entertainment

'Canada's Drag Race': Priyanka reveals how her father reacted to her coming out

"He's finally realising how big of a deal Priyanka is."

2020-09-04

Canada's Drag Race is down to the final three: Priyanka, Rita Baga and Scarlett Bobo.

One of the highlights of the show was the Indo-Caribbean princess Priyanka who always made us laugh...and sometimes cringe - sorry babe, but your Snatch Game wasn't the tightest.

Not only that, but this queen can turn it out! We talked to the season's lip-sync assassin via Zoom...

I felt you were this season's lipsync assassin.

That's right!

What do you think would have happened if you went up against Scarlett BoBo, the only queen who never had to lip-sync for her life?

I think, honestly, I would die. I would die to have to lipsync against Scarlett Bobo. It would have been like full up gymnastics. It would have been, for sure, a double Shantay, something that Kiara and Ilona couldn't achieve. Was that mean? Should I take that back? I'm sorry. I don't want to be so rude. I honestly think that [either BoBo or Rita] would have been a blood bath.

You talked about dividing your time between children's TV and drag. Do you think going forward are you going to focus on drag?

It's so funny, switching to drag full time, now I have more time on my hands, but I've found a way to make myself more busy. How does that even happen? I used to wake up at 8am, work in sales until 5pm, go paint, meet Scarlet BoBo at O'Grady's to do a dinner show, then do a night show. I'm so used to that chaos and it feels weird to just be doing drag, but let's face it, we always have projects on the go.

Did you ever have problems with the TV network and you doing drag on the side?

Oh, honestly, it was hard. It was not easy, because I had to convince them that I was able to do drag, and they were like, well, you're a kid's TV host, performing in a bar. I was like, well, exactly, you have to be 19 to be in the bar, so there's not kids there. then they're like, well you have to choose one. I was like, you can't make me choose one. It's either you're supporting me or you're fighting against me. Because if you're fighting against me, it's going to be a different conversation. They've come around and they're very supportive, and when I left it was a big celebration. They weren't like, wow, goodbye. It ended up coming full circle.

At the beginning, it was tough because in their minds they wanted kids TV to just be my main priority. When they knew that I was doing something else, they didn't want me to have to be really tired the next day and then have to talk about Spongebob Squarepants, but I delivered every single time and I showed them that I could do both. Then they kind of got over it. Kind of. Then towards the end, they were like, okay, we realize that this is your destiny, so go on with yourself.

Did you feel any pressure representing your Indo-Caribbean community?

A little bit. Listen, being an Indo-Caribbean person, we all know what it's like going to a family get-together. You are constantly being judged. Your skin got too light, your skin got too dark, your body looks like this, your body by looks like this, why'd you cut your hair like that? Why are you wearing those pants? Why are you wearing that shirt? Now being a drag queen on Drag Race, representing this culture, so now I'm doing this for all my aunties and uncles, they're like, oh, the wedding dress, me like that one too. That's very interesting because although I'm making a mark, they're also judging me, too. It's hard.

 

Your father didn't know you were gay before you went on the show.

No, he didn't know I was gay until May. The announcement happened, then I told him, so he's finally realising how big of a deal Priyanka is. I think that's exciting for him, and for me too, because finally my dad, who grew up in Guyana and came to Canada when he was 21 with all of his homophobic beliefs that were built into him through his upbringing, now can see that drag entertainers can take over the world.

He's embracing it?

He's embracing it, but it's slowly, he does. He'll sometimes be like, 'Oh great performance', but sometimes he can't even look because he's like, 'Oh right'. That is my son dressed up as a woman. When I was growing up, that's what I was told, that it was wrong. He has to constantly train his mind to be okay with it. He's still a human being, so I'm giving him that time to learn and grow, just like we all have to learn and grow.

Just for everyone now, where have you guys found that you've gotten fans from around the world that's really surprised you outside of Canada?

Yeah, I'm going to have to say the UK. I go to the UK once a year because I love it there, it's like my second home. The fact that there's all these people in the UK being like, when are you coming, I need you here! I'm like, you want me there too? This is great! I get a vacation, I get to do shows there, I'm so excited!

Canada's Drag Race is available to watch now on BBC Three on the BBC iPlayer.