Pucker Up: Lemon Is Just Getting Started

"I'm thinking I may just become an international doll."


It was bittersweet to say goodbye to Lemon on this week’s episode of Canada’s Drag Race.

The Toronto queen started doing drag in New York City but has spent her life dancing on the stage. Those moves came in handy when she sashayed into the workroom and immediately found herself lip-syncing for her life in the first episode. She survived to drag another day, eventually making it to the top five, but after this week’s makeover challenge, she was back in the bottom two. Her Alanis Morrisette lip-sync failed to save her, and the judges asked Lemon to sashay away.

Lemon spoke with NewNowNext about her time on the show, including her instantly classic read of Priyanka, if her elimination came as a surprise, and what it was like being roommates with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 contestant Jan.

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

Oh my God. It was so overwhelming. As much as it’s so exciting, you just get immediately spun into a stupor of getting everything ready and getting yourself emotionally ready. So, like a bittersweet feeling, for sure. But it really did feel the best day ever.

Why bittersweet?

Because you have so much to do. Oh my gosh.

What are your drag beginnings? How long had you been doing drag before the show?

I’d only been doing drag for about a year and a half, and that’s when I left for the show. But I’ve been performing my whole life. I’ve been a competitive dancer, and I loved the stage. So, performance has always been a part of my life, for sure.

And you were roommates with Jan?

I sure was, yes.

Tell me, how was she as a roommate?

Oh man, Jan is an angel. Jan is truly sent here from heaven to protect me and take care of me. She is nicer than you could ever imagine and truly just… she’s one of those people who just minds her business, does her thing, and does nice acts for people without even asking.

Did she reach out to you while Canada was airing?

Oh my God, we talk every day! She’s one of my closest friends. We talk all the time.

You had only been doing drag for a year and a half, and you were living in NYC. Did you know a lot of the queens who you were competing against on the show?

I knew no one. I didn’t know one girl.


I kind of knew Tynomi Banks because I danced backup for her when I was 18. But other than that, I didn’t know any of the girls. But I was very, very excited and very, honestly jazzed at how amazing they all were.

What was that like when you lip-synced that first week? Most girls who lip-sync on the first week don’t last very long in the competition.

I mean, honestly, it was awful. It’s the worst feeling in the world. It’s so terrifying. Especially it being Week 1, you want to go in there and make everyone so proud and show everyone right from the beginning that you’re a frontrunner. And that was not what happened.

Your read of Priyanka (“The only thing you’re fucking is stupid”) is one of the greatest reads in Drag Race history. Where did that line come from?

Well, it’s the truth. It’s true. Truth just comes from within. No, honestly, I love the reading challenge. I’m a huge fan of Drag Race, and I’ve been always so obsessed with the reading challenge. When I got there, I made sure, if I made it that far, that I would not let myself down. And I would not not serve, you know? So, I just had them all prepared. I was ready to go. I had all of my sneaky little reads for all the girls, and that one was a personal favorite. I was just so lucky that she was first in line. Yeah.

Were the girls loving your reads on set?

Oh, for sure. Yes. Well, we all have so much fun with each other. And part of drag is the cattiness, the reading. And we love each other beyond all that. We are good, good Judies, and the fun little reads are what makes our friendships last.

On this week’s episode, you and some of the other queens got emotional when you were making over Lime and some of the other Rainbow Railroad guys. What was that like on set, talking with them?

I mean, it was just such a powerful day. It was such an inspiring and incredible time and such a reality check. And it really put into perspective how much you take for granted, and how much living in Canada and living in New York and in places where you can be so authentically yourself and be so visibly queer… you just take that for granted, and you take that experience as normal. I needed to meet these people whose lives have been so different from ours and who don’t have the same access to their own queer identity, and were maybe older than me and, still, are younger than me in a lot of ways because they haven’t been allowed to be themselves. So it was just a really eye-opening experience. It was such a beautiful way to explore drag. And it was a beautiful send-off, I have to say. I’m honored to have made it that far. And I’m so proud of everything. I love Lime so much—such a sweet little angel—and I thought she looked beautiful.

For the lip-sync, I want to know: If you could have chosen, which Alanis song would you have lip-synced to?

Oh, that was the one.

“You Oughta Know?”

Yes. It’s a classic. I mean, Alanis, Canadian legend, has endless bops. But “You Oughta Know” is a power song. So I was happy that it was that one, for sure.

And you really served it. I was surprised that you were sent home. Were you surprised?

I mean, to a certain extent, sure. But I think that the magic of Drag Race is that anything can happen at any time. So, was I really that surprised? No. You don’t know. I knew that I could go home at any moment and I could leave at any moment. So, you just kind of have to take it with a grain of salt. And I think the top four that is left over are all incredible, and they’re so amazing. And if I wanted any four girls to go farther than me, it’s those four girls. I’m so happy.

And are you back in New York City now?

I’m in Toronto.

So are you going to stay in Canada now?

I don’t know. I’m thinking I may just become an international doll, and you’ll just see me all over the place.

When I talked to Ilona Verley, she said she got a tattoo of your signature. Are you going to get an Ilona tattoo?

I mean, I would love an Ilona tattoo. I thinking of maybe getting a little blue poodle, Ilona’s favorite animal.

I love that. And then, all the Canada girls… You’ve all stayed close since filming, right?

Oh my God. We’re so close! We have a group chat, and we’re literally all messaging every single day. We are truly sisters, and we really, really love each other.

And everyone’s holding up all right during quarantine?

Oh yeah. I mean, we are handling it as best as we can. We all want to be on tour; we all want to be on tour together. And we want to be meeting all these lovely people that are sending us such sweet things. But patience is a virtue, and we all are going to just have to wait it out.

Do you know if JoJo Siwa saw your Snatch Game?

Oh my god—she tweeted me! She said she was obsessed. I love her so much. I think JoJo Siwa is the next child star, pop star, singing sensation. I really think she’s our next Miley Cyrus.

What can us Lemon fans look forward to next? What are you working on?

I mean, hopefully, I will be able to come see them all. I really hope that the next step is a world tour, and I can kind of meet all of these wonderful supporters and fans of Lemon—my Lemonheads. And after that, who knows?

World domination.

I mean, ideally.

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