By David Cutting, with original photography by Chase Hansen
VANCOUVER — Mila Dramatic takes to the stage with such confidence and joy that the crowd can’t help but be captivated by her raw magnetism. This is no doubt the result of years of dance training with a general inclination towards being an entertainer. In 2016, her second year competing, Mila went on to win the Title of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar. As the competition begins again and they seek out a new drag juggernaut, Mila gets to fill a seat as a judge; another role she can add to her glistening drag resume.
Known for her dramatic (obviously) well thought out performances, Mila shares: “I have never faked my way through a performance. I like to have the structure, I don’t want to flounder so I map out every little detail. Dance is just so crowd-pleasing, and fills the gaps in songs so nicely.” Her life as a dancer influences this greatly. She elaborates, “I live a very structured life. I am in school for dance. I dance seven hours most days, go home, stretch, work, sleep, then do it again. Because I practice so much I have to have good habits. I have to eat well, and train. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. Dancing is so much fun I can’t imagine not doing it.”
It is no doubt that the joy that Mila brings to the stage is one of the factors that won her the title of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar 2016. She is quick to elaborate on exactly what it is about drag she loves. “I love that I get to pretend to be famous. Lip syncing to songs by famous people gives you a chance to channel global superstars. It’s like being a drag queen makes you an instant celebrity, it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.” She follows with, “I also like that it gender bends. I love that I get to be a woman and a man and everything in between. I love how Grannie Annie (my grandmother) calls me beautiful now because she is not sure if ‘Handsome’ fully describes me.”
Drag seems glamorous but it can be very uncomfortable and weird at times. Every drag queen can point out what is hard about drag and Mila is no exception, quipping “I would say tucking, but I don’t tuck, I would say nails but I have only ever worn them twice. Maybe wig hairs getting in my mouth? NO! The worst is the moment when you’re frantically getting ready, and you walk through your room and see all the receipts littering the floor. I always get this pang of regret where it all just feels so pointless and wasteful and I wonder what it’s all about… but then I go out and everybody is so loving, and I just LIVE!”
“Drag is hard! It’s so multi-faceted and you’ve got to master so many different elements to pull it off well. And the Vancouver drag market is saturated so the bar is high. Doing drag now is like facing the titans, you have to be ready.” She speaks from experience here having run a tight race for the crown in last year’s competition, but she is also lovely and quick with valuable advice. “Take care and practice every part of your drag. Drag is a lot of work, don’t be afraid to practice at home to get acquainted with finer details of your drag character.” She digresses, “I will be exploring the whole time I do drag, I will never stop learning.”
We are excited to see where Mila takes herself, which stages she death drops on, which queens she helps nurture and where she takes her drag as she evolves and reaches for her own renaissance. Once a title holder, always a title holder.BC, British Columbia, drag, LGBT, Mila Dramatic