‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Season 3: ‘After the Sashay’ with Bombae

This week’s eliminated “Canada’s Drag Race” contestant talks representing the South Asian diaspora and post-elimination Grindr sympathy

Before she was on Canada’s Drag Race, Bombae was just my human disaster of a friend. We’ve been doing weekly digital drag shows together on Twitch for two years. On our show we’ve done everything from tying each other up in Saran wrap to dressing each other up as human Christmas trees (with lights!) and destroying both of our bodies with extreme hot sauces

Bombae is the most chaotic person I know, but she’s also thoughtful, smart and kind. Working with our collective, Speakeasy, Bombae has helped raise thousands of dollars for charity, put a spotlight on a diverse set of queer artists and built a community. (Last year, I wrote about how we went from strangers to friends during lockdown for Xtra.)

On Canada’s Drag Race, the whole country got to see how deeply weird and wonderful Bombae’s drag is. I have a major bias, but I think she went home way too soon. Her elimination did, however, mean I got the chance to grill her. After getting the boot, Bombae sat down with Xtra’s After the Sashay to answer all my questions, from how much money she thinks she owes me to whether she’s getting sympathy dick on Grindr now that she’s a former cast member from Canada’s Drag Race.

Bom! What the fuck!! You were supposed to win! 

You’re telling me?! Honestly, after watching the episode, I don’t think I should have been in the bottom.

Who should have? Name names!

Anyone else. ANYONE ELSE! The challenge was to brand yourself into a makeup palette. I’m a funny person, a funny drag queen. My makeup palette is going to be funny! It’s going to make fun of experiences I’ve had. Apparently the judges didn’t get my sense of humour. But that speaks to them, not me. 

As a matter of editorial disclosure, how would you describe our relationship?


Sometimes in life you find friends and sometimes in life you’re forced to be friends. Russ Martin and I are the latter. We were forced to be friends and now we are enemies at best. This interview has been a long time coming. I want to troll the crap out of this interview.

I’m going to troll you.

 

Oh, good luck. Good LUCK.

Could you promote the show we do together, please?

If you like this interview, if you like ME—because we know you don’t like Russ—every Tuesday you can watch us on The Gays Are Fighting on Speakeasy’s Twitch channel at 9 p.m. EST. We do stuff like helium karaoke. Last week we played frat party drinking games. It’s always a mess and sometimes we get banned.

Okay, next question.

Would I do All Stars? Absolutely.

The publicist actually said I’m not allowed to ask about that.

What does NDA stand for? I don’t know.

This winter, under mysterious circumstances, you asked me for a loan that you’ve slowly been paying back. How much—exactly—do you think you still owe me?

I know I owe you a lot of money and I hope that when our friendship dissolves, we’ll be able to put that loan aside. What do I owe you, like, five, six, seven grand? It’s up there. If you’d like me to pay that loan back, you can tip me at my PayPal and one day I’ll be able to pay back Russ Martin.

But maybe if Russ had given me more money I would have had better looks!

You watched your elimination at the Gladstone Hotel last night with two of your season three sisters, Miss Moço and your drag mom Halal Bae. What was it like to watch with them?

I did not watch my elimination. I had a paper bag over my head for the latter half of the episode. I didn’t want to relive that moment. Once the judges started deliberating I was like, “Give me the bag.”

You tweeted that you woke up to the most amazing messages on Grindr. Are you getting sympathy dick?

No! First of all, mama, we do not need sympathy dick. But people on Grindr were like, “Girl, you were funny. I would have bought the palette.” When it’s right, it’s right.

You really got in your head this week. I tried to teach you the meditative practice of three conscious breaths. Did you try that?

Yes, I did, Russ. But it didn’t help! So next time, do better. I don’t need any of this meditation garbage. Give me something that works!

This challenge was so wild, we had two hours to storyboard, write and direct. We had to write camera directions! My first idea was Bombabe. You write it, you submit it and you move on to get into drag. Someone came back and said, “Actually, Bom. You can’t do this. It’s been copyrighted.” In the middle of getting ready I had to go back and storyboard a completely new idea.

I was very proud of you for bringing the conversation about women in drag to Canada’s Drag Race. For those who don’t know, what role do women play in drag culture and what challenges do they face?

When we walked into the workroom, I’m like: “Where are the cis women?” We owe them so much as drag queens. We do women’s songs on stage! We owe our careers to women and often in [gay] spaces, it become’s a men’s game. Even in Toronto, there are pageants and competitions that don’t let women take part.

So many people messaged me and said, “We feel seen, thank you for raising this issue.” This is an issue not just in the Canadian drag scene, but across the world. I’m really glad I got to speak out about it because we wouldn’t have heard about it otherwise. I’m not just a pretty face!

You’re barely a pretty face!

Barely? BARELY?? I hate you.

I hate you, too!

Great.

Okay, let’s talk about something positive. You brought Indian culture to the competition at every turn, from your goddess look to the Holi look you showed this week. What has the response been from the Indian and South Asian diaspora?

Wow, you used an SAT word. Diaspora! You should be proud of yourself. Are you a writer or something? Good for you!

A lot of people back home, not just in India, but people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal—the South Asian diaspora—when they saw me on Drag Race, they saw someone who grew up in one of these countries, moved to a different country and now is living their gay fantasy. They were like, “If this idiot can do it, mama, maybe I have a chance as well.” Which is exactly what I want people to take from me.

There was no way I could do it without paying homage to where I come from. And the reaction to the looks has been so heartwarming.

Okay, I have one more question for you.

What is it?

Say three nice things about me.

About you?! Three nice things about Russ Martin. Russ is an adequate friend. That’s one. Two, Russ has the uncanny ability to make people look good when they stand next to him. He’s a lovely prop! Three, Russ, um. Oh. Can I get back to you on that? I’m blanking.

You can get back to me. That’s it! I do want to say I’m proud of you and your run on the show. I love you!

Love you too, Russ.

Lito Howse (they/them) is a queer and trans/non-binary identified videographer, editor and producer based in Toronto. They previously worked for the CBC where they wrote TV stories, edited and control room produced for News Network. They also produced videos for CBC Radio and wrote web articles for shows like The Current and As It Happens, among other roles. They speak English.

Russ Martin is a writer whose work has been published in Flare, the Toronto Star, The Walrus, and NewNowNext. He lives in Toronto.

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