7’s very young cohort of queens?

I’ve met all of them, and they’re lovely. They’re look-queens, and it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with that. And people love to rip something apart, but I always remind them that they hated me for the first three episodes, and then I was their favourite. Thank God I’m old enough to not give a shit what some 13-year-old has to say from Kalamazoo! I think if I had been in my 20s having this experience, I would have lost my mind.

So, you were last in Canada for WorldPride with Adore Delano, Courtney Act, and Darienne Lake — was that your first time?

I’d been to Canada before, but not Toronto. That was my first time!

And what did you think?

It was beautiful! Everyone there was really nice. And I don’t know if your city’s full of assholes, but I saw some very nice people while I was there.

And do you have a special message for the queens of Toronto?

I can’t wait to come and hang out with you guys! And I know it’s gonna be hot. Daytime drag is always a treat. So make sure you bring your razor and powder puff. Cause someone is gonna be there to take a horrible picture of you that’s gonna be plastered all over the Internet. Be. Prepared. Have a razor, have powder, have a powder puff — can’t go wrong. And if they don’t have it, they can always borrow mine.