CAM4 Interviews Toronto’s Viral Drag Queen – Sofonda Cox
Toronto-based drag queen, Sofonda Cox, has gone VIRAL with her “This is Me” video, inspired by the movie The Greatest Showman. Being a drag queen for over 17 years, Sofonda has the beauty and the brains to know what goes down in show business. So what does this queen have to say in our exclusive CAM4 interview with her? Read below to find out!z
Tell me us a bit about yourself
My stage name is Sofonda Cox ( IG sofondacoxto) and Ive been doing the art of drag/ female impersonation for about 17 + years now. I am originally from the Philippines, but I have lived in Canada most of my young life 😊
When was the moment you realized that you wanted to be a drag queen?
The first time I realized I wanted to perform as a drag queen was when I first saw one on stage performing. It was at Woody’s, Canada’s most popular gay men’s bar, in the heart of the Church-Wellesley village. Watching these Glamazons perform on stage gave me life. It was inspiring.
How has being a drag queen changed since you first started?
17 years ago we really didnt have much social media, so people had to go out to the bars to meet people and see the drag shows. Drag was not as mainstream as it was today. The clubs were attended by the thousands in larger venues and the drag shows were elaborate. There wasn’t paPaul Drag Race so you really had to look up to the Hollywood Starlets for inspiration and no YouTube tutorials for make up, so you had to learn mostly on your own.
Do you think social media played a big part in making drag queens as popular as they are now?
Of course social media has played a huge role on making drag queens popular. The popularity of the show Rupaul’s Drag Race has brought drag into mainstream media influencing not only fashion but lingo or slang as well. For example, sayings like Y”AAAASSSSS” or “SICKENING!!!” HALELLOOOOO !!!
Walk us through your routine before a show, and what you do to get ready
I always make sure I have at least between 2 to 2.5 hours to prep before stepping on stage. First hour is shower and shaving everything. Second hour is blocking the eyebrows and make up, the last step is getting the hip pads on and the full outfit on. Then I call the uber.
Do you feel like your ethnicity made it hard for you to come out and do what you love?
Yes my ethnicity did make it difficult for me to come out of the closet. I went to a catholic school and was born from traditional catholic parents who frowned upon anything gay or homosexual. It was definitely tough.
Was everyone accepting when you told them you wanted to do drag?
My sisters were very supportive and even came to my shows to show support. As long as I wasn’t doing anything illegal they were fine with it.
You’ve had a lot of success over the past few years, especially with your videos going viral. Tell us what that’s been like for you
Having people appreciate your work is undeniably the best thing I could ask for. Money is wonderful but it doesnt compare to the appreciation people have of your work. So I was overwhelmed by going viral and was rewarded by several trips that took me to Brazil because of it, and basically all over the world. When Rupaul, herself, approves and comments on your work, it something else. It felt wonderful.
Tell us about your experience working on Queer as Folk. It was such a controversial show at that time. Do you think it would do well if they brought it back?
I loved working on QAF – Queer As Folk- It felt like hollywood was in our backyard. It help put Toronto’s gay scene on the map because not only did they use our queens and people. They also used the venues that made our village popular. For instance, Woodys/ Sailors and Fly2.0 as Babylon. They totally should do a remake with a new cast. The more visibility for our community, the better.
Do you have any big plans for 2018 ?
2018 – I plan to travel a lot more. I already have bookings worked out which includes our very own Pride Weekend, one of the largest in the world. I will also be performing in Houston, Texas Pride, which is exciting to name a few. On the travelling horizon I have Puerto Vallarta ( aka gay Mexico), Chicago, LA, Las Vegas, and Houston so far in the next few months. Hopefully landing on some sort of reality show. We’ll see.
What were your aspirations growing up, and who’s inspiring your looks now?
My aspiration for growing up was generally to live a happy and fulfilled life and taking care of my family. I grew up with icons like Madonna, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, JLO, and of course, BEYONCE. I started the art of drag at the inception of Destiny’s Child. Thats what really molded my persona. Artists who danced and gave lavish performances. Coincidentally, it’s what you see from me right now.
With your busy schedule, do you find it hard to find someone to settle down with?
Oh babe, I am not looking to settle down with anyone at this time. I have had 3 three and a half year relationships. You need time and effort and dedication for relationships. It’s a lot of work lol. Right now, I’ll focus on me and we’ll see if love comes to me later. At this time I ain’t looking for it. I am however, open for Mr Right Now but not yet for MR RIGHT.
What do you like most about performing?
When putting together a show, the end product when it comes together and when we perform a piece is fulfilling. It’s the little things that I appreciate in life. Things that make me feel good inside.
Do you have a memorable fan experience that you could share with us?
Whats amazing about social media is that you get to reach people from around the world. I get many emails and text messages from people congratulating and one in particular said that what I do has INSPIRED them to do better in terms of performances. We sometimes forget that when we are on a stage or a platform we instantly become a model for someone, somewhere, who you definitely inspire. We can only hope that we inspire them with good things.
Where did you learn to do your hair/makeup – did you have a mentor when your first started?
Oh my. Make up for me is an on going learning experience. Our community of queens in Toronto are good at lending a helping hand or sharing some tips. It’s up to you to create your own look. Believe me I didn;t look so hot back then, oh my, and I still need make up work right now. We always learn and that’s also what’s fun about make up. You get to create and try new things every time.
What are your thoughts on the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race – Do you think it’s helped the drag community?
The success of Rupaul’s Drag race has brought out everyone’s inner drag queen. It’s wonderful. It gives the mainstream audiences [a glimpse into] what it’s like to be in a drag queens shoes, even if it’s just a glimpse. It has definitely contributed to the BOOM of new up and coming queens in the city. We have so many new ones in our city. It’s fabulous.
If you could say one thing to RuPaul to get on the show, what would it be?
If I could say one thing to Rupaul to get me on the show, it would be please pay for my visa lol jk. I would say “THIRD TIME’S A CHARM!” Hope she approves and I love her.
Watch Sofonda Cox’s “This is Me” video here!
Check out Sofonda’s Facebook page!
Follow her on Twitter!
Scroll through her feed on Instagram!
Featured Image by Jamo Best
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