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!
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
WATCH DRAG HEALS SEASON 2 on your favourite platforms!