Rosé Dior – You’re Gonna Love Me

Rosé Dior in Drag Heals season 2

Rosé Dior is the drag persona of Daniel Fernandes who stars in season 2 of Drag Heals and the upcoming Border2Border Entertainment scripted comedy series Womb Envy.

Who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My drag person is Miss Rosé Dior. She transforms me from a shy, introverted nerd, to a glamourous, outgoing diva. She allows me to express my inner self. As Daniel, I feel trapped in a masculine way of life, but with Rosé, I’m able to break out of my shell and just be the most fabulous queen I can be. She’s loud, sassy, and funny, but it all comes from a place of kindness and love…. Basically, everything I hope to be in my regular life.

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

Yes, it does. Tracey always said that drag is a mask you put on to unmask, and I stand behind that 100%. Through Miss Dior, I’ve been able to uncover a lot of built up shame that I would have never been able to confront myself with otherwise. But with drag, I’ve also been able to express myself freely. It’s a safe place for me to show this other side of me.

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?

Very important. I think playing, especially in a creative way, helps with my mental health. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s a way to get things out of you, but in a fun safe way that you control.

Daniel Fernandes as Rosé Dior.
Daniel Fernandes as Rosé Dior.

What did you discover about yourself through the Drag Heals experience?

I discovered that I have a hell lot of learning to do about myself and my community. It’s hard to admit, but I need to educate myself more on the LGBTQ+ community; its histories, its struggles, its successes. This is my community who loves and supports and accepts me, and I need to do the same. There’s so much I didn’t know that I have learned from each of the friends I’ve made at drag heal that has opened up my mind. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

Making the drag community more inclusive opens up the whole damn world of fantastic voices and storytelling. Period. I think drag performers from the entire spectrum all have such unique voices the need to be heard. Coming from the world of only knowing drag queens, Drag Heals was my introduction to different forms of drag. And each artist brought to the stage something I’ve never seen before, and the world needs to see this. 

How would you describe your make-up and fashion aesthetic in drag?

I tried to take a more classic pageant approach to my style, taking after my mom in her pageant days. It was very challenging for me not having ever done my make up by myself. Also, I am a pretty big guy who doesn’t fit in woman’s clothes. So that was a huge struggle for me, but in the end, I found something stretchy and glamorous that worked for my piece. 

What’s been most challenging about Drag Heals for you personally?

The most challenging thing for me was the constant need to beat myself up. Whenever I made a mistake, no matter how small it was, I immediately retreated into my head.

Daniel Fernandes is a Toronto based producer, director, writer, and performer hailing from Edmonton, Alberta.
Daniel Fernandes is a Toronto based producer, director, writer, and performer hailing from Edmonton, Alberta.

What’s brought you the most joy?

Meeting the people I did, in the cast and crew of drag heals, and sharing the stage with so many great people in a project I was so proud of was a highlight for me.

What has surprised you the most?

When I looked in the mirror right before my first show, I surprised myself with how far I’ve come. I looked damn good. I surprised myself with how hard I worked for this, and how much I learned from drag.

Catch up with Miss Rosé Dior on Instagram and Twitter.

Insta: @queenrosedior / @danfurd

Twitter: @danfurd

WATCH SEASON 2 of DRAG HEALS on your favourite platforms:

Amazon

Vimeo

OUTtvGo

Daniel Fernandes is a Toronto based producer, director, writer, and performer hailing from Edmonton, Alberta. That’s the short version of it and he’s sticking to it. His five years of working in children’s television and his unhealthy obsession with his favorite wine have heavily influenced his drag persona, Miss Rosé Dior. Daniel hopes to one day use drag to inspire self-expression, acceptance, and joy to both kids and adults alike.

Watch the T with T.E.S. interview between Tracey Erin Smith and Rosé Dior here.

Drag Therapy – developed by psychotherapist Leon Silvers

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag. Leon Silvers is the special guest in Drag Heals season 2 episode 2 ‘Drag Therapy’.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City.  He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.
Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag.

Leon, who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My Drag Persona is Pink Freud. Embodying this persona allows me to fully embrace parts of myself that I dont always get to experience so fully. I get to be over the top with my playfulness, courageousness and gregariousness. I dont have to hold back because playing Pink gives me permission to be as big as I would like. 

