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Semi-Qualified Queens use their spotlight to illuminate the world of drag

By Leonie O’Sullivan, February 6 2024—

Synthia Kiss and Juice Boxx, hosts of Semi-Qualified Queens, left an indelible mark at Calgary’s Twisted Element last week. I had the chance to speak with them both before the dynamic duo took the stage. They expressed their excitement to meet with their fanbase, who they affectionately call the SQQ cuties. They shared their goals for the Semi-Qualified Queens LIVE tour with the Gauntlet.

“[One goal is to] meet the fans IRL. Having a podcast is so exciting, but everyone listens to podcasts privately on their own,” said Juice. “We just want to hit the road and hang out with everyone in Canada.”

Despite the colder weather, they were highly anticipating their visit to Alberta. Calgarians have built a strong reputation for sharing their joyous love with visiting queens. 

“We love their love of drag. We feel like Alberta just goes nuts for drag queens,” said Juice. 

“No shade, but I find some cities where they don’t get a queen every single night of the week — they show up, they bring the energy, and they bring the fun,” said Synthia. 

Juice participated in the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race, while Synthia appeared in season two. Although neither claimed the crown, they forged strong connections with Canadian viewers.

“We chose the name Semi-Qualified Queens as kind of a cheeky self-deprecating joke because we both didn’t win our seasons, and we’re not on the main franchise of RuPaul’s Drag Race. We can speak to a lot of what the Drag Race experience is, but only a little bit, like we’re semi-qualified to talk about it,” said Synthia. 

“And it also kind of saves us when we like, spread misinformation or say something completely wrong. It’s an amazing loophole,” Juice jokingly added. 

Juice and Synthia use the platform they have received since Drag Race to uplift and support their fellow queens. Each stop on the tour includes an interview with a local drag artist.

“When we were building the tour, it was important for us to highlight drag queens in each city that are still kind of under the radar. We get a little more of a spotlight since Canada’s Drag Race, and we want to use that to illuminate all the Queens in each city we visit,” said Synthia.

The Calgary show featured none other than our local legend, Lilith Fair. Lilith has achieved significant success in the theatre world, has written 16 plays and hosts a highly successful, weekly show at Twisted Element. The name of the Friday show is not safe for work, but you can get tickets here.

“Lilith Fair is going to be our guest in Calgary, and she is an incredible drag queen. She is the 2023 winner of the Outstanding Fringe Performance by an Individual for their role in Pansy Cabaret, and she is just so talented. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life,” said Juice. 

The show began with Lilith performing an erotic, shocking and wildly entertaining lip-sync performance of “F- The Pain Away.” Lilith gave the Semi-Qualified Queens a hilarious introduction and set the crowd ablaze. Juice took the stage next, with a sensual and steamy lip-sync rendition of “Murder on the Dancefloor.” She playfully engaged with the audience and even extended their beautiful legs on top of my husband, who looked like a deer in headlights. Juice lightheartedly introduced her cohost Synthia, telling the crowd to be kind as it was their first time doing drag. Synthia took the stage with legs that would make anyone feel a little insecure and belted out a cover of “Love at First Sight,” and even treated us to her signature helicopter dance move.

Before the intermission, the duo delivered a performance set to a Juice original mix, featuring pop culture moments from the likes of Mean Girls to Frenemies. After the break, the queens emerged in beautiful, matching velvet gowns. The queens served some stand-up and crowd work before bringing Lilith back on stage for the interview portion of the show. They called Lilith the “energizer bunny from hell” and gave her a corded mic because “she needs a leash.” A highlight included Lilith recounting the story of unblocking Brooke Lynn Hytes, who apparently owes her $80 for a wig. She also delved into the highs and lows of her early experiences in the drag world.

Juice and Synthia delivered a final captivating routine to another original mix before leaving the stage. This mix featured nods to Canada’s Drag Race queens and iconic songs like “Vogue” and “Yes, And?” The Semi-Qualified Queens are proudly sponsored by Freddie, who they both clearly hold in high regard. Freddie offers online PrEP prescriptions with convenient home delivery.

“For any students feeling sexually liberated at school, check out gofreddie.com to see if it’s right for them,” said Synthia. 

Whether you’re a devoted fan of Canada’s Drag Race or a newcomer seeking some hot tea, tune in to the Semi-Qualified Queens podcast, available on all major podcast platforms.

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