TORONTO (September 26, 2019) – Hot off the high heels of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE’s four wins at the 71st Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, Crave announced today the dynamic and diverse panel of judges presiding over Season 1 of its new original series CANADA’S DRAG RACE.
For the herstorical first season, drag artists will have to slay the DRAG RACE stage in front of a dynamic and diverse panel of judges, including uber-popular Brooke Lynn Hytes; actor and activist, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman; and model, runway coach, and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL mentor Stacey McKenzie. Additionally, ETALK Senior Correspondent Traci Melchor joins the series with a heavy dose of fabulousness, as Canada’s very first Squirrel Friend.
“I'm thrilled to reveal my hand-picked judges for CANADA'S DRAG RACE. By the power vested in me, I command them to go forth and be my ‘Judge Judys’ of the North,” said RuPaul. “I have complete confidence in their ability to choose Canada’s first drag superstar!”
Check out Crave’s official DRAG RACE YouTube Channel featuring highlights from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Canada’s Drag Race.
Each week on CANADA’S DRAG RACE, the resident judges will helm every episode, visiting the Werk Room, introducing challenges, revealing episode twists, and deciding who “Sash-ehs Away”, and who stays, after the epic Lip Sync For Your Life performance.
As Canada’s Squirrel Friend, Traci will be making special house visits to test the queens with some challenges and provide a dose of reality when needed! Fans can also expect weekly celebrity guest judges to join the panel and introduce Main Stage challenges and themes, as well as critique the queens.
“Condragulations to my Canadians Queens!,” said Brooke Lynn Hytes “I’m so excited as the time has finally come for the world to see the talent that Canada has to offer. Start those engines…and may the best Queen win!”
“I am beyond thrilled to be part of bringing this cultural phenomenon up north!” said Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. “I cannot wait to see what the upcoming legendary Canadian Queens are going to serve to bring the house down boots!!!”
“I am super excited to be a part of the Canadian Drag Race family, and I can’t wait to see our Queens serve and kill it on the runway!” said Stacey McKenzie. “This is a chance for us to showcase Canada’s unique brand of voice, personality, and presence.”
Here’s the tea on the CANADA’S DRAG RACE judges and Canada’s Squirrel Friend!
Brooke Lynn Hytes
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Never fear, the Queen of the North is here! Equal parts ballerina, showgirl, and 90s supermodel, Brooke Lynn Hytes is drag perfection personified. After training at the National Ballet School of Canada, this extraordinarily talented queen danced her way into hearts across the world in 2008 as a principal ballerina with “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo,” an all-male drag ballet company. Driven by that experience, and her passion for dance, beauty and the stage, she honed her skills, winning multiple Canadian pageants, before turning her eye toward the U.S., and competing for the coveted Miss Continental Crown, a title she snatched in 2014. In 2015, Brooke Lynn accepted a prestigious position as one of the “Playmates” at Play Dance Bar in Nashville. Determined to show the world what Canadian drag had to offer, she competed in Season 11 of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, placing second, and becoming a fan favourite and hero to the Great White North.
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Actor and activist Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, particularly for people of colour and the LGBTQ community. A longtime collaborator with DRAG RACE producers World of Wonder, Jeffrey is known for his roles as iconic queer men in film and TV series, and came to prominence for his portrayal of the ambitious producer, Jay, in Lifetime’s dark comedy-drama UNREAL. Jeffrey is a queer, biracial man who was adopted at 12 days old and raised by a white family in rural Alberta. At 16, he began modelling and travelling the world, working for top brands and designers. He landed his first acting role at 21 and went on to star in Season 8 of AMERICAN HORROR STORY and the 2016 comedy film Dirty Grandpa, alongside Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron. He has appeared as a celebrity judge on RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE as well as RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE ALL STARS. He also hosts his own podcast, JBC Presents: Conversations with Others. Jeffrey was named one of “Five of the Best” in Out magazine’s feature article “Canada’s Coolest,” and one of Canada’s top rising stars by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. He is passionately involved with the Human Rights Campaign and created the Bramon Garcia Braun (BGB) scholarship in his name, awarded to LGTBQ actors of colour whose work promotes inclusion in the entertainment industry.
Resident Judge, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Stacey McKenzie is a supermodel, TV personality, motivational speaker, and easily one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion industry. Self- trained, Stacey has appeared in magazines including Vogue (U.S., Italian, British, Korean, and Spanish), Harpers Bazaar, Interview, Essence, Flare, and in advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier, and major cosmetic brands. Vogue recently dubbed her as one of the five Jamaican Models to change the face of fashion! Stacey created Walk This Way Workshops Inc., an organization designed to empower and educate people interested in the fashion industry. In 2013, she launched The Walk Camp for young girls – a two-week experience to empower girls to value their uniqueness, inspiring them to find their individual voice. Stacey has been recognized for her community contributions by various organizations, including the University of Ottawa, the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, and the Jackie Robinson Fortitude Award. Stacey can also be seen on Season 23 and 24 of the hit reality series AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL as a Model Coach/Mentor, and?acts as a celebrity style expert for various TV outlets.
Traci ‘Stay Fabulous’ Melchor
Canada’s Squirrel Friend, CANADA’S DRAG RACE
Beloved for her outgoing and lively personality, Traci Melchor is an icon in Canadian broadcasting. Vibrant, witty and fab, she is best known as a Senior Correspondent for Canada’s most-watched entertainment program, ETALK. Throughout the years, Traci has interviewed hundreds of stars, including Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Drake, Cher, NKOTB, Khloe Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Cardi B, Hailey Baldwin, RuPaul, Gigi Gorgeous, Selena Gomez, Ross Matthews, Mark Wahlberg, Kerry Washington, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Joan Rivers, Ryan Gosling, Dolly Parton, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Janet Jackson. Traci began her career by hosting the legendary RAPCITY on MuchMusic, and has since co-hosted THE SOCIAL, held various entertainment reporter roles, and guest starred on numerous TV and film projects including CSI and LIZZIE McGUIRE. Traci was named one of the National Post’s “Worthy 30” for her contribution to the television industry and has written entertainment articles for Elle, Essence, and The Source. She is a board member of LEF (The Learning Enrichment Foundation) and has also been known to werk the runway in support of various causes including the Dare To Wear Love Fashion Show and The Heart Truth Fashion Show at Toronto Fashion Week.
As previously announced, Crave and OUTtv formed an unprecedented partnership that extends the reach of international television phenomenon, RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE in Canada. This partnership includes the new Crave Original Series, CANADA’S DRAG RACE, the first-ever Canadian adaptation of the show, and all past seasons of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, currently available on Crave, and the much-anticipated RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK, premiering October 3.
In association with Crave and OUTtv, CANADA’S DRAG RACE is produced by Blue Ant Studios. World of Wonder's Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Tom Campbell serve as Executive Producers. RuPaul serves as Executive Producer. Executive producers for Blue Ant Studios include Betty Orr, Michael Kot, Laura Michalchyshyn and Mike Bickerton. Robin Johnston is Director, Original Production, Factual, Bell Media. Production Executive for Bell Media is Danielle Pearson. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Jeff Hersh is Vice-President, Strategy, OTT Distribution & Premium SVOD, Bell Media. Tracey Pearce is President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.