Who is your drag persona? How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways? Lady Kunterpunt is like a cartoon villain who’s actually too sweet to do anything evil. Lady Kunterpunt likes to be silly and not take things too seriously, while at the same time producing content that is very serious in its message. She’s an exploration of my trans identity in the sense that Lady Kunterpunt, as a character, is my ideal self. She is confident, beautiful, funny, and she embraces her body. Lady Kunterpunt loves to look sexy but never actually acts on it, which is also part of how I embrace my own complicated sexuality. I think this question is kinda funny, because Lady Kunterpunt and I are exactly the same person, but being in drag somehow emboldens me to live loudly and freely. I think my day form sometimes questions herself, but Lady Kunterpunt knows her true power. Our power, I suppose.
How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing? Drag is MEDICINE. Drag is THERAPY. Drag is probably the single most important thing to my well-being next to food and water. Drag lets me connect with other people in a magic way that my average self just doesn’t feel capable of. It lets me connect with myself, and explore complex feelings and ideas by just playing with them. They say laughter is the best medicine- and as a clown, I couldn’t agree more.
What did you discover about yourself through the Drag Heals experience? I learned how important it is to just say things out-loud. There are many moments on the show where my castmates and I reveal very personal things about ourselves- these are things we always knew, or maybe always felt, but sharing them in a space with people you love and who love you… it was very healing. I think just to be listened to, and know that others hear you, even if they don’t fully understand yet. Then taking these things are shouting them on stage- for me personally, it was a momentous, reaffirming occasion in my life. I won’t spoil the show for you, but my final project on Drag Heals is something that will stick with me forever.
How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive? Inclusivity just makes sense. A diverse cast means a diverse audience, who in turn will bring more people and further diversify the community. When we consciously take action to be inclusive, the community grows and thrives. When we decide to be exclusive, be it intention or unintentional, the gaps in our community grow further, as does the amount of work required to bring us together again. I think all queer people can relate to the feeling of being silenced, which is why specifically we MUST be centering the Black and Indigenous Queers in our community who have been pushed aside for hundreds of years. We are only as liberated as our most marginalized. Inclusivity is the only way forward.
Did you second guess yourself before auditioning for Drag Heals? What made you follow through? I absolutely second guessed myself before auditioning! Who doesn’t? There are a LOT of amazing performers across Canada, I didn’t really think I’d stand a chance. What made me follow through was the idea that Drag Heals wouldn’t be a competition. The idea that I could have a chance to work collaboratively with a cast of performers, and having Tracey to guide us as we developed our stories… that really made me want to move forward with my audition. Drag blowing up on a global scale has really escalated this sense of competition amongst performers, and I kinda hate it! I’m honoured that I had a chance to participate in drag media (Canadian no less!) that has a different attitude entirely.
How would you describe your make-up and fashion aesthetic in drag? Lady Kunterpunt’s aesthetic choices could be described as a living cartoon character ripped from the storyboards of classic Hanna-Barbara animations. She loves bright colours and clashing patterns- it’s literally my namesake (Kunterpunt is based on the German word “Kunterbunt”, which would be used to describe a bright motley of colours). She’s a campy mix of 60’s mod and 80’s goth with a skimpy burlesque twist. Kunterpunt LOVES to show skin, simply because the magic of drag allows me to really embrace traditionally feminine styles in a way that isn’t questioned by the average person. When I’m Kunterpunt I don’t have to worry about gender dysphoria because everyone in the room believes in the fantasy, and I can dress as freely as I wish.
Meet Lady Kunterpunt in her interview with Tracey Erin Smith
What’s been most challenging about Drag Heals for you personally? The filming process of Drag Heals was tough for me personally for a few different reasons. At the very beginning of filming I had lost my job- so immediately my stress levels were skyrocketed from like day 2 of filming. Now the actual work we do on the show is VERY emotionally heavy at times, and consequently the final products we end up with on the show required a lot of wading in those emotions. I don’t think I could have anticipated just how hard I worked during production, it ended up being a
What’s brought you the most joy?
This sounds so cheesy but the FRIENDSHIPS! The cast of Drag Heals are my family forever, we still work together frequently, call each other and check up. We shared some very special moments on set, and it brings me the most joy knowing that we’re still part of one another’s lives and will continue to be. Not even social distancing could break us apart.
On Facebook you can search up Lady Kunterpunt. Let’s be friends!
DRAG HEALS season 2 premieres on Friday, October 2nd in Canada on OUTtvGo.com, OUTtv and Amazon, Vimeo and more internationally.
Watch the DRAG HEALS season 2 trailer here.