Call Me Mother casts queens, kings, and nonbinary stars in wild new drag competition
Mother knows best, but three drag mothers? That trinity knows all. And EW has the exclusive first look at the crop of drag children who'll vie for a slice of the expertise, attention, and guidance of some of the fiercest matriarchs in the industry as part of the Call Me Mother season 1 cast.
Former RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Peppermint (season 9) and Crystal (UK season 1) team with drag legend Barbada de Barbades on the OUTtv series, which aims to find the "First Child of Drag" from among 10 diverse contestants pursuing the chance to join one of the royal trio's drag houses — Peppermint's House of Dulcet, Crystal's House of Glass, and Barbada's House of Harmonie — over the eight-week competition. Each mother will fight to adopt the contestants into their corner on episode 1 (think of The Voice minus the Minivan Majority element), and things will get even wilder from there.
"It starts with a little mama-mama-mama rivalry, and then we turn the kids on each other, and it becomes full-on Lord of the Flies," Crystal says of the cast, which contains drag queens, kings, and nonbinary performers reiterating drag's intersectional roots. Among the cast of Canadian drag performers is a chef, a social activist, a Two-Spirit burlesque artist, a theater actress, and a drag king with a penchant for sewing historical menswear, among others. Peppermint asserts the cast represents "the truth" about the drag industry. But along with raw truth comes "plenty of tears" and "a few snatchings," as the mama queens go full mama bear to keep their kids behaving.
"For a drag competition, it checks the box of high drama. The emotions run high," Peppermint explains, adding that not only will the contestants turn on the waterworks, but the mothers will, too. "The family component really resonated all the way through. Our drag houses formed a bond with each other, but they also formed an incredible bond [with] all of the other drag children, even if they were in a different house. It was quite remarkable to see the tears and... well, the tears."
The kings and queens will compete as families with their house mothers, duking it out across challenges that will test their artistry and elevate their drag in the process. At the end of each episode, the mother of the losing house will then choose which of her babies to eliminate. But the mothers are also there to "fill in the blanks for [the] kids and offer them the bits of themselves that they don't already have," Crystal says, which led to "late nights behind sewing machines" and challenges that required the mothers to get "stuck in there with them, helping them figure out how they're going to make it work."
It's Barbada, however, who's going in for a silent-but-deadly kill when it comes to strategy, despite her admitted lack of experience on reality TV compared to her fellow mothers cut from the RuPaul's Drag Race franchise cloth.
"I think I brought a lot of surprises to my house, a different aspect where you know you think you're going a certain way, but something happens," the drag icon says, just before dipping out of view and returning to the frame with a different wig on her head; an expert reveal which sends her co-mothers into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. "This is the kind of surprise you can expect on Call Me Mother."
Call Me Mother premieres Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on OUTtv, OUTtv.com, the OUTtv Apple TV channel, and the OUTtv Amazon Prime Channel, wherever available. See EW's exclusive reveal of the cast below, and watch the mothers preview the series in the video above.
Dallas Dixon and Farra N Hyte
Farra N Hyte, leader of the House of Hytes and mother to RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 finalist and Canada's Drag Race host Brooke Lynn Hytes, also joins the Call Me Mother cast as a choreographer and judge. Entertainment Tonight Canada personality Dallas Dixon serves as host. Farra and Dixon will also host a companion podcast, Mom's the Word, with weekly elimination interviews and recaps.
Official bio: Born from the chaos of dramatic theater and intensive training, Calypso lives and breathes drag. When not performing, this hardworking starlet can be found backstage creating fabulous looks for other artists, both as a wig master and costume designer.
Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia
Official bio: This Two-Spirit goddess is a self-taught trailblazing diva who has spent the last decade building a flourishing drag scene in her hometown of Kelowna. This burlesque beauty has proved her mettle nurturing up-and-coming drag artists, but how will having a drag mother of her own help her see a new way of doing things?
Hometown: Edmonton, Canada
Official bio: A fierce queen with a heart of gold, Felicia Bonée is an outspoken activist and regular on the Alberta drag circuit. She claims her biggest strength is her impeccable lip-sync ability; her go-to song is "Good as Hell" by Lizzo. #BlackTransLivesMatter.
Official bio: This drag king is a history-nerd-fashionista with a sharp eye for detail. He loves sewing historical menswear, but don't be fooled by the ribbons and bows — his real mission is to dismantle the patriarchy. Herc's talents don't just stop at drag; he's also an award-winning graphic novelist.
Official bio: A chef by day and a designer by night, this Filipino queen knows how to put things together. Known for building her own elaborate costumes from scratch, Kiki says the key to making her fierce looks is to find the perfect balance. But can they hold up in the competition?
Hometown: Trois-Rivières, Quebec
Official bio: This fairy-tale princess describes herself as a "mistress of the dark." Having proven herself as the reigning queen of Trois-Rivières, she is now in search of bigger things. An acting student by day, Narcissa is ready to bring it to any acting challenge.
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Official bio: A pretty pop princess with a sexy Old Hollywood edge. She loves to shimmy and shake, but with only six months of experience as a twirling bedroom queen, they are still very new to the world of drag. Rosie isn't a drama queen per se, but she is a self-admitted agent of chaos who might just spark some fire between the queens.
Sanjina Dabish Queen
Official bio: Sanjina is a shining alter ego born out of confidence, courage, and freedom. After struggling to initially find acceptance in her community, this Fijian beauty chose not to retreat, and instead greets every new drag opportunity with love and openness. From costume to music to dance, she wants to share her pride and show the world that there's nothing more beautiful than when cultures come together to create space for something empowering and new.
Official bio: Named after their childhood teddy bear, this self-anointed "shrill icon" is a jack of all trades: a drag performer, a comedian, and a classically trained opera singer. This colorful nonbinary artist intersects all their talents into an act that shows there is no one way to approach art or gender.
Official bio: Valerie Hunt brings campy comedy to era-inspired fashion looks. Her name is an homage to her late mom, Valerie, a wonderfully wild woman who was never afraid to march to the beat of her own drum. She describes herself as a "campy, kooky, over-the-top, super- saturated, larger-than-life cartoon diva."
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