Interview: Brigid Rae
Photographs: Jade Pattenden

Brigid Rae
Venus Sherwood

Favorite compliment you’ve received about yourself:

Someone dear to me recently said they admire that I actively work on bettering myself and the community around me through my own authenticity.

Drag has always been political and existed as a form of activism and resistance. Stepping into the world of drag and performance, did that have an integral part in liberating yourself from gender and social norms?

As soon as you step into the world as anything other than cis and/or heterosexual you are a form of activism and resistance. Drag has definitely liberated me in many ways, but it wasn’t the first form of liberation I felt in my life. But for some it may be that first act of resistance and that is sacred.

If it was safe to do so, would your drag persona be the you that would exist 24/7 if gender and social norms didn’t exist? 

It isn’t necessarily safe or not safe to currently do so, at least within the community I live in. As someone who identifies as 2spirit non binary the persona doesn’t ever really go away. I am both the persona and the personifier, they behave the same regardless of my external presentation. It’s an ebb and flow.

Or does it serve its purpose as a persona?

There’s definitely purpose regardless of which “persona” I decide to wear that day. There’s power in waking up and being able to be whoever you want to be, when you want to be.

How do you remain authentic to yourself and others?

I make sure to constantly check in with myself on a daily basis. I’m extremely in tune to the environments and people around me and how they may affect my authenticity or vice versa. I may ask myself: Am I being inauthentic as a form of protection or because I’m scared to be honest with myself and/or others? Can I be more authentic right now? And if not, why? Asking myself these questions helps me break down that barrier and inevitably shows authenticity which can inspire others to do the same. It’s funny seeing this question after I had answered the previous one about my favourite compliment. I guess it’s true! 😂

As an Indigenous performer have you noticed you’ve had to work twice as hard to receive recognition than your white counterparts?

No, I definitely benefit from both White passing privilege and racial ambiguity which hasn’t hindered my ability to receive recognition. But I have witnessed that struggle amongst my friends who are visibly Indigenous and it’s a byproduct of colonialism that favours White bodies. Performers should only be assessed on their skill level, their ability to connect with an audience, and how C.U.N.T. they are.

What's been the true power of drag and performance for you?

I find power in being able to see just how much I am able to do. Drag has instilled a confidence in me like no other and has shown me that I AM capable of the things I thought were impossible. Drag and performance has also allowed me to connect with people. With people who see themselves within me. And has even inspired people to do what I do. It has given me a voice within this community and ultimately within the world to express myself the way I wish to be heard.

Using our latest collections campaign as a mode, we interviewed and photographed 6 people here within our Vancouver community. These voices are loud, these voices and bodies are bold, these bodies and voices are tired, they're grieving, they’re healing, they’re celebrating, they’re resilient, and they’re a conduit for change, each on their own trajectory to see a change and shift in power.

Each person that spoke with us selected a charity to support. Venus has selected The Dogwood Monarchist Society. If you are able and choose to make a contribution (big or small), email us your receipt to and receive a 20% off discount code between October 1–6.