Canada’s Drag Race Winner Priyanka On Her Favourite Looks, Wardrobe Malfunctions and More

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Photographer: Colin Gaudet. Stylist: Amber Watkins. Makeup: Caroline Levin for Fenty Beauty. Hair: Kirsten Klontz for Bellami Hair and Hot Tools Professional Canada. Producer: Lauren Wheeler. Fashion Assistant: Jenna Aranas.

“The reason why I do drag is to make people feel good about themselves, to give them an outlet to escape and live their best life, and be proud of who they are. And it also makes me feel good about myself.”

Shortly after Priyanka won the first season of Canada’s Drag Race, we got on the phone with the Toronto queen to discuss her historic win.

“It feels so cool that in the gay history books to come, it’s going to say “… and Priyanka won Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race,” she says. “It’s just amazing to have normalized that people of colour can win. I’m getting all these messages from people in India and Guyana and Trinidad and all over the world being like ‘this means a lot, thank you.’ I’m so proud.”

And to honour her game-changing win, we asked her to break down the fabulous outfits and looks that helped bring her to victory—and provided people with so much joy.

“The reason why I do drag is to make people feel good about themselves, to give them an outlet to escape and live their best life, and be proud of who they are. And it also makes me feel good about myself.”

Click through the gallery to see images from a recent shoot exclusive to FASHION, and read on for our interview with Priyanka, Canada’s first Drag Race Superstar.

Favourite look on the show:
The gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Canadiana-extravaganza-meets-Bollywood-film lehenga gown. This look was the best look of my entire life because it represented two things—my culture and how proud I am to have grown up Hindu and Indo-Caribbean, but also I got to show people how proud I am to be Canadian too. The red and white was an homage to Canada, and also red is a very classic, traditional bridal colour in India. I had to buy two bridal lehengas and cut them in half and Frankenstein them to fit my body, because I’m 6″. I got them from Chandan Fashion on Gerrard Street. It’s so cool, I walk into Chandan and they’re like ‘Priyanka’s here, clear everybody out.’ I would have been scared to walk into a very traditional Indian place that sells saris and all those kinds of things but they’re my Number 1 fans.

Behind-the-scenes wardrobe malfunction:
My orange and blue look was amazing. That was hand-braided by my drag mother and it truly was one of those things that on paper didn’t really make a lot of sense but when it was on me, I was like ‘oh this is the look that’s going to win a challenge,’ and it did. But when I was getting into the look on the show, I got into it the wrong way and thought it didn’t fit. I was like ‘omg I’m going to lose this week, I’m going to be in the bottom, I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ But we called Queens Care, they’re like the production assistants, and with their help it finally came together.

Most daring or complicated look:
For one of the design challenges, Lemon, BOA and I did metal looks. I had to duct tape an umbrella to my head and it made me so nauseous to the point where I had to ask to go earlier on the runway because I thought I was going to throw up. The pressure of a piece of metal duct taped to your head is not cute.

An outfit you thought would look amazing but just didn’t:
My denim look! Denim and denim. I wore boots and a jacket and a white denim bodysuit, it looked so cute but when I got to the runway they were like ‘meh, whatever.’ I was like ‘oh! okay!’ You can only compare yourself to the other girls, and so many of them had such amazing, incredible denim looks.

Most challenging experience:
Everyone’s expecting me to say this and they’re not wrong. I completely bombed the infamous Snatch Game. Oopsies! And the reason is not because of my character choice, not because of anything else, but I was just in my head. Right before, Brooke Lynn Hytes said ‘Welcome to Snatch Game.’ I looked over at Lemon and said ‘omg I’m in my head.’ I just gave up and I’m mad at myself for giving up but I made it up to myself with ‘I Drove All Night’ so it’s okay.

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