Indigenous drag artist is 1st queen from Sask. competing to be Canada's Next Drag Superstar

indigenous drag artist is 1st queen from sask. competing to be canada's next drag superstar
© Don Somers/CBC Chelazon Leroux is the first contestant from Saskatchewan to snag a spot on the TV competition Canada’s Drag Race.

Chelazon Leroux is Saskatchewan’s first drag queen called to slay on Canada’s Drag Race. 

She said the chance to compete on the reality TV show is a big step forward — not only for her as an artist but also the wider community.

“Growing up, I never saw anyone like myself in media,” said Leroux. She is a two-spirit Dene First Nations drag artist and content creator who grew up in northern Saskatchewan, but now lives in Saskatoon.

Leroux, who uses pronouns he/she/they, said the first time she saw another two-spirit Indigenous person on mainstream television was watching Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race.

“To have someone like me was the most life-changing thing ever.”

Throughout the season, Leroux will compete against 11 other Canadian drag artists who will show off their performance skills as they try to earn the title of Canada’s Next Drag Superstar.

Leroux said being part of the show is important for young Indigenous two-spirit people, who need to see people who are like them out in the world trying and succeeding.

“Being able to see someone love what they do, and have a life and career out of it, it gives hope for a generation,” she said. “It’s life-saving.”

Leroux said she’s following in the footsteps of two other queens who have represented Indigenous and two-spirit communities in previous seasons on the show.

“I’m just continuing that representation, but I am the first from Saskatchewan, so it’s very exciting to tell a different narrative or a different perspective.”

She’s no stranger to sharing her knowledge. Before TV, there was TikTok for Leroux. She’s a social media star, with hundreds of thousands of followers. She often records under her “Auntie” persona, to share both educational and cheeky, comedic content.

The range of content is vast, covering mental health and social issues, as well as drag life and beauty.

She also has an ongoing beauty tutorial series titled Deadly Like Auntie, where she shares all kinds of tips, including teaching people how to do a hair bun (to get “snaggable real quick.”)

From concept to release, creating these videos is a relatively quick process for Leroux, who can do it all with a phone. While she can’t talk about the show yet, she said generally speaking, being on a professional set means much longer — sometimes exhausting — hours.

Ultimately, the focus is still on creation and she said she loved working with the other artists, noting this flock of queens is full of diversity.

“You’ll see yourself in them,” she said. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll feel proud.”

Leroux said she’s feeling the pressure to do well on the show. She added that no matter the outcome, as long as there are people who feel seen and heard — she will have succeeded.

“My younger self would probably be terrified, full of anxiety — very normal reactions — but also very excited,” she said.

Leroux encouraged people to tune in and to “stay deadly.”

Season 3 of Canada’s Drag Race begins on Thursday July 14 on Crave.

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