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

Lady Kunterpunt dishes on Drag Heals season 2

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! 

You can also find me on YouTube at my channel DragASMR, as well my collaborative Sims gaming channel FoolProp that I run with my good friend Aura Nova.

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.

DRAG HEALS season 2 premieres on Friday, October 2nd

Toronto, ON – September 2, 2020

The highly anticipated second season of the hit documentary series DRAG HEALS is set to make its premiere this October 2nd, 2020 at 8pm ET/PT on OUTtv Canada, its digital platform OUTtvGO.com and OUTtv channels on Amazon and Apple TV.

DRAG HEALS season 2 is a hybrid stage workshop and documentary TV series that follows eight drag artists over an intensive ten day workshop to build their own show. In each workshop, a guest coach joins stage director Tracey Erin Smith in exploring soul-deep story sharing techniques as well as the unique talents and skills required from a drag performer.

The guest coaches this season include Leon Silvers, who developed drag therapy into a clinical practice, professional makeup artist Kosta MUA who helps refine and elevate the performers looks, choreographer Jeff Dimitrios who brings the moves, and community mentors Flarington King, Titus Androgynous, Beardoncé and Champagna who offer sage advice from their experience working as drag artists in Canada and around the world.

Over the course of the intensive workshops and story crafting, the participants dive deep into their personal lives to unearth lessons learned and bring them back to the audience as a gift. They are both the pirate and the pirated, the island and treasure. The resulting stories are emotional and cathartic, both for the drag artists and the audience who share in the experience.

“In a time when so many of us are feeling alone, viewers see how a diverse group of strangers can come together, and by sharing their deepest stories, create a beautiful community.” said Creator and Host Tracey Erin Smith.

“Drag Heals challenges the conventions of drag dominating television and ushers in something new – an inclusive and diverse ensemble featuring drag kings, queens, things and in-betweens with the youngest cast member eighteen years old and the eldest in their eighties.” said Director Charlie David. “Instead of a competition where negativity may thrive, Drag Heals is a celebration of the uniqueness of each participant. In the series, we tackle tough discussions head-on around the language and culture used in drag and when it can be unknowingly hurtful. An example would be the common use of the term ‘fishy’ as a compliment to a drag queen but how that word may be derogatory to women as it’s assigning a negative attribute to female anatomy. There’s also a lot of Black appropriation in drag used by non-Black people. I hope the series sheds a light on some of these challenges so we as the LGBTQ community can learn and do better. In Drag Heals, the cast isn’t just performing a lip synch, they’re grabbing hold of the mic and saying something important.”

“After a successful first season, we’re thrilled to welcome Drag Heals back for a second,” said Philip Webb, Head of Originals and Development at OUTtv. “This documentary series gives drag fans an emotional insight behind the scenes of eight drag artists who are at the very start of their drag journey and explores important topics such as gender expression and queer identity. Drag Heals is moving, relatable and uplifting.”

Season Two features 11 episodes that will release weekly in addition to a companion digital series, T with T.E.S., with stage director Tracey Erin Smith that will be released on the Border2Border Entertainment YouTube Channel and OUTtvGO.

About Border2Border Entertainment

Border2Border Entertainment produces and promotes award-winning, critically acclaimed film, television and digital projects for the LGBTQ+ audience. Dedicated to making each production experience enjoyable for our artists, business and broadcast partners, co-workers, and ultimately our audience. Our ongoing relationships with TV networks, film festivals and digital platforms keep our content in demand making our home-grown Canadian content watched by millions around the globe.

About OUTtv

OUTtv is the world’s first and Canada’s only national LGBTQ+ television network and streaming services. Home to a compelling mix of inclusive, queer-focused content from comedy to drama, documentaries, reality and award-winning movies. OUTtv is dedicated to telling stories by and for the community, with a library of over 3000 hours of LGBTQ+ content including more than 600 hours of original programming, making OUTtv the world’s leading provider of queer content.

Originals include The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, The Whole Package, Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend, Never Apart TV, My Trans Journey and the documentary strand OutSpoken. OUTtv is the license holder for the Canadian broadcasts of Emmy award winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, House of Drag, Naked Attraction and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. OUTtvGo is OUTtv’s streaming platform where subscribers can stream their favorite series and movies and discover new content exclusive to the service. OUTtvGo is available for iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku and on web browsers. OUTtv is also available in Canada as an Amazon Prime Video Channel and an Apple TV Channel. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @OUTtv or visit the website to learn more at outtv.ca.

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