From episode one, it was clear Toronto queen Eve 6000 would be the contestant with no filter on Canada’s Drag Race. She instantly left an impression for a scene-stealing cry session on the runway after the judges declared she was safe from elimination.
A seasoned makeup artist with a knack for doing impressions – she’s hoping the show will propel her into the world of voice acting – Eve was born in London, Ontario and moved around the province with her family before settling in Toronto. She came up in the city’s drag scene alongside season 1 contestant Boa.
While conversation in the Werk Room in season 2 often centered on Eve’s reaction to things, it’s hard to say she got the “villain edit.” Reality TV likes characters who are willing to put it all on the table, and she proudly brought the drama on a season full of queens who come off as highly conscious of the camera’s presence. She lasted five episodes before being eliminated following a countrified girl-group challenge that required the contestants to song write, sing and do choreography.
Vancouver queen Gia Metric was the winner, with Eve and Synthia Kiss winding up in the bottom doing a lip-sync to guest judge Bif Naked’s I Love Myself Today.
Some of her memorable moments included a tribute to The Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss during the Made In Canada theme, and dressing like a clown being eaten by a furry lion for the circus runway. She also clapped back to guest judge Connor Jessup saying her wig looked flat. (“It isn’t flat, but okay.”)
A wonky outfit reveal during episode 2’s Rusical was a low point, though not enough to land her in the bottom that week. Her impersonation of Bernie Sanders in the Snatch Game was spot-on vocally, but the judges were not impressed overall, ranking her in the bottom against Suki Doll.
While she acknowledges missteps and insecurities, she tells us the judging was “death by a thousand cuts.” It’s a familiar feeling when watching Drag Race or any reality show – a contestant who comes out of a challenge somewhere in the middle but winds up in the bottom when others were seemingly just as weak or made worse mistakes. Are the producers’ hands showing? Is it fair? Is reality TV even supposed to be fair?
Post-elimination, we caught up with Eve 6000 to talk about the dearth of Toronto talent on season 2, doing male drag as a trans non-binary performer and why there’s no equivalent to Bernie Sanders in Canada.
How did you become a drag performer?
I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race sporadically. I watched a little bit of season 1 or 2 here and there but didn’t really understand it. Eventually, I started watching season 4 and season 5. I really got into it after seeing someone like Roxxxy Andrews. I was like okay, this is a curvy girl. She’s so beautiful and she’s so polished. That is what I wanted to be. I printed out a picture of Roxxxy Andrews and a picture of Raven and I put it on my wall and I would do my makeup everyday to try to make it look like theirs.
Obviously, a memorable moment you had this season was when you cried after being safe in the first episode, which you have spun into a line of merch. When we interviewed Stephanie Prince, she talked about how she felt self-actualized but then all these emotions came out when she arrived on the set. What was it like being on the show?
I used to really hide my emotions but now everything is very much on the surface. I can be set off to cry like that. That [moment] was so emotional because I mourn things before they happen. In my mind, I thought I was going to lip sync and there was a chance I was going home. I thought it was going to be me and Beth [in the bottom] and I had no idea what Beth could do as a performer.
The thing that was going through my mind that I was so upset about was that, if I go home first, none of the stuff that my friends took their time to work on for me is going to be showcased. That would be heartbreaking because they put their time into it without asking for anything from me. I haven’t paid them yet because I can’t afford to at this point. I was so honoured to have worked on these things with them: runway looks, wigs. There’s so much that went into my runways – so much of it was airbrushed, hand-painted, stoning teams working on it for hours. When they told me I was safe the relief was incredible. I just couldn’t believe it.
You mentioned you used to hide your emotions. Was there a turning point when you just said who cares I’m going to put my emotions out there?
It just happened. I can’t control it anymore. Getting older, I became more in touch with my emotions and I just feel paper thin sometimes. I’m trying to get a handle on it because I don’t always like how I react to other people.
So what’s that like then going into the Drag Race context? It’s television, it’s entertaining, they want big personalities on the show. What was the dynamic like in the Werk Room with your emotionality?
They cast me for a reason, obviously. They know generally what we’re like as people. I’m proud of myself for going in there and being myself. There’s a strong temptation whenever you go on TV to clean things up and act like you’re this sweet angel. I went into Drag Race with the express goal to be myself. As soon as I walked into that Werk Room and posed for the cameras for 10 seconds, those cameras just disappeared.
I saw you tweet that they should do an all-Toronto season just to piss people off, which was funny. Obviously we had a lot of Toronto queens on season one so it’s understandable they wouldn’t do the same thing this season. Were you hoping there would be more Toronto queens on season 2?
