By David Cutting and Chase Hansen
VANCOUVER — Jane Smoker is a drag force of nature. She has been there and fucking done that. When she walks onto the stage, the crowd screams. We have seen her a thousand times and we still come back for more. If you are even minutely familiar with the Vancouver Drag community, you’ll have heard her name. Her performances are breathtaking, and the effort and heart she puts into them are what has brought this queen to the top.
Blonde ambition is Jane’s game. Having performed on every stage in this city, from her humble beginnings at Mr/Miss Cobalt in 2012, Jane Smoker has made herself into a consumable commodity. This year, Jane published a book of her own drag selfies, a feat that other queens marvel at. “When you first break into the scene, you’re going to be intimidated because there are a lot of BIG personalities and names that you’ll admire and look up to and feel like you’ll never attain anything close to their level, but it’s possible,” Jane says, as we talk about advice she would give to young performers. “Confidence is everything because unfortunately no one is going to hold your hand and no one is going to hand you opportunities. I’ve always said since day one, ‘be the star you think you are.’ You have to get out there, show them what you got even if that means working for free for a year. Show people why you belong. There is always a spot for you.”
Even in her rich white woman demure, she gushes about community. “We all share this bond of being a part of the local LGBTQ2 umbrella and while we don’t necessarily have a best friendship with absolutely everyone, you know that in the time of need, any (if not every) member of the community would be there for one of there own in a time of need,” Jane maintains. “Every member of the community is a different piece to the puzzle whether you are a drag queen, DJ, promoter, bartender, artist, or even just a regular bar patron. Everyone is integral to making the scene rich with different characters, personalities, talents and most importantly lessons that we can all learn from each other, both young and older.”
Jane’s list of accolades is a mile long, with numerous monthly and weekly shows under her belt, including a guest spot at Micky’s (a really hot drag venue in Los Angeles) and her role in the Spice Gurls as Posh. She even won the title of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar in 2015. Her current shows are a huge draw for people — PLAYBOY is her monthly at XY and BRATPACK is her weekly at Junction, the latter of which she shares with three of her drag sisters.
“Drag is not easy and no one knows what we go through except other drag queens,” says Jane. “A true drag sister is someone who will keep you inspired, motivated and confident when it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They teach you and in turn you teach them back. On a lighter note, what’s more fun than going dress shopping as a group of dudes?”
Our addiction for Jane isn’t going away any time soon and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She says we have a stand up show to look forward to, a contest for a new BRATPACK member coming, and, of course, new evolutions in her style. We’ve seen the bra and panty phase, we loved the stripper phase, we’re enjoying the current affluent-rich-sometimes-high-fashion phase, but what’s next? Guess we will have to feed our craving and see.
Jane Smoker performs with BRATPACK on Thursdays at the Junction; at the BRATPACK Halloween Special on October 27 at the Junction; PLAYBOY on October 15 at XY; HELL at Sweet Pup Studios on October 28; and STRANGER QUEENS at XY on October 29.BC, British Columbia, drag, Jane Smoker, LGBT