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.
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.
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.
WATCH SEASON 2 of DRAG HEALS on your favourite platforms:
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.