It’s Fri-gay, mid-Pride month and I am excited to share more drag content. The more #queercontent the better. Is there an LGBTQ2S+ character or theme? I’ll watch it. I’ll read it. I’ll pay money for it. I am here for it.
This lady in red describes herself as a circus freak. Scarlett Bobo has been slaying the drag scene with her unique performances for years and I can’t wait to see her on Canada’s Drag Race premiering on July 2, 2020. We sat down with Miss Scarlett Bobo to learn more about her sickening style and what she considers to be the future of drag.
1 This pandemic has affected a lot of people in many different ways, can you speak to how this has impacted you as a performer and the queer community?
Scarlett Bobo: AH. It’s been really crazy being a performer and being used to an amazing lively crowd and then loosing that to a phone screen. At first I was really uncomfortable doing live shows, I didn’t have my usual confidence to fall back on and it was pretty rough. But I realized doing shows isn’t about just being pretty and twirling around. We have a platform and we are able to put messages into the world and use our voice for good and help the community. It’s been really amazing to see how resilient our community is jumping online and to watch the joy it brings the audience to see a drag show even if they’re watching it on their phone. We’re queer and you can’t stop us from slaying.
2 You released an EP in 2015 #BoBoSexuality which is available on iTunes, can you tell us about that experience and when can all the BoBosexuals expect more music?
Scarlett Bobo: YAS! That was a very interesting experience. It all started when I wrote Still Fucking Going with Allysin Chaynes and Matt Silver. We thought it would be hilarious to record a track and it became our little anthem. Then we had the silly and wild idea to create an album. We recorded it in Silver’s closet with Quanah Style helping us write and 5 years later we re-released it and it felt just as good the second time around!
New music is ON IT’S WAY!! I’m currently finishing my album with super star DJs GODDEXX (formally Diana Boss) and there are some pretty awesome featured artists on this new one. First single “Drop The Money” drops July 3rd!
3 Many queens use descriptors to characterize their drag and performance style (comedy, fashion, etc.) Tell us more about your personal drag style, and what descriptors you would use to describe it.
Scarlett Bobo: My drag doesn’t really have a certain STYLE. I’ve never liked fitting in just one box. I kind of dive into anything and everything. I wanted to be the prettiest, then the funniest, then I went to circus school because I was bored and wanted to do crazy stuff. I love going from being totally snatched in a stunning gown to ripping it off and throwing on an oversized leather jacket and Doc Martens or dressing like Harley Quinn haha.
4 You have performed all over the world from Amsterdam to Paris and, of course, New York (and we haven’t forgotten you won Miss Crews and Tango). Where do you love to perform most and why?
Scarlett Bobo: Amsterdam has this incredible FEELING about the city. You feel the energy SO hard. The Dutch people are so amazing and wild. They treat you like gold. They just LOVE drag. The feeling of getting into a stage in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, knowing I’m about to slay a stage in Europe just DOES something to you. The feeling the crowd gives you without even knowing who you are is wonderful. I love my Dutch family!!!
5 Can you give us more background as to where the name ‘Scarlett Bobo’ came from?
Scarlett Bobo: So the name BoBo comes from Ginette BoBo who is the mother of all the BoBo’s. She started the family name 25/30 years ago. My drag mother Tenora BoBo found me TRYING to do drag. I like to say she found me in a dumpster, and she picked me up, dusted me off and tried her best with me. Ginette didn’t want another grandchild but Tenora convinced her otherwise and LOOK AT ME NOW. Scarlett we came up with while I was sitting on a toilet going through names and I love red. I thought of Scarlett O’Hara and it felt strong and RIGHT! Ginette has now passed away and it really hit home in Ottawa because she was a staple of the community, but I know she’s with me every day and would be so proud.
6 What can drag show audience members expect from a Scarlett Bobo show?
Scarlett Bobo: A lot!!! One minute I’m doing a ballad, the next in dancing on tabletops or doing handstands on people, then I’m running around the bar as Liza. I love comedy, I love dancing, I love doing impersonations. And usually you get it all in one show because I’m so indecisive.
7 Have you always loved performing and what is your favourite part?
Scarlett Bobo: I LOOOOOOVE PERFORMING! It’s been in my blood for as long as I can remember. My mom’s a singer and she used to sing to me and I unfortunately did not get that gift but I was ALWAYS putting on a show for whoever would watch. My favourite thing is feeding off a crowd’s energy. When you get on stage and the crowd is just LIVING for you it just takes over your whole body. It’s a magical feeling.
8 We’ve seen a lot of different audiences, as shows become more popular are there tips you can share with us to be better audience members?
Scarlett Bobo: I’D LOVE TO! So, just like any space you occupy, be respectful. Legit, it’s as simple as that.
Please don’t slap my ass or grab and pull me towards you or grab my arm and tug at me.
Please don’t touch my hair or pull at my costumes.
And PLEASE! DO NOT. TOUCH. MY. FACE! YUK!
And be nice to others around you. We’re drinking and having fun and being party girls BUT when you’re flailing around spilling your drinks everywhere, you’re gonna annoy someone.
