Kiara Talks Us Through That Jaw-Dropping Céline Dion Lip Sync

"I wrote down every trick that I could do..."


O Canada! We stand on guard for thee!

The queens of Canada’s Drag Race, the latest international version of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, have been delivering camp and fashion gold week after week. But in the latest episode, the girls really outdid themselves. The episode was one every Drag Race fan looks forward to: Snatch Game. There was also the reading challenge, which Lemon won with her delightful digs at her drag sisters. The first Canadian Snatch Game proved to be harder than the queens thought, with Kiara’s Mariah Carey hitting a particularly sour note. After a “Night of a 1000 Céline Dions” runway, it was Kiara and Priyanka in the bottom.

The two queens didn’t let being in the bottom stop them from giving it their all. Priyanka and Kiara absolutely slayed their lip sync to Céline’s “I Drove All Night,” leaving the judges gagged and Stacey Mackenzie giving them a standing ovation. But in the end, it was not a double save, and even though she was fierce competition, the judges decided to send Kiara packing.

Kiara called up NewNowNext to talk about her time on the show, any regrets she has about her Mariah Snatch Game, and what was going through her head as she gave this season’s best lip sync for your life.

What was it like when you got the call to be on Canada’s Drag Race?

I was super excited. I was so grateful, and I felt so lucky to be part of this season because it’s the first season, and it’s such a big opportunity and the chance of a lifetime.

What are your drag beginnings? How long have you been doing drag for?

It’s been three years now, but when I was on the show it had been a bit more than two years. It started, I was 19, and I’d been wondering about doing drag for a few times. I practiced in my bedroom, doing some makeup, maybe for a year, and doing some performances. And I’ve always done some improv and theater and dance and makeup, and I love Halloween. So I feel like I really got the opportunity to mix all my passions together and create my drag.

Do you have a drag mother, or did you teach yourself how to do drag?

I learned to do makeup and everything and just style wigs by YouTube videos. I actually was watching Kyne’s videos when I was younger, to know how to style wigs and makeup. Well, all the World of Wonder videos that all the beautiful Drag Race queens do, or makeup tutorials, I watched them. I was practicing, and I was learning makeup little by little, and then I just looked at performances that I liked and what I didn’t. When I was able to go in bars, I was always watching shows, and I was always like, “Oh, okay, that is what I would like to do,” “Oh, this I could do better,” or “I don’t think I could do it.”

Learning from the World of Wonder queens—it’s a real full-circle moment, being on Drag Race, then.

Yeah. Indeed.

I read online that you named yourself after a character from The Lion King II?

Okay, I have a confession: I love The Lion King, for sure, but I just picked Kiara because I loved the name. I kind of change the story every time. I’m a Leo, so that’s my sign. But actually I discovered the name Kiara because it was the name of one of my friend’s cats, and the cat was very exotic and dancer-ish. I don’t know, I just really liked the vibe and the feline feel to the name.

When you walked on set for Canada’s Drag Race the first time, were there any queens that you were gagged to see there, that you weren’t expecting, maybe?

I was not sure if Rita was going to be there because like, she’s a good… I don’t want to say a good liar. She keeps secrets very well. And I remember having these discussions with her, but she never made me think that she would be on the show. But I was expecting her to be because I know she auditioned for Drag Race in the U.S. Otherwise, I was really gagged when Tynomi walked in the room. I was not surprised to see Priyanka. I knew she was going to be in the competition as well.

The episode started off with the queens saying there was some tension in the group. Was it tense on set?

I don’t know. At one point, I think it got tense because when Tynomi went home, everybody was like, “Oh my God, like, it’s anybody’s game, anybody could go home at any time.” The person we thought would go to the end is now sashaying away. So everybody was like, “Okay, well, this is my time to shine.” There was some drama, but I feel like when the pressure rises, then of course there’s going to be some tension.

Do you think Lemon should have won the reading challenge?

Yes. I love Lemon. I thought it was going to be her or Rita actually, ’cause Rita was good as well.

Okay. So let’s talk about Snatch Game. Do you have regrets about choosing Mariah? Did you have another choice that you wish you’d gone with?

[Sarcastically] No regrets at all. None. Yes, I do regret that. I really do. My God. I said that I didn’t know that it was not going to be… I didn’t see it as like a diva moment, like when people do Beyoncé or when people do a diva that you can’t really impersonate because they’re not funny, but Mariah is funny. So I expected it to be okay.

Yes, she is.

But then I thought also about doing Stacey McKenzie, and I think I should have done her. It would have been great. I should have done that.

Do you have a favorite Mariah song or album?

Oh, my God. I love The Emancipation of Mimi, I love Memoirs an Imperfect Angel. I love “All I Want For Christmas is You” all year long. I was listening to it this morning.

Christmas in July!

Her Christmas albums are amazing. I just love Mariah everything.

I thought your lip sync was the best one of the season so far. It’s so, so good. If there was ever a time for a double save…! When I talked to Kyne and Anastarzia, they told me they knew they were going home before the lip sync. Did you feel the same way before yours?

No, I didn’t know. I actually didn’t even plan an outro line. I didn’t expect to go home. I knew that if I was going to lip-sync against Priyanka that it was going to be very hard. But I’m really confident about my performance skills because I think that’s what really got me on Drag Race in the first place. I feel like [it’s] my main, my principal asset, but I feel like, yeah, I was really confident to go against anyone but Priyanka.

Did you know you were killing it while you were doing the lip sync? What was going through your head?

Yeah. When I went home the night before I knew I was going to lip-sync. I didn’t know against who, but I knew I was going to. I listened to the song many times, and I wrote down every trick that I could do, and I placed them in the song. That’s how I usually perform. I don’t do all my tricks in one song, but in that moment where I want to do my tricks and stuff, so yeah. And when I performed, I just did what I planned to do. I was expecting the best, but when the queens were pointing to Priyanka, when she was on the floor especially, that’s when I thought maybe I’m losing focus. I was still focused on my performance, on serving and doing the best. Because you’re conscious that you’re in front of cameras, and you’re conscious that you could be going home. I really want to do the best I could do. And that’s it. I gave my all.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."