The casting was done amazingly this season. All of the girls are so incredible but Toronto has such a wealth of talent that it’s unbelievable to not have at least three girls. There are so many queens in Toronto compared to everywhere else. The amount of queens in Toronto that are ready for Drag Race is insane. There’s a sizeable drag scene in Vancouver and Montreal and growing in Calgary, but nothing compares to the amount of queens in Toronto. Having only one queen listed as Toronto is not a fair representation of our country. The majority of queens who live in Toronto didn’t grow up here. We moved here from other places for the opportunities and we pay out the ass for it. So why should we be penalized for that? My family could never afford to live here. I worked my ass off since I was 18 years old to pay rent to live here.
Can you talk about the places you came up in as a performer and how do you feel about the landscape in terms of the venue situation? Several places have closed during the pandemic.
When I started there was almost no opportunity for new queens. You had to be friends with someone and they would get you a gig or a guest spot. Whereas now there are so many open stages on the [Church Street] strip. Regardless of whatever bars close, our community will always survive and push through that. There are so many venues now and more are popping up. I think we’re going to figure it out.
I read that you did Michelle DuBarry’s makeup on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race. Can you talk about why that might be a big deal for some people?
Michelle DuBarry is a Guinness World Records holder for the oldest working drag queen. She still goes out for shows. I connected with her through my friend Endora St. Moorehead, who is a queen I do makeup for and she happens to be very close with Michelle. She said, “Michelle is going to do something really secret and I want you do her makeup.” It was so cool to go there behind the the scenes. One funny part was after I was done her makeup I was supposed to go down to the set and stay there for touch ups, but the casting director came up to me and said, “So we’re not taking you down to set because if we take you down behind the scenes we can’t cast you on a future season. So we’re going to send you home right now.”
You know what’s funny? I arrived at about 11 am and that same day around the same time [season 1 contestant] Boa left. I thought she was still there so I was like trying to send a note to her but she was already gone.
And Boa is your drag mother? I read that online somewhere.
Noooo! No! Okay, somebody said that. Honestly, there’s this thing with Drag Race fans where they think if someone got on Drag Race before somebody else that means they have seniority over them. That is not the case. Boa and I started drag together at the exact same time. I was a little bit more knowledgeable and skillful than her, especially with makeup. So if anything I’m her fuckin’ drag mother. [laughs] But I don’t claim that. We’re sisters and we help each other all the time.
Let’s talk about your Bernie Sanders impersonation on Snatch Game. Why does Bernie appeal to you so much and what was it like inhabiting him for the show?
I’m definitely a leftist and I believe in socialism to some extent. There is a severe lack of leftist politics being brought up by public figures anywhere because they’re worried they’ll lose their gigs. Bernie appeals to me because Bernie has a history of fighting for civil rights. Bernie has been with the gay community since the 70s when other people like Hillary Clinton were saying it’s a sin. Bernie has always been there and has a consistency that no one else in politics has. I really believed in Bernie. During the whole primary of 2020 I was really trying to get the Americans to see the light but unfortunately they voted for the senile racist.
Do you feel like there’s a Bernie type in Canada?
I wouldn’t say there’s a Bernie in Canada but we do have Jagmeet Singh, who is great. I always vote for the NDP. That’s the party that I feel best represents the leftist values that I believe in. Although I do think they could be further left. I don’t think there’s a Bernie [in Canada] because there’s no one who has that long history of activism and work.
What was it like in Snatch Game doing a man? What’s the challenge in doing male drag versus female drag?
I’ve never done male drag. I’ve always been very uncomfortable with the idea. As a trans non-binary person, to present male in drag and play a male character was not something I ever wanted to do. But I chose to do it because I wanted to challenge myself and do things that are unexpected. I really think I accomplished that. It’s unfortunate that [the judges] didn’t feel that strong choice and impersonation was worthy of any accolades. It actually was very funny. We only saw four minutes of the Snatch Game in the cut. It’s much longer than that. What we didn’t get to see was all of the improv. Not seeing the improv actually hurt everybody – not just me. I was a star in the improv. I’m not just being up my own ass – I promise you. Everybody laughed at my improv but they didn’t show any of it. Synthia was incredible with the improv and that’s why she won.
How did you feel watching back your elimination episode?
I knew that I was going to lose to Synthia. I think Synthia is an incredible performer and I look up to her as an incredible talent. The whole episode I can see in my face that I just don’t care anymore. That happened because of episode four. I felt being in the bottom two was so unfair and everyone in the room who was there for Snatch Game agreed I should have been safe. It ruined the experience for me and I was thinking [the judges] just are not gonna like what I do no matter what. I’m proud of what I did at the end of the day, but I could see that I just didn’t care anymore. I think they saw that too. I think they thought we’ve got to put her in the bottom because she’s either gonna prove that she wants to be here or she’s gonna go.
Any final thoughts on the stage of drag?
Ancient drag proverb: All drag is valid, not all drag is good. [laughs] Don’t come for me for that one!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.