It’s near the halfway mark of Canada’s Drag Race, which means that it’s time for the popular challenge, the Snatch Game, which aired Nov. 4. Unfortunately, it also means a queen will leave after giving their all in the Snatch Game, and this time, that queen was Suki Doll.
Suki spoke to Shadow and Act about what it was like to participate in Snatch Game, saying it was a mesh of every talent Drag Race girls are expected to have.
“Snatch Game is so nerve-wracking because Snatch Game is a cross of all of our abilities as a drag queen– to do comedy, to do the imitation of an actress or a celebrity,” she said. “There’s just so many things that goes into it. It was very [anxiety-inducing] and it was very long. You know [like] one of those presentations that you’re nervous about and you feel like one minute’s an hour? It was like that.”
“Just to see each other’s eyes, the fear…everyone is just scrambling and not sure,” she said about the feelings she and the other queens had in the workroom before Snatch Game. “…And we were also feeling the ecstasy of the moment. It’s more like anxiety, like more stress and more excitement. So it’s just euphoria at the end of the day…and [emotions are] all mixed up…It’s just a roller coaster of emotions.”
Suki was one of the queens making up this season’s majority-minority cast. During the Snatch Game episode, Suki talked about what it was like to be a representation for the Asian LGBTQ community, a community that often doesn’t see itself in the media.
“Well, you know what, it’s a beautiful way to put it in the sense that I got the chance to have a platform [that] other queer people of my community, the API [community], are going to be able to relate to,” she said. “I put a little bit more responsibility [on myself], a little bit more of that pressure to be sure that a represent them properly and also not to–I don’t like to use this word–but like to disappoint anybody.”
“You know, we have a tough year for all of our communities that mostly have the BIPOC, and we want to be sure that, you know, we elevated this year and we also represented properly so that we have a representation that’s just,” she continued. “And also [have representation] that we’re proud look forward for. And I think it was a good job. Snatch Game might not represent it, but overall I’d been respectful…of our communities out there. So I think it was good. It was a good representation.”
During the Untucked portion of the episode, Suki also brought up the reason why she doesn’t let the ups and downs of the competition get to her. She said during the episode how her upbringing shaped her to see everything as an opportunity. She talked more about that philosophy to Shadow and Act, saying how it’s a philosophy many people of color have.
“I think that philosophy helped me throughout my whole life, just because…basically I come from a background that [didn’t have much]…because we are migrants to the place where we started from scratch [and] we lose everything that we have owned,” she said. “So for me to have a fighting chance, it’s already [a ]winning chance. To have a fighting chance and complain about it is [to] not use it. So for me, I [use] the metaphor of having like a short stick in comparison. So when you have a short stick, you have a stick to fight. Some people in life have the privilege of having the longer stick in life and the opportunities that you don’t necessarily get.”
“But in coming from the projects, some people don’t even have a stick to fight with, they don’t even have a fighting chance. So for us to have a fighting chance and to not use it, to complain about it, that’d be whining about it. It’s just not in my reality,” she continued. “My reality is that you have a fighting chance, so you use it…realize this is a fighting chance. You have the chance, so you use it. It doesn’t always have to be positive, or [involve] putting yourself in the best light or putting your best skillsets [forward, but] you have it. Like, shut up and go for it. That’s what I grew up [with] and me and my friends, all my friends of color, this is what we have as a chance, so we’re using it…[There’s] always a positive outcome, it’s just how you take your perspective on it.”
She also said how her Drag Race strategy was to keep competing against herself.
“The strategy is to do your absolute best and outshine your own self. Because for me, it was not to [say] ‘I need to be better than others.’ I need to be better than myself, of course, and to be aware of my surroundings,” she said. “Because you can never be better than somebody if they’re masters of their own craft…[The competition] is to better yourself and outshine in your own way. So my approach to the competition was to always find my uniqueness and to outshine the others with my uniqueness and not try to outshine the others at their own game.”
Overall, Suki is happy with her performance on the show, which shocked her as she entered the workroom for the first time.
“It’s so shocking because you get to see behind the scenes, so that’s great, but it’s also destabilizing because you always see an edited scene at home,” she said. “And then when you get on set, it is a set at the end of the day. So you see the background and things like that. So… you don’t expect certain things and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”
“We do a lot of footage and at the end of the day, we only have so many minutes in an episode,” she continued. “So everything is very surprising in a good way. Of course, and everything is just like, you know, it’s pending. So you’re waiting to see what’s come. And you’re watching it live and it’s surprising. That’s the word–surprising.”
The sisterhood between her and the other contestants was also a welcome addition to a life that has been altered by the two years in between production and the season’s debut.
“You know what? I think it was something we all [developed] in the two years [between production], that we had that closeness and can also…support each other and get through things together,” she said. “It’s a competition at the end of the day, but it doesn’t have to be feisty. I can be shady, of course but that’s what our community should be about–the support that we give to each other.
“I think a lot of the time we forget that [but] the two years reminded us that we are here for the support system and even though we’re competing. So we’re competing and still helping each other out–It’s very Canadian, I guess,” she added with a laugh.
Working with head judge Brooke Lynn Hytes was also a positive experience for Suki, thanks to Hytes’ own experience as a Drag Race contestant.
“I believe her background is so varied and. The fact that she was a contestant before, she has that perspective that Ru doesn’t have necessarily,” she said. “RuPaul is the host of the show, but she’s never competed in the show. So having Brook Lynn mentor us through a certain part of it [made the show] easier to navigate. I’m not saying easier than Ru, [but] it’s just [about] trust.”
“She has the experience of living through it, so she has that empathy that is a little bit different also,” she continued. “I don’t know, again, about RuPaul because I didn’t work with her, but with Brook Lynn, that’s the advantage we got and I think it’s a positive thing. We believe in her credentials and we believe in her experience and her professionalism. So it was just a plus.”
Similar to Suki’s personal philosophy, her experience on the show taught her about the importance of self-trust.
“I think the biggest lesson I got out of this is to trust yourself no matter what and have that resilience, because you know how you forget yourself [when you venture] into drag and new art forms, testing things, and you forget that you were meant to do those things in the first place. That’s why you were driven to it,” she said. “So it’s to trust yourself and to trust every step that you take and every decision, also. Once you make that decision to really go for it, [do] not be reluctant. Once you make a decision and you don’t commit to it, I mean, that’s the worst. I mean, even if not the best decision, like Snatch Game, you still have to, and that’s what I did. And that’s what I was really proud about.”
She also wants her platform post-Drag Race to be about inclusivity and respect.
“I don’t know what I can do because we will discover it all together. But I hope that I’ll [create] a place like a safe haven for artists and people who are in the [drag] artform and the audience who go to that platform,” she said. “We have a human side to this artistry, so I just want the platform to be humane in the sense that people can empathize and can understand all the emotions that goes behind it also. We get to share personally with people our feelings and what we go through and things like that. So I hope that people are sensitive to our emotions as artists and if there are people who are sensitive in the world, it is artists. The mean comments do not have a place in our community, so I just want [my] platform to reflect that.”
Canada’s Drag Race airs Thursdays on WOW Presents Plus.