Canadian drag queen Brooke Lynn Hytes slays the stage at The Turret

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Photo by Jade Hosick

She sashayed, she shantayed and she was a panther on that stage last night. 

On Sept. 23, Laurier hosted a drag show featuring drag queens from the KW region and special guest, runner up in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11, Brooke Lynn Hytes. 

From the moment you stepped into The Turret, the energy was something to behold. It appeared that Brooke Lynn Hytes had captured the attention of people from all walks of life on the Laurier campus. Everyone who was waiting in line to get in and everyone who was sitting and ready to go was allowed to be one hundred per cent themselves without fear of judgement. 

The show started off with the introduction of the host for the evening, Miss Drew, a queen from the Tri-Cities with over 20 years of experience, lip-syncing to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Miss Drew immediately grabbed the attention of the crowd as she sang towards different people within the audience.

In her second set of the evening, she entered the stage in a ball gown wearing a tiara. Miss Drew discussed how all of her tips would be going towards three charities around the KW Region. She asked a young man to come up on stage to sing a song and a large amount of people came forward to bring up tips for him. This part of the show was one of my favourites, as it showed that people can really make a difference in the world.

After Miss Drew’s entrance, she introduced the next queen to grace the stage: Divinesque, a former Miss Gay Toronto, who now works around the Tri-City area. Her invitation of three young men to join her on stage for her song “You Think You’re a Man,” a classic by now-deceased drag queen Divine, got the crowd hyped and energetic. Her second set featured “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and during this performance the entire crowd was singing along and dancing with the amazing queen. 

The next queen to grace the stage was Regina West, a relatively new queen, who was able to hold the attention of the crowd as she danced to Katy Perry’s “Roar.” 

The moment finally came where Brooke Lynn Hytes made her way on stage for her performance of “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato, the song from the iconic lip sync on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11, which featured a double “shantay” (safe) between Hytes and the eventual season winner, Yvie Oddly.

She gave a similar performance to what she did on RuPaul’s Drag Race that involved a spin while removing one wig in favour of another, and ended in a bikini which hid underneath the poncho that she started the song in.

She then performed “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion, definitely making up for her snatch game performance of the Canadian artist. 

The Q and A at the end was probably the best part. Brooke Lynn answered all questions – some funny, like when she revealed that fellow Drag Race contestant Nina West had to do her elimination walk a total of four times while bawling her eyes out (it’s funny now, but probably not so much then). 

Some questions were more serious, like the moment where one girl asked how she should come out to her parents. Brooke Lynn really thought and gave her genuine advice, creating a space where the girl was loved and accepted by everyone in the room, while noting that if parents do not approve, LGBTQ+ people have the opportunity to make their own families. 

As RuPaul always says, “Love is love is love,” and that was the atmosphere embraced in The Turret last night. 

Before she left the stage, Brooke Lynn asked to make this a yearly event – so my fingers are crossed that she will be returning in the near future. 

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