Some of My Most Favourite People
Donnarama and Mamarama
I love Donnarama, there I said it. Years ago I asked her to work for an event that I was doing for what back then was Dominion grocery stores. She wasn’t as well known as she is now, but I knew of her and thought she was really unique. She showed up to the event on roller blades, dressed in some flashy disco outfit, cracking one joke after another just as we were saying our hellos. I was in love.
Since then we have worked together on a number of projects, I would call her one of the most dependable drag artists, always game for whatever insane look or idea I want her to do, and really gets in there with you and gets creative. Because see, different and unique ideas get Donnarama’s juices flowing (I can hear her cracking up at the last line lol), because she is really truly an artist who gets excited about new challenges.
I have had Donnarama on a number of covers of both our PinkPlayMags and theBUZZ magazines. I had her part of a couple of photo essays, she has written blogs and columns for our mags, and I have invited her to perform at a number of events and parties over the years.
Vince, is funny and kind, and his alter ego Donnarama is a few notches funnier, but much crazier and wilder.
Then I met Donnarama’s mother. And I fell in love again. I love seeing a mom who’s this supportive of her son, especially if your son happens to run around the village in bustiers and jump on TTC buses in fishnet stockings. Many in the community who frequent the village establishments have seen Rose around, and have experienced her love for the community. Now Rose has launched a photo book of the career of Donnarama. So let’s start our chat at that note.
Rose, tell us about the book, what is it called and what brought this project about?
Rose: The book is called, 20 Years DONNARAMA: A Tribute by Mamarama. Vince’s birthday was Jan. 20th and I was thinking of what gift to get him, 2017 is also 20 years of him performing in the entertainment industry so I wanted to get him something unique. I was going through all his pictures, articles, interviews and everything he has done, and it hit me to put everything in a tribute book for him. I couldn’t present it to him on his actual birthday (Jan.20th) because we had an event to attend that evening, so it was presented to him at his birthday show at the Garage on the 22nd.
Donnarama, how did you like the surprise?
It was an incredible surprise and delight, I was overwhelmed I have been performing, writing and vogueing for 20 years. It’s so cool and I’m so honoured to see it all come together in one retrospective. That it was a gift by my mother is encouraging and heart warming. I’m still speechless. I feel blessed and lucky.
Let’s start with Donnarama this time. Tell us about the start of drag for you, what got you into it? When did you fall in love with it, and what is drag to you personally?
Drag became another way to express myself creatively. I had been dancing on Electric Circus at the City TV building and flyering as a club kid for The Phoenix and Boots and places like that. I never thought I would do it or it didn’t occur to me to try drag out immediately. I just liked all the artist aspects and also I was very open minded and would wear anything. It was just a lot of fun. Drag to me is a creative and social outlet. I like the idea of there being an art form to bring a fantasy or creation to life, humorous commentaries on topics and politics. It’s part SNL, Alexander McQueen and Carol Burnett all in one. It’s also my workout as it keeps me fit! Mamarama has been there from the start, and I’m an incredibly grateful nine-foot daughter. Thanks MA!
Rose: I love my larger then life 9 foot daughter! lol. 10 foot with heels
Donnarama: She beast!
Rose, did you follow Vince’s career from the start? What were your thoughts when he started doing drag, and what do you hope to see for him?
Yes, I followed Vince’s career from the beginning. I would go to all his shows. From the first time I saw him perform, and up until this day, I’m always left in WOW! He is incredible and always entertaining! Never a dull moment. I’m so very proud of him. I think Donnarama needs his own TV show.
This question is for both of you. Who have been your favourite other acts locally and internationally over the years (without making anyone feel left out lol)?
Rose: It’s difficult to leave out all of the amazing performers. They are all unique to their own style and I love each and everyone of them for their individuality. If I have to pick (thanks a lot Antoine, lol) ..Donnarama (of course, lol), Sofonda Cox, Miss C, Ivory Towers, Devin Darlin’, Jada Hudson .. in no particular order and my darling Michelle DuBarry is always such a delight.
Donnarama: I really like Jackie Beat, Detox and Miss Fame on the international drag scene. Locally the list is actually endless because there are so many admirable performers, and each has their own thing going on. Sofonda, Farrah N Hyte, Robyn DeCradle Allysin Chaynes and Jasmine Black immediately come to mind, and I of course also love Michelle Dubarry.
Rose: Jasmine Black for me too Antoine.
Donnarama: NOOOOOO she’s mine!
Rose: We’ll share her.
Donnarama: Okay fine you can have her, she eats a lot though I’m warning you. I’ll take Michelle, she’s lovely and in bed by nine, hassle free!
Donnarama: Wait, wait, I forgot to mention Jade Elektra btw! She sang live at the PWA fundraiser and it was INCREDIBLE.
Well ladies we got to wrap up. Donnarama if you weren’t doing drag, what do you think you would have been doing in life?
If I wasn’t doing drag I’d probably have another focus in the arts. On the other hand I love paranormal studies, astrology, archaeology and ancient history, so I probably would’ve built a space ship. I’d be Buzz Aldrin!
Rose, what do you hope to see for Vince and for Donnarama?
I support Vince in anything he does because he has a good head on his shoulders. When he does something- he does it well. As far as what I’d like to see for Donnarama goes, Vince takes care of her and I hope to be around for a very long time to see and enjoy what my son comes up with next.
“20 Years DONNARAMA: A Tribute by Mamarama” is available in print at Glad Day Bookshop or online.
About the Author
Antoine has on numerous occasions said that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.
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