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

Absolutely! That is why I created Drag Therapy. When you embody a drag persona or simply put on a costume, you’re able to access many different parts of yourself that you typically aren’t able to access. That doesn’t just have to be fierce qualities, it can be more vulnerable parts of yourself too. Being dressed in your particular persona, and you can have many,  can be an easier and gentler way to access those feelings or parts of yourself. The therapeutic power of drag doesn’t even require a full drag look. Try simply putting on a beautiful “diamond” necklace or tiara, look in the mirror, and see how you feel. It can be hard to feel sad when you’re covered in jewels. 

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?

It is crucial! Drag Therapy is actually a play therapy. Play is inversely correlated to depression and anxiety. Meaning, the more we are able to play, the less depressed and anxious we will be. I try to center my life around being able to play. Right now, because of Covid, my play is in the wilderness- hiking, camping, exploring. And of course bringing my drag to the wilderness and playing with costumes there. Play also helps us unlock our creativity and spontaneity which I believe are key to improving mental health. 

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

 I think it is important for the drag community to recognize that drag really is just about play and that there is no one size fits all for drag artistry. Drag can take many shapes, forms, and sizes and it’s really just about being yourself, being creative, and having fun. The drag community really is just a large sandbox where people come to play, create, connect, transform, and help others access their sense of play. 

What’s brought you the most joy working with the Drag Heals cast?

It was truly an unbelievable experience working with the cast of Drag Heals because all of the participants were so open and eager to playing and being challenged . Improv can be a challenging task and the participants were so courageous and took so many risks, despite the cameras rolling. It was also incredible to see how cohesive and connected they were as a group and it was only the second week. That really speaks to the openness of the group and also the amazing skills of Tracey, their fearless leader.

How has it been collaborating with Tracey Erin Smith to help shape the one-person shows?

Tracey is a phenomenal human! She really is an inspiring woman. She is so creative, passionate, enthusiastic, and really creates an environment that is conducive to creative and personal growth. She has been incredibly encouraging and supportive of me and my work and it is a pleasure to be able to work with her. I want to be a participant next season just so I can learn more from her!

What do you hope the TV audience gets out of watching Drag Heals? 

I hope the Drag Heals viewers learn that drag is a playful art form that is accessible to anyone and everyone. Drag doesn’t have to be dressing as a fierce queen or king; it is simply playing with costume, makeup, performance, movement, and/or whatever other creative expression you can imagine. We are all in drag every day. When we can intentionally manipulate our drag, we can access our creativity, curiosity, and sense of freedom, and let go of our inhibitions and control, and have fun!

Connect with Leon Silvers and learn more about Drag Therapy:

@DragTherapyNYC

 www.SilversPsychotherapy.com

Watch Drag Heals Season 2 on your favourite platforms:

Vimeo

Amazon

OUTtv Canada and OUTtvGo

Spectra Vaganza shines a light on Drag Heals season 2

Spectra Vaganza from Drag Heals season 2

In episode 2 of Drag Heals, we meet Spectra Vaganza up close and personal and witness some heartfelt and healing moments as Spectra Vaganza and the cast work with Leon Silvers who originated drag therapy.

Who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My drag persona name is Spectra Vaganza (isn’t that fun to say!?). I put on a mask that is and will always be a dream of mine, a beautiful colorful dream that is constantly growing. Spectra highlights the nurturing, feminine and kinder energies of the universe, then injects them into her quirky representative (that’s me!). I love to connect with everyone in my daily life, hear unique stories and experiences. We all represent different colors on the spectrum, hence “Spectra”. I want all of our colors in and out of drag to shine, drag is one of many amazing platform I can use to help this mission succeed!

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

In my humble opinion, drag is a beautiful accident, which can be therapeutic and very healing! Such is most original art, am I right? It’s a leap of faith through expression, pulling ideas from within every time. I love to try new things in my drag, keeps me sharp! Drag Heals was good for that, Tracey encouraged me to take an even deeper look at my story and tell it verbally, I really was uncomfortable at first playing outside of my skill set. I never thought myself much of a story teller before, but it helped me see so much more than I thought possible and the audience took something from it too! Yay! 

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?

Who doesn’t love to play?! Walk into a room of puppies and try and stand still. So that’s drag for me… the audience wanting our love and attention and it’s very much mutual!  Playing together is love in its purest form, just ask Leon, one of our lovely guests. Do not take yourself too seriously, it’s not good for your mental health! On and off camera I had inside jokes and play time with every member of the cast and crew, it helped when things would get heavy at times. I love my Drag Heals family! 

