Victoria’s drag community is celebrating after one of their own finished in the top five in a nationally televised drag competition.
On Thursday, Vivian Vanderpuss was knocked out of Canada’s Drag Race, placing fifth out of 12 contestants. The show, now in its third season, is based on the American series RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Mackenzie Lemire, who performs as Vanderpuss, dubs herself “Victoria’s premiere cat mom” and made it onto the show after spending several years practicing drag.
Lemire has also performed at various locations, including The Vicious Poodle on Johnson Street, and says representing the city at a national level was an honour.
“The drag here is so diverse… what I bring to the table just scratches the surface of all the artists that are here in Victoria,” Lemire told CHEK News.
Throughout Vanderpuss’ time on the show, The Vicious Poodle saw hundreds of people watch her journey play out on the screen during watch parties — a weekly event that the owner says forced him to turn away some viewers due to capacity limits.
“To see her go so far and do so well, our chests are puffed out. We are so proud of her,” said Vicious Poodle owner Socrates Diament.
Diament has known Vanderpuss before her time performing at the downtown bar and always knew she’d be able to make it to the big stage. Her time on the show is helping others garner interest in the drag community.
“One of the things that we strive for here at the Vicious Poodle is to be an incubator for drag and performance talent,” said Diament. “Give new kids a stage to… practice and hone their craft.”
He adds that the community rallied behind Vanderpuss in preparation for the show.
“There’s a whole host of voices that make it the amazing performance community that we have here in Victoria,” said Diament.
Although Vanderpuss is no longer on Canada’s Drag Race, the bar will be hosting a watch party for the season finale on Thursday, Sept. 8.
— Canada's Drag Race (@canadasdragrace) September 2, 2022