Michel Gervais, aka Jenna Seppa, West Nipissing’s homegrown drag queen, is once again working on putting the region on the international drag map with some “big news”. Gervais is currently finishing up his contract working on costumes for Essex County, a CBC production being filmed in North Bay. But more importantly, he has has just been cast as a contender on Call Me Mother, Season 2 – a drag competition reality show that will be broadcast internationally. “It was created by OutTV, and will also be aired on Fruit TV in the U.K. It’s been quite the adventure!”
Gervais explains the concept of the show. “It’s a reality TV competition show with a bunch of drag artists, drag kings, drag queens, non-binary artists, and we’re competing to be the First Child of Drag… The reason it’s called Call Me Mother is that there are three drag mothers: Peppermint, Crystal and Barbada. Peppermint is a winner of Season 9 RuPaul’s Drag Race – the runner up. She’s been on Broadway, a lot of television. Crystal is from Drag Race UK season one, and she’s originally from Canada, traveling the world as well as doing drag. Barbada is from Quebec, she’s a Quebec icon and has been in the industry for years… They each have their own legacy. In the TV show they adopt (…) drag children and we compete for a grand prize of $25,000, a trip to Mexico, some Rimmel make-up (a year’s worth) and a few other prizes.” But just as important, of not more so, the show presents a grand opportunity to raise profile. “It’s massive exposure not just in this country, also in the UK and it will be airing in the States as well.” The winner has the chance to become the face of Wella at Toronto’s 2023 Pride event.
This production will see 15 contestants vying for top spot. The house Mothers get to decide. Gervais is excited about this opportunity. “I worked as a crew member on season one. I auditioned as well, before we even knew what it was! We just knew that it was a kind of drag competition show, and we didn’t know what we were getting into. According to production, I went decently far in the process in season one, but I didn’t make the cut. They actually filmed in North Bay and I was back here at that point… I ended up applying for a talent wrangler position [organizing and guiding talent prior to their appearance on stage], unofficially called Care Bear – I served as a wrangler driving people back and forth to the sets, the same thing with the Mothers. That was cool, just making sure they had what they needed.”