Montreal’s Own Kiara Responds To Claims That Canada’s Drag Race Judges Are Sleeping On Her
"It's not a walk, it's a race."
Though some might think the Canada's Drag Race judges have been sleeping on Kiara, she's confident that she's one of the of the show. From her first competition at Cabaret Mado in 2018 to her standout performances on Drag Race, Kiara is quickly establishing herself as one of the country's most sought-after drag queens. "I always was passionate about being on stage. I took some dance classes, then I took some theatre classes and I was doing improv and music as well," she said.
"When I started watching RuPaul's Drag Race when I was 17 and I was so inspired. I started getting dressed up and just experimenting with makeup until about 19 and then I was ready to do a show."
Kiara began her drag career in her hometown, Quebec City, when she was 19 but moved soon after to Montreal, attracted to the city's vibrant drag scene.
Like many of Montreal's established queens, Kiara found her fame under the tutelage of the world-famous Mado Lamotte.
"I did my first contest at Cabaret Mado in 2018 and I got to the semi-finals. Then I did the Spice Drags with other established queens which set my name in Montreal," said Kiara.
on the inaugural season of Canada's Drag Race, Kiara is ready to take the next big step in her career.
Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
How does it feel to represent Montreal on the show? Is there a lot of pressure?
I don't really feel it. I just feel like I'm being myself. That's why I feel that what I do is representative of what people do here.
But we have a huge lack of representation in Canadian culture. So I feel like we get this huge attention and people are super proud of us. And we get this extra love from Quebec.
But when it comes to maybe French versus English, sometimes I'm a bit divided because I would love to just talk in French all the time, but then I have to adapt to the international scene. So I'm trying to gauge it and balance it.
Fans are saying that the judges have been sleeping on you. Do you think the judges have been overlooking you in recent episodes?
On the first impression, I feel like you can see my inspiration and my drag aesthetic might be not the most original, but at the same time, I feel like the show is really showing my personality and myself as an artist.
I kind of understand why people would say that I was robbed a few times. I sort of agree sometimes, but I don't think it's personal — it's a show at the end of the day. It's a competition yes, but it's like, I have my air time, you know?
What has been your favourite challenge of the competition so far?
I liked the result of the design challenges but it was a lot more stressful. Because when you get given a bunch of crap and you need to make an outfit, it's like you just want to play it safe, but you want to be the top queen and you don't want to go home.
The girl group challenge was really stressful but it was fun to record the music. It's pretty much my favourite challenge that we've seen so far because I really was in my comfort zone.
What was the biggest difference between performing in front of thousands of people atand at clubs versus having to perform on camera?
You have to put yourself in the mindset of like, "okay, when I perform, there's always a camera watching what I do?" So I can't be just "okay." I just always have to be top-notch because there's a magnifying glass looking at me.
It's a different way to play it because you can do something that would not be seen on stage, but that would be seen on camera. I think if you know how to perform in front of a crowd, you know how to perform in front of the camera.
What would you say was the hardest part of the competition for you?
I would say time management was always a challenge for me, to be honest. I'm always rushing to be on time and everything. You don't want to make a crew wait for you and in a competition, we're all getting the same amount of time. It's not a walk, it's a race.
And I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but it was kind of a little cold on set!
We've seen a big difference in the personalities and the styles between Montreal and Toronto queens. In your experience, what would you say is the biggest difference between the two?
I feel like Montreal queens are really strong on camp. I feel it's a very huge part of our Quebec culture. I feel like I can also be super fierce but I'm not afraid to go and make a room laugh.
In Toronto, they have to do songs that move, they have to dance a lot, like marathon drag, performing for 30 minutes straight.
And here it's like we do a song and then we change and we do another song and we try to vary between party songs and comedy and drama.
But Rita was right in the last episode, I feel like in Montreal, it's a community. I think the way to really get into the drag scene in Montreal is to not only come there to do your show and then you leave.
You have to hang out to get to know people and when people like you, they will book you, no matter your talent, because you can be very talented and people won't book you because you're not likable.
What's next for you after the show? Are you going to be staying in Montreal?
After the show, I really want to focus on the possibilities that it's giving me. When you watch the show, you kind of see what stands out and what people like about you. I just want to put that forward.
You'll see some projects happening so you just stay tuned!
Canada's Drag Race airs on Crave every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.