Scarlett Bobo
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
Canada’s Drag Race
13 min

After the sashay: Scarlett Bobo serves consistently fierce realness

The Toronto queen talks about her secret meltdowns and embracing her underdog status

Scarlett Bobo peaked at the right time. Though she didn’t win the crown, the queen, touted as one of the most consistent performers in this season of Canada’s Drag Race, certainly proved she earned her place in the top three.

During last week’s finale, Bobo has continued to serve seasoned artistry while staying true to the punk and quirky brand fans came to love.

I spoke with the Toronto-queen about her time of Drag Race, being tagged as this season’s underdog and winning when it matters.

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

What did I learn in my time on Drag Race? How to handle all these shady bitches every day! See? These girls kept trying to get in my head but I was focused, honey. I stay focused, I stay fresh, I put my blinders on and didn’t let them get in my head. I learned how much I can handle because it’s a lot. It’s not a sprint, it is a full marathon. And I realized I’ve been doing marathon training forever. Who knew that I could write, record, perform a song and end up in the top two in 24 hours? It was really tough and I learned how to be resilient.

What was the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge for me was learning that I am not a designer, and apparently making all these fabulous outfits is really hard. I won one of the things (the ball challenge) which is really cool. But yeah, just learning that I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. I watched every single season [of RuPaul’s Drag Race] like 10 times or so before I got on the show, and I was like “I know exactly what I’m doing and I know exactly how to do every single day.” And it turns out no, it’s a lot different when you’re right in the middle of everything and you’re smack dab in the middle and you’re learning as you go. And you realize, “Oh wow, this is way harder than it looks like when you’re watching TV.”

How did you feel when you won the last main challenge before the finale?

I felt so good, I finally won something! It was really amazing because, you know, I got beat fair and square. But you know it got to the point that I was like “Okay, I’m working really hard every week and I’ve been consistently good. I haven’t slipped up once. I haven’t tripped or faltered.” And I was just kind of waiting for that win.

And you know [during the final four episode], I was fumbling around with my costume and trying to cut holes in things and didn’t know how to make one piece of fabric into four apparently. (Also thank you Jimbo for saving my ass on that one because you knew I would have just complained the entire way if you didn’t.) But when they told me that one, not only did I win the ball, but I won in front of Michelle Visage, and I won the challenge to get me into the top three of the competition? It was just really cool and I remember thinking I was doing it for my mom. And then when they brought out my mom’s photo, I was a disaster. I was a hot mess. It was just kind of like a full-circle moment knowing that like I made it to the top three. I finally won a really cool challenge and, you know, it was a really surreal awesome moment. I wonder how Rita felt winning her third, but it felt good to win one!

What was your reaction to people calling you this season’s underdog?

Okay, so full tea. I’ve been an underdog my entire career, and you know I’ve really pushed myself over and over and over again. I used to never get booked for gigs, I used to get bullied and I drank all the time. No one would want to hire me, and I swore I would always create safe spaces for myself and other new queens.

I’ve been the underdog my entire career, and I really didn’t think that this season I was the underdog because I thought that I proved myself over and over and over again with how consistent I was and how on top of my own personal game I was. And so I thought, you know, I’m not shitting on the underdog status because it is really cool. It’s a really cool status to have, but I think that I was a little bit more than the underdog in this season. I think I was a middle dog, maybe not the top dog, but like a hot dog?

Going into the finale, what did you think was your edge?

Lots of autotune, apparently! I think that my edge going to the finale was that I’ve never strayed away from ever being myself. And I think that I bring a really cool edginess to the competition. I have, you know, this kind of punk rock glamour vibe about myself and I’m determined as fuck. I didn’t care if it kills me: I will pursue and pursue and pursue until my legs snap right off. And I won’t give up the fight ever so, you know, and this girl’s gonna fight this crown out of my cold, dead hands henny!

“I’ve been the underdog my entire career, and I really didn’t think that this season I was the underdog because I thought that I proved myself over and over and over again with how consistent I was.”

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

Outfit-wise, I think I would have spent a little more time on my makeover challenge look. True story: when I was figuring out my costume, I had a jacket for those costumes, that I completely forgot to make for the makeover challenge. And so, I whipped those up overnight. I was like, “Just sew anything that matches, I don’t care!” And I think I would have not thought so much. I was always trying to think of what was going to happen next. And I was getting too ahead of myself in the competition. I kept trying to stop myself and get myself back to thinking of what’s happening now and what’s going on right in front of me and look around and be like “Okay you’re still here, focus on today, and not tomorrow or the next day or the next day.”

What’s next for you?

We’re gonna tour when the world gets better together. So starting now I’m gonna get back into circus school because my limbs and my joints are hurting after a couple of shows that I’ve done in Toronto. I’m pretty fucking stiff.

I’m working on my follow up album. I’m very excited about that and I’m working on my book deal! I’m gonna do a really ugly, uncomfortable, funny, silly messy tell-all and I’m very, very excited about it.

Finally, one word to describe your time in Drag Race.

Meltdown. Yeah, I had a lot of meltdowns that you didn’t see on screen! So yeah, meltdown.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.