So… just. Be. Respectful. It goes a long way.
9 For you, how important is social media in creating your image?
Scarlett Bobo: It’s very important. I’m still learning how to be better on social media because it’s your brand. It’s where you get to show the world who you are and what you’re all about. It’s a great way to connect to your followers, find new ideas and be able to express yourself in any way you want.
10 Can you elaborate on the drag scene here in Toronto? Is it close and/or competitive?
Scarlett Bobo: I think it’s both close and competitive! I have many very close friends in Toronto that are so dear to me. I’ve helped a lot of drag entertainers get their start in the Toronto drag scene and I’m so close with all of them. They’re like my little babies. But there are A LOT of performers in Toronto so when you want to get that weekly show it can become competitive for sure.
11 How long does it take you to get into drag (including make-up!)?
Scarlett Bobo: I’d say about 2 hours from start to finish. Sometimes longer if I’m procrastinating lol.
12 Where do you shop for dresses, wigs and make-up?
Scarlett Bobo: Wigs I usually get online. Webster Wigs is amazing. There are some awesome local wig designers like Mikah Styles and WigZaddy. Ragga and Chlore Beauty are awesome little wig shops in the city.
For outfits. Girl, Axiom! It’s the fiercest little drag shop boutique and we ALL shop there.
Other than that there are a lot of waiters in Toronto! Jeff Christiansen, D’Amanda Tension and Lucinda Mui are amazing seamstresses and they’ve made LOVELY outfits for me!
Make up I always go to The Face Station! They have EVERYTHING you need to beat a mug.
13 What advice do you have for any young queens trying to make it?
Scarlett Bobo: Honestly. Have fun. Drag is meant to be a way for you be express all the fabulousness you have inside you and a lot of times drag performers want to be SO perfect they miss out in having fun. Enjoy yourself. People LOVE to watch someone having a good time.
BE KIND! BE HUMBLE! BE GRATEFUL! It goes a long way. No one is going to become a superstar overnight. Put in the work, pay your dues, support your fellow drag performers shows, do open stages, treat your audience and your fellow drag artists with love and respect. Don’t be a bitch lol.
14 It has been said that drag reveals who you are. Do you believe this and what have you learned about yourself through this art form?
Scarlett Bobo: I absolutely believe this. Drag for me is like my superpower. It makes me so confident and powerful when I throw my beat on! I used to not be confident at all out of drag and throughout the years of doing drag I ended up loving Matty [my name at birth] and loving Scarlett even more. Drag taught me everything I know and I’m so happy I decided to take the leap so many years ago.
15 Drag seems glamorous, but we know it’s hard work. Can you share with us your routine before and after shows? How long does your prep, both for your look and your performance?
Scarlett Bobo: It is HARD WORK! If you’re looking for a fast pass, then you gotta find another career lol. It takes hard work, dedication and passion to be a successful drag artist.
My prep before I get to the club usually takes 2-2.5 hours. Shaving. Make up. Packing your drag bag. Getting all dolled up.
Then it’s deciding your songs when you get to the bar. Sometimes performers have their songs picked out but not me. I fly by the seat of my pants. Then you gotta get the right outfit for the right set and then it’s usually all improve for me on stage. I just feel the song.
There have been times where it is NOT glamorous at all. Drag can be hard on your personal and love life and there has been so many shows that I’ve been crying in the back room not wanting to go on at all but then I pull myself together and go get the job done because the show must go on. A lot of times putting on the show puts me in a better headspace because I could perform out all my anger and frustration.
16 What do you believe is the future of drag?
Scarlett Bobo: Me. Just kidding lol. I think the new wave of drag performers are incredible. There are no rules and there shouldn’t ever have been but there was almost a guideline you would follow before and now this new era of drag is gender less and messy and beautiful and rich and conceptual. It’s really beautiful to see drag constantly evolving. I’m still evolving myself and the new era of drag artists are inspiring me every day.
17 What stigmas have you faced from being a drag queen?
Scarlett Bobo: A LOT! Years ago drag queens were like aliens to people and I love aliens so I don’t know what the problem was. I used to hide my drag from toxic masculine guys that would come over and sometimes they would find a wig or a heel and call me a freak or they “weren’t into chicks”. It was really hard on my self-esteem and I never understood what I was doing wrong. Until I realized I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I was living MY truth. Then I started waving my queerness around proudly and not caring what anyone else said. It’s very hard because when you start drag you wonder, are people gonna like me, am I still dateable, am I still fuckable?! and that SUCKS! We shouldn’t think like that but some of these “masc for masc” guys make you feel….pretty shitty. But once I owned who I was there was no stopping me.
18 How can our readers support you and when/where can we see you perform (both in-person or virtually for the time being)?
Scarlett Bobo: WELL! You can catch me every Thursday at Celebrities Nightclub on Davie st. (Vancouver) for my Canada’s Drag Race Viewing Party with Ilona Verley, Quanah Style and Berlin!
I’ll be performing for Drag Ball presented by Crave on June 27 online with all my Season 1 sisters.
And you’ll catch me on the odd Instagram live when I feel like hitting a live show at @itsscarlettbobo!!!