Scarlett BoBo on Drag, Family and Taking Risks
If Kristen Chenoweth and Megan Hilt had sexual relations, the off-spring might be a lot like Toronto’s Scarlett Bobo.
“The most positive change is that drag has evolved into such a beautiful art form… You have bearded queens, glamour queens, bio queens, goth queens and everything in between and they’re all melting together and creating this gorgeous weird, queer, messy, fucked up painting that is just the most beautiful thing.”
–Scarlett BoBo –
After a decade in the business she’s been witness to the shift in how information technology has shaped drag as an art form. “Drag has become main stream which is good, but also not so good. I started drag before YouTube and Drag Race so really the only way to figure out what you were doing was with the help of your sisters and your drag family. Now you can learn how to cut your crease in seven different ways over twenty-five different make up tutorials.”
While BoBo doesn’t consider herself to be a great drag mother she’s quick to note that she’s been mentoring Miss Violet Dreams since she started, in addition to Brandi Champaign and Atmos Fierce. Her drag family is extensive in that she has a drag mother, grandmother and step-mom. “Tenora BoBo was the one who started me off in drag about ten years ago in Ottawa with the permission of Ginette BoBo who ruled over all the BoBo’s. I was a holy hot mess. The hottest sloppiest mess you’ve ever seen but I still slayed. I was a walking, talking tragedy, but the good thing was I couldn’t get worse so I just kept going. Then I met Heroine Marks in Toronto and she took me under her wing and helped me out when I moved here. I definitely wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am if it wasn’t for them. It really did take a village to get my shit together.”
When it comes to surviving the highly completive world of drag, BoBo’s advice is, “Do not. And I fucking repeat. Do not take everything so seriously! It may seem like the end of the world, but just have fun! Don’t think about it. Do what you do best and ignore everyone else. People will hate on you if you’re successful and laugh at you when you’re not. It’s a lose, lose situation, but only if you allow it. Find your family and your friends. Don’t be afraid of succeeding. Be amazing and try new things. Oh, and be nice to your sisters because sometimes you’re gonna be an asshole to them, but then you’ll realize how much you need them to catch you when you fall down.”
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.