The Georgia Straight
Drag Race’s Synthia Kiss shares show experiences
The “Brat Pack” on Canada’s Drag Race is down a member. Vancouver has had a strong presence on season 2, with four queens represented. Kendall Gender, Gia Metric, and Synthia Kiss formed a de facto in-group among the cast that intimidated some of the other queens.
Their familiarity wasn’t just because they hail from the same city. Off-screen, the trio were part of a weekly Vancouver drag show called Bratpack that ultimately served as a kind of Drag Race boot camp.
But alas, there won’t be a Vancouver hat trick at the end of season 2. For episode 7’s Sinner’s Ball challenge, the queens had to design looks based on the seven deadly sins and Synthia Kiss sashayed away thanks to a halfway-there animal-print “Greed” look.
Born in Peterborough, Kiss didn’t actually start doing drag until she moved to Vancouver after graduating from fashion school at Toronto’s Ryerson University. A designer by day for high-street fashion brands, she says going home on a design challenge stung. But Kiss readily admits the sewing competition among the cast was tough, with Montreal’s Pythia and Ottawa’s Icesis Couture regularly wowing the judges with high-concept creations.
Chatting about her elimination the morning after, Kiss animatedly recounted
her time on the show like she’s your bubbly new best friend. It’s not hard to see why she wound up being cast.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A DRAG QUEEN?
I became a drag queen by amalgamating the skills of a needy, attention-seeking middle child, taking dance and art classes, having a desire to own a sewing machine in high school, and getting a degree in fashion design at Ryerson. When I moved to the West Coast, I realized these were the makings of a drag queen. I just went for it. Let’s shake this into a cocktail and boom! Synthia Kiss was born. Here I am!
Bratpack consisted of a changing crew of queens in Vancouver, but the era I was part of definitely was its highlight. We started to really care about numbers being choreographed, looks being cohesive and promotion online. We really gave it our full shot. And we made it all the way to season 2. It was so fun to see Kendall [Gender] and Gia [Metric], who were also part of Bratpack.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THE WERK ROOM GIVEN YOU GUYS WERE SO TIGHT-KNIT?
Eve 6000 put it really beautifully. She was saying it was so nice to see you guys get along and be close but every single queen has their sisters. In a time where you’re most vulnerable—in an unfamiliar, scary environment—you too would love to have a couple Judys besides you being like, “You’ve got this girl.” The three of us had that going on. It did come to a point where I was like, ‘Guys, we got to stay away from each other. We need to socialize and be part of the whole cast.’ I did not want to leave that experience not knowing the other queens.
DO YOU SEE ANY TRENDS BUBBLING UP?
Chunky shoes! Brooke Lynn [Hytes} hated my chunky heels, but they’re definitely going to be a thing. The amount of queens I’ve heard who are having injuries, rolling their ankles, straining their knees—we’ve got two girls this season who hurt their knees death dropping. We need stable footwear, people! The Spice Girls did it. We can do it, too. g