Spectra Vaganza stars in the second season of Drag Heals.

What did you discover about yourself through the Drag Heals experience?

When I first got the call that I was cast in Drag Heals S2 (which I was not expecting in the least given my lack of drag experience) I freaked out! I had been a closeted drag fan for years now and it was MY turn?! I may have downed a six pack of my favorite craft beers from Blood Brothers… Fast forward to the show, everyone was so welcoming, I met Beardoncé and Champagne from season 1, I was star struck! I learned quickly that I could do it too, it was just fear in my way. Thanks to this chance I’ve since performed at some of the best drag bars and clubs around Toronto and made amazing friends.

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

I’m sure my fellow costar and Drag King Cyril Cinder will have this topic nailed down and better explained than me, but from what I’ve learned, Drag is for EVERYONE, it’s not about making new rules that exclude people, it’s about breaking old rules to include people! Pride started with this very concept and all of us would do well to remember that. WE LOVE YOU MARSHA P. JOHNSON. 

Did you second guess yourself before auditioning for Drag Heals?  What made you follow through?

I second guessed myself HARD before submitting for Drag Heals, I actually bailed out of the submission process twice, I bet you didn’t know that! It meant I was taking a step away from the world I had known and a bold step into a new world that may or many not accept me. To risk pushing away any family and friends I had left was scary to say the least, but I believe the truth can work amazing things if given the chance. I chose to submit at the last second, and I’m so glad I did! My life changed forever…

How would you describe your make-up and fashion aesthetic in drag?

Spectra’s aesthetic is feminine, I love the goddess vibes, fun sparkly, light catching clothes I didnt allow myself to play with earlier in my life. I fully intend to win that crown one day and that’s going to take much more work, drag gets better with practice, so don’t give up! It now takes me an extra hour to go clothes shopping though, thanks alot Spectra! 

What’s been most challenging about Drag Heals for you personally?

The thing I found most tricky with Drag Heals… (Please don’t give me the villain edit for this haha!) You’re doing a theatrical based class to learn new skills, in front of artists and guest teachers who have questions and comments which is being filmed at Buddies in Bad Times theatre which is on a strict time schedule. You must come to work everyday ready to go in order to get all this squeezed in, which can be tricky, but not impossible! The director Charlie was patient with us and Tracey made herself available post shoot days too. I sure developed stamina, being a star is hard work! 😉 

What’s brought you the most joy?

I experienced a lot of joy in the process, one memory that does stick out for me and will always is when I got a group hug from all my cast mates. I’m getting emotional typing this right now, that’s how happy it made me! This was the first time I felt I belonged somewhere and it was nice to let my guard down without having a wall up.

I was most surprised by how many of my friends from different walks of life came to the show! My sister Myra who has been a rock in my life since coming out was one of the first to buy a ticket too! Its a risk choosing to expose your heart, it’s a good feeling to know they’re coming to support and build with us, magic happens!

How has it been working with Tracey Erin Smith to help create your one-person show?

Working with Tracey was an eye opening experience, she was approachable and I liked that! When you see someone on TV and then meet them in person, you just don’t know who you’re going to get, I’m pleased to say she’s one of the good ones! She hand picked me because of my story to be on this show, then helped me tell that story which changed my life. Ill always be grateful to her for this amazing opportunity to shine! 

What do you hope the TV audience gets out of watching Drag Heals? 

I hope the TV audience gets a sense of inspiration from the show, I never want to make someone feel like they can’t achieve what we’ve achieved here. For years I’ve been an audience member only, watching drag artists pursue their dreams while I sit and watch with hearts in my eyes. It’s ok for it to be your turn next, I hope to see you around someday if this is what you want! 

I’d like to conclude with a giant thank you to the cast, crew, friends, family and viewers who made this all possible! Without you this dream just wouldn’t be happening. Depression hasn’t gotten the best of me since, I have a wonderful life I’ve started to build here and many friends yet to make. Cheers to the journey! XO 

Catch up with Spectra Vaganza on social!

@spectravaganza – Instagram 

Spectra Vaganza – YouTube 

Spectra Vaganza – Facebook 

MEET ALL THE DRAG ARTISTS FROM DRAG HEALS ON OUR SPECIAL INTERVIEW SERIES, T with T.E.S.

WATCH DRAG HEALS SEASON 2 on your favourite platforms!

VIMEO

AMAZON

OUTtvGO