Heroine is a Toronto based drag queen taking the internet by storm with her new YouTube series, Heroine’s Dinner Party! She is a former Drag Idol and Queen of Halloween winner who has been performing in drag for just over ten years now. Heroine has established herself as a camp queen who has been influenced by queens like Coco Peru, Jackie Beat, and her drag mother, (WERRRK.com 2016’s Queen of the Great White North) Miss Conception. Her YouTube series will showcase her campy style. I sat down and asked Heroine some questions so we could get to know her better, as well as to gain more background on her YouTube series.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you discover drag and go on to form your own drag identity?
I discovered drag in my second year of university. I was a few months short of my 19th birthday but was able to get a fake I.D. and sneak into bars in Toronto. I was newly out and had never been in a drag bar before so some girlfriends in my dorm dragged me (no pun intended) out for a night. Thankfully, I was attending Ryerson University here in Toronto for Journalism, and my dorm was two blocks away from Church Street, Toronto’s LGBTQ Village. When we walked in, the show had already begun and I remember seeing a performer on stage wearing cow print and a blonde wig. She appeared a bit intoxicated and her movements were slow. I turned to one of my friends and jokingly said ‘I can do that!’ When I returned to my dorm later that night I began to YouTube (which was still in its early stages) ‘drag’ and spent the next few hours learning the history. I ended up sleeping through my alarm and missing my morning class, but it was worth it. Watching the videos really ignited something inside me. I attended a Catholic high school and didn’t take a chance in joining the drama club out of fear it would out me or make me a target. So I found solace in the writer’s craft classes offered. But I craved the theatrics as well and realized drag could be the outlet for this.
My first time in Drag was Halloween 2007. I dressed as Marilyn Monroe in a white dress and underneath has small crabs attached to me as called myself ‘The Seven Year Itch.’ I didn’t have a name just yet. As an Italian I thought I should play up my hairiness and call myself ‘Hairlyn’, but then I thought about it more and axed it. I chose ‘Heroine’ as a name because it wasn’t usual. It was unique. And I wanted to embody all the strong heroines I grew up watching on television and in film. Marks was added as a last name as a joke, and just this past few months I’ve been slowly dropping it.
Over the past ten years, I found my favorite personalities to impersonate have been Lucille Ball and Karen Walker/Megan Mullally. I just felt the most comfortable as them, and performing as them helped me shape Heroine’s personality and voice. So I slowly became a combo of the two as a queen.
I love that! So did you start performing in bars or did you choose to go the digital route from the start?
I began in Toronto bars, which has allowed me to also travel throughout Ontario doing shows for corporate events, fundraisers, celebrations, etc. The digital route has been an idea in the making for awhile that has finally come to fruition, which I’m extremely thrilled and excited about.
Tell us all about it!
I was visiting my mom one weekend and in my old bedroom, I found scrapbooks full of scripts and pilots I had written in high school. Reading through them reminded me of how much I enjoyed writing comedy and how much I had missed it. So then I began thinking about a way to incorporate my sketch writing with my drag. I had originally planned ‘Heroine’s Dinner Party’ as a filmed sit down dinner with some of my favorite drag queen sisters where we chat over a meal about topics but I had Party games an surprises throughout the show. We’ll still be doing a version of this on the channel, but slightly different. The focus for the channel changed a few weeks later. As a day job, I work in an adult novelty store. One day I was cashing out an older gentleman who was purchasing an enema. I asked him if he’d like to purchase some cleaner for it. He looked at me and laughed and said ‘I’ll just put it in the dishwasher. What my dinner guests don’t know won’t hurt them.’ After feeling pretty disgusted by his response, it did spark an idea. What if I do cooking segments with sex toys? As I played around with it, the channel took on a bigger focus and direction. We’d parody lifestyle and cooking shows in ways you wouldn’t expect. For instance, our first release in the ‘cooking section’ of the channel is written as sex education disguised as a cooking show. There will be episodes like our first, but we will be doing other forms of cooking and baking that won’t have sexual innuendos.
That’s the best! Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I hope the readers take a moment to check out our first video and give it a like and subscribe. We’ll be releasing the second episode very soon and have a lot of crazy antics planned for the channel. We’ll be cooking, baking, mixing cocktails, doing my take on fitness, commercial parodies, PSAs, and so much more. I just began writing classes at The Second City training center in Toronto, so I’m excited to see how it will help me apply it to the scripts and performances I produce for the channel. I’m very fortunate to be working on this project with two amazing friends, my director Andres Ignacio Torres, and editor Nathan Stewart who will also be helping to write and eventually appear on the channel as his own drag persona, Chansa Showers. ‘Heroine’s Dinner Party’ is the lifestyle show you didn’t know you need and where you never know what you’ll be served.
Where can we find you online?
You can check me out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under Heroine Marks, Toronto’s Best Housewife Without A Husband!
Give Heroine a follow and subscribe to her YouTube channel for more!
One small brushfire away from completing the Serial Killer Triad, Haley is a hell-raising college student and sports journalist. Calling the suburbs of the gayest city in America home, she's sure to bring it to you every ball.