Red Deer drag queen competing for provincial title

2017 Search for Alberta’s Next Drag Superstar

Alberta’s Next Drag Superstar could hail from Red Deer.

Ethan Wanless, 25, will hit the stage as Kelli Eletrix at a preliminary round of the 2017 Search for Alberta’s Next Drag Superstar being held at Evolution Wonderlounge in Edmonton on Friday.

Another preliminary round will be held on March 31 and the Drag Superstar will be chosen at the finals on May 5.

Wanless said she has been exploring drag for about a year and it will be her first competition.

She said her interest in drag developed from her involvement in artistic activities like working in makeup, taking dance, and making costumes.

“I found that drag was kind of an outlet for all of that,” said Wanless who likes to create big, colourful, crazy characters.

Her first appearance in drag was at Central Alberta Pride Week’s drag show.

“It was a ton of fun, but it’s definitely uncomfortable having a wig on your head, wearing high heels.”

Wanless said it takes a lot of courage to dress up. It’s not about hiding behind an mask, but letting your personality shine through.

“You’ve really just got to be yourself, and let yourself be brave enough to be yourself.”

She said the makeup to create her stage persona generally takes 40 minutes to an hour to complete. But if it’s a really dramatic, crazy look it can take up to two hours.

Even if she is eliminated on Friday from annual competition, Wanless said she would like to reach out and work with others to create a drag show and be a regular part of the Red Deer entertainment scene.

“It definitely is a dream, being able to perform in Red Deer. I think there would definitely be some venues that would be open to that.”

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