Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
Canada’s Drag Race
12 min

After the sashay: When life gives you Lemon

The citrus-y New York queen talks about people’s perception, her character’s inspiration and the makeover challenge that made her emotional

Lemon has left the competition. After the makeover challenge, the queen who’s originally from Toronto but now based in New York, found herself lip syncing for her life against Montreal’s Rita Baga.

Throughout her run on the show, Lemon’s zesty personality has won the hearts of fans all over. Her rap battle was iconic, her Snatch Game was memorable and her lines, such as “splitty my kitty” stuck out to fans.

Xtra spoke with Lemon from her Toronto home to talk about how other queens perceived her, her character’s inspiration and the makeover challenge that made her emotional.

What did you learn from your time on Canada’s Drag Race?

Honestly, I think the biggest thing is to just not take things so seriously and to just dive in even if you’re afraid. Just do it and do it big.

How do you feel when the other queens make fun of you being from New York?

I think it’s hilarious! We all joke with each other, we all make fun of each other, and I’m sure I talked about New York a lot.

What did you feel when you had to lip sync in the first episode?

Oh man, I was terrified. I was so, so, so terrified! I know that Juice Boxx is such an incredible performer and she’s such a gorgeous drag queen so I was nervous as heck to go up against her. But honestly, it was exciting also knowing that I got to dance and I got to show my stuff right away. I tried to see the positive in it, but I was absolutely terrified.

You’re one of the most memorable queens. Why do you think Lemon stands out?

All the yellow maybe? I think it’s hard to qualify that The thing about Canada’s Drag Race is that they really went ahead and cast 12 winners. No safe queens and no filler queens and no boogers. I think we’re all so incredible. I think I just got lucky.

What’s your reaction to comments saying you’re fake?

No one knew me before I got there, so it’s not outrageous for you to meet someone new and not understand where they come from or what their intention is. And I will admit that I model Lemon a lot of the time after the mean girl, the blonde bitch at the end. So I can understand why you might look at me and think, “Oh yeah, she must be a cunt” or “She’s probably not the nicest person in the world” because the drag that I’m modelling myself after isn’t the nicest person ever.

I think I can understand it but I mean, I do think I was very authentic. I think before I speak and, you know, that sort of comes across as very planned, I guess. But I watch what I say and I think that’s important. I think we should all be very conscious of the words we say and the impact they have on others.

You were emotional when talking about Rebal, the Syrian refugee who you made over Why was that?

Rebal was really really special. I love my little Lime-y! She was an angel and we clicked right away. But it was just a big reality check of the luck and the privilege that I have. Growing up in Canada and moving to New York, I never felt scared to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public—not that I have a boyfriend—but I never felt scared to be openly queer and visibly queer. So getting to meet somebody who’s had such a different experience with that and who is so inspired by me being able to live so authentically was very powerful. I think we both learned a lot from each other and you know we’ll be citrus sisters forever.

Did Rebal say anything to you after the critique?

There was way too much going on that day, but we’ve since been talking of course. Rebal and I are hopefully gonna go get drinks when [COVID-19 pandemic] clears up in the world and we’ll be Lemon and Lime forever. I just wanted Lime to have the most perfect evening ever and I think she looked gorgeous, so I’m happy.

Looking back at your Drag Race journey, would you do something differently?

Honestly, no. I think it was so perfect because it was just so authentically difficult. It was hard as hell and when things didn’t go my way or when things weren’t perfect or when there was drama or when my waist wasn’t cinched or whatever the situation may be, I think I was able to learn from those moments and I was able to show the true me and talk about what I’m a big supporter of. I think everything does happen for a reason and I’ll edit for next time.

If it can’t be you, which queen would you like to see win it all?

I mean, I’d still like it to me if that’s an option. I’m just throwing it out there. I’m still here and I actually have my own crowns! They are all over the house so you don’t even need to buy me [one]. Honestly, though, the top four is sickening and it is filled with so much talent, it’s hard to even say because they’re all so different, and they’ve all dominated this competition in such a different way.

I mean, all four of them have really really made their mark, whether it’s Scarlet being consistently fantastic the entire run and never ever landing in the bottom or Priyanka having some incredible beyond over-the-top wins and then some moments where she wasn’t great and then delivered some incredible lip syncs. Jimbo’s a star, Rita’s a star. They’re all just so incredible that I think at this point I just can’t wait to see what happens.

What’s next for you?

Ideally, I will find the cure for COVID-19, and then I will hand it out at all my shows, and I’ll be able to tour the world and splitty my kitty for everyone who is willing to watch me. I just want to be everywhere. I want to meet all the people who have sent me little love notes and I want to just have a great time.

One word to describe your time in Drag Race?