Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Sofonda Cox is a showstopper

The hardest-working woman at this year's Toronto Pride

Sofonda Cox has gigs throughout Pride Week, including shows at Kool Haus, Goodhandy's and the 519 Church Street Community Centre. Credit: Ryan Faubert

Sofonda Cox has all the big S’s down; she’s sexy, sassy and smart.

But more importantly, she’s a diva with substance. She’s a showstopper of a performer, and her talent has taken her all over the world, from the United States to Malaysia. Her performances are full-on high-energy dance, lights, costumes and in-your-face glitz and glamour that transports audiences to a whole other dimension.

When you see her onstage, it’s impossible not to be blown away by her pop goddess you-know-you-want-me attitude. But in person she’s warm, friendly, funny and generous with her time. And she takes her art very seriously. For her, drag isn’t a mere hobby; it’s a calling that has taken over her life and her closet.

And to think it all started with a dare and a deal.

The Guvernment club, formerly known as RPM, held an “Abracadabra” party; anyone dressed in drag got in free.

“And you know I can’t miss a good deal,” Sofonda laughs.

The night turned out better than she expected; she received a lot of compliments, which was a very pleasant surprise.

“I figured I would see where this takes me.”

A decade later, her drag persona has taken her to new heights. She’s rubbed shoulders with politicians, studied costume design and choreography, and mentored young queens.

“Being a drag queen has really opened up avenues for me, and because of that, I want to give back. How? By helping younger queens, offering makeup tips and advice. I get to be a consultant for some of the younger girls, being a support system for them when they’re performing at shows and competitions.”

Her advice is worth following. Over the years she’s become something of an expert at producing her own shows. Having seen her perform, I ask what it takes to make the magic happen.

“The music drives you. You pick the song, listen to the lyrics, pay attention to what the song says.”

All the elements must be in place to make the illusion work. But for Sofonda, the spectacle is nothing if you don’t have the basics.

“Know the lyrics. That’s Drag 101,” she says. “And make sure you believe it. Because if you don’t believe it, the crowd won’t believe it.”

Sofonda is refreshingly down to earth. She stays loyal to Woody’s because they have nurtured her since she was a drag baby. And yet she has her sights set on her evolution.

“Maybe in the future, Sofonda will have her own television show,” she says. “It would be great to be the next RuPaul. That’s what it’s all about: aspiring to be greater.”