The Art of Drag: Interview with Freida Whales
We connected with Kelowna’s Freida Whales at 2018’s Arts BC conference, and dreamed of collaborating with them when Salmon Arm’s first PRIDE festival was just a glimmer in our eyes. Zoom ahead to 2020 and The Salmon Arm Arts Centre’s Family Saturdays @ Home program seemed like the perfect fit and reason to connect with Ms. Whales. We were thrilled when Freida was willing to collaborate to help us create digital content for PRIDE.
You can watch their full episode over on @SalmonArmArtsCentre YouTubeon Saturday October 17, 2020, and tune in as they read us two stories, teach us how to make gooey slime, and wow us with three different looks!
Our resident reporter Kate Fagervik checked in with Freida, here’s what they said:When did you discover the art of drag? When did it become a business?
I discovered drag through Drag Race, season one, back in 2009. I’ve been doing drag for 3+ years now, but two years ago, I started getting more serious about it.
What does it mean to you to be a drag queen?
Through drag I can create a character - my goal is always to have fun and entertain, no matter who the audience is.
Who are your drag icons? Why?
Drag icons: Trixie Mattel, Katya, Bianca Del Rio, Lady Bunny
None of them take drag too seriously, and they’ve all turned their eccentric clown characters into a success.
What’s it like to be out in the Okanagan?
Boring… haha! For the most part, uneventful.
How old were you when you knew you were non-binary?
- It was just last year I found out that I could be, that it would be the accurate term. I always thought I was more masculine-looking but feminine-acting, and I’ve never liked being referred to as a “man”.
Tell us about your day job--why do you like working with kids?
Cause they’re hilarious!
I primarily work with kids under the age of 8, and I love how random and free they always are, in any way. And I like being there to help make sure there’s a safe space for them to learn and grow into whoever they are going to be.
Can you tell us about doing drag story time? What drew you to that offering? What obstacles have you faced? Why do kids love drag story time and drag queens?
Drag story time is a fun-filled event that everyone of any age can enjoy. There is a misconception that drag is always sexual, and that’s not the case. Drag is just another form of art, and for me, a way to express myself and the clown I am. And I was drawn to story time because I wanted a way to blend drag and working with kids, and it was an opportunity to offer a family-friendly event.
Why do kids love drag story time and drag artists… cause who doesn’t love clowns!! Everyone enjoys a more animated character, especially when they’re reading stories. Who’s more enthusiastic and dramatic than a drag queen/king/thing?
How can people connect with you? (accounts, handles, ways to book, services, etc.)
During non-pandemic times, my services include wine tours, private parties, and I’m pretty much open to all kinds of events - if someone wanted just a tour through the valley, I’d be happy to do a tour.
Currently, I’m staying pretty socially distant, but some of the COVID services I’ve been offering have included doing personalized messages and videos upon request, for members of the pod squad. I’ve also been taking part in various digital drag events.
You can support me by following all my social media and visiting my website: