Getting Freaky with Ben & Glen
Do you remember the drag trio The Fabulous Freaks? Imperial Court of Toronto honourees Amanda, Sylvia and Felicia (aka Glen, Ben, and Mark) could turn any room into an instant party that was as classy as they could be trashy, making a name for themselves for fifteen years until 2010 when Felicia passed away at age 39.
If Felicia were able to see you now, what do you think she’d say?
SYLVIA (aka Ben McGuire): Felicia was a KOOK and would have A LOT to say… I know she’d say “You’re doing Wynona AGAIN?” But all you had to do was keep a drink in front of her and wait until she passed out… then the world would be happy again.
AMANDA (aka Glen Haskin ): If anything he would say why aren’t you doing drag anymore? I don’t have a good answer for that other than I don’t have the energy at the moment, I’m waiting on a kidney transplant and doing dialysis three times a week till i get set-up to do it at home.
What has changed with drag since you started?
SYLVIA : Drag constantly changes… which is a great thing… the only thing that I have a problem with is when a queen has to go up and do 4, 5 sometimes 6 numbers in a row. I like doing 1 or 2, then bring on someone else so I can change my look….. doing a “concert” ruins the visual aspect of drag that I like so much.
AMANDA: I haven’t been in the scene for a while, but there are so many queens, and I find they are not always kind and or helpful to each other.
What’s the hardest creative challenge you’ve faced in your career?
SYLVIA : Creativity is always, for me, a collaborative thing…. I like brainstorming with others… but sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen…lol. But being part of The Freaks for so many years helped me to work with others but I DID have to learn to listen to other peoples ideas.
AMANDA: Well the hardest challenge i have faced would be my health issues. I have not done drag in a few years. Due to HIV and kidney issues. I do miss it a great deal. i hope to get back t it at some point, and hope I’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Aside from you, who are the hardest working queens in our community and why?
SYLVIA : Anyone who has the guts to get on stage gets kudos from me, but I am constantly impressed by Miss Conception. She deserves every bit of the success. She works so hard for it.
AMANDA: I’ve been out of the scene for so long I don’t know a lot of the new queens and I don’t want to offend any of them. So I’ll just mention a few that I know are very hard workers and seem to love what they do. Amanada Roberts, Donnarama, Sofonda Cox, Miss Conception, Georgie Girl, and Michelle DuBarry. There are so many new girls I enjoy watching and don’t know all of their names like Devine Darling, Jada Hudson, Jade Elektra, Scarlett BoBo and I cant forget my sister in crime Sylvia. I miss performing with her and Felicia very much. I’m sorry if i didn’t mention your name, you are all wonderful in your own way.
Anyone you’d consider a Drag Mother, children?
SYLVIA : No drag mom (though Georgie Girl calls me her daughter for some reason…lol) or drag children, but I get what it’s all about. I never started a ‘family’ but I do have TONS of ‘sisters’!
AMANDA: I did not have a drag mother but Georgie Girl gladly took over the role (laughs). As for drag children, I don’t take responsibility for any (laughs). Mind you, I have helped quite a few girls over the years with their make up, clothes and music choices.
Boxers, briefs or panties?
SYLVIA : Doing drag has ruined panties for me… for life!
AMANDA: Jock straps and comando.
Feature photo: Sylvia
Group photo: The Fabulous Freaks
Image above: Amanda
About the Author
Raymond Helkio is an author, director and award-winning filmmaker. As a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design he cofounded The Reading Salon and is a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project. Find him on Facebook.