With 18 years of drag experience under her star-studded belt, Anastarzia Anaquway has accomplished a lot. The reigning Miss Black Continental at Large has been the winner of more than 15 pageants, including Miss Styles Bahamas, Miss Canada International and Miss Gay Toronto.
And while the aforementioned accolades would likely be enough for most to hang their proverbial hats on, Anastarzia’s unrelenting ambition and drive to compete recently landed her a spot on the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race.
Born in the Bahamas and currently residing in East York, Ontario, Anastarzia’s style is heavily influenced by both her Caribbean roots and the vast diversity she’s come to love within Canada’s drag scene.
We recently had a chance to chat with the charismatic Caribbean queen ahead of the Canada’s Drag Race premiere on July 2, who filled us in on what it was like to film the landmark season and provided some perspective on how Pride season might look in a post-pandemic Canada.
How did you feel when you found out you'd be competing on Canada's Drag Race?
When I found out I was competing on season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race I was ecstatic. I don’t think that there are any words to truly describe my exact feeling, but I will sum it up with "ecstatic"!
Why do you think the Canadian drag scene is worth taking note of?
Because I’m from the Bahamas, I was introduced to drag on a completely different level. From then to now, I can say that the drag scene in the Bahamas has definitely grown. When I came to Canada, I was introduced to a completely different world of drag. Every single style of drag is represented in Canada and it speaks to the diversity that is Canada.
Was the filming process for Canada's Drag Race everthing you imagined?
The filming process was nothing like what I imagined. We went in expecting one thing and it always turned out to be something completely different. I don’t think there is anything that can truly prepare anyone for what to expect when filming Canada’s Drag Race. We don’t know if there are going to be other seasons, but I can tell you that you don’t want to miss season 1.
What does Pride season look like for you in the current landscape?
We’re doing everything virtually now and there are some negatives to that, but let’s focus on the positives: we are still celebrating who we are as a people and as individuals, we are still embracing diversity and everything that is LGBTQ2, even though we’re confined to our homes.
Why do you think it is important for people to engage with and participate in Pride season?
I think it’s important for all of us to engage with and participate in Pride season because it speaks to the nature of what it means to be Canadian and it helps each of us to expand as inclusive individuals and build a community of acceptance.
You currently reside in East York, but you also spend a lot of time performing in Toronto. What are some of your favourite places to go for food and drinks in the GTA?
There are so many choices for dinner in Toronto but there is one restaurant that I absolutely, positively love, and that’s Reds Wine Tavern. I’m the type of person who loves to eat, so I need to start off with an appetizer; they have an artichoke dip that is absolutely amazing. For the main course, I usually go for their steak--well done, of course, and almost burnt.