In Canada’s Drag Race‘s seventh week of the competition, the comedy roast challenge had the queens stretching their comedic skill to entertain Brooke Lynn Hytes. Unfortunately, Kimora Amour saw the writing on the wall for her time on Drag Race, and felt it was her time to go.
Shortly after the elimination, Amour told Shadow and Act that her impactful slavery performance during the Sinners’ Ball was a high.
“I have gotten great feedback from it. It’s been world-shaking. I haven’t even responded a fraction to the amazing feedback I got from that moment. And I hope to try to reach everyone through it all. And I want to continue to, to show that moment, because that was just one moment,” she said. “There are many stories to tell about the history, the pain, the struggle, um, through the art and it’s something I’ll be bringing on the [Canada’s Drag Race] tour…because I want people to understand the trauma of colonialism, but also the joy that’s come out of it because without it, I wouldn’t be here.”
However, the performance was also a point in the competition that made her the most emotionally drained.
“I was just at a point of being done and tired. And I think that mentally, a lot of that transpired from the Ugly as Sin week. [It] did kind of take a toll on me,” she said. “It was a very emotional moment after that runway and it definitely bled into the following episode, as you can clearly see, I just wasn’t myself anymore.”
She said that doing a tough performance while being in a pressure-cooker situation like Drag Race can take an extreme mental toll, particularly since you have no outlet.
“It messes with you because…you are in a moderately isolated situation,” she said. ‘You know, you are staying by yourself most of your time on your days off or [on your] time off. And then even though you are amongst the girls, you can’t talk unless the cameras are rolling. And even when the cameras are rolling there for split seconds [usually] just to get a little bit of dialogue out, it’s difficult especially for someone like me, who is a very social creature and who is someone whose job revolves around communication and being able to socialize and talk and explain. It’s tough doing it for the amount of time that we did it for, because some of us were gone for literally two months. So, you know, it’s not easy. It definitely plays a role.”
“[Y]ou have to know yourself and know when you’re at your threshold and you’re done. And I had set up everything that I needed to do. I had accomplished everything I needed to do. I wore everything I wanted to wear,” she said regarding her exit, in which she told the other contestants in Untucked that she was considering leaving the race. “One thing that I don’t think a lot of people understood and I think maybe in later episodes, they will explain it, but I never entered this competition to win,” she said. “I never entered this competition in order to attain the crown because I had seen what happened with a lot of the Black queens on season 1. So I had to be very real and have a realistic approach to this and know that this was just a platform in order for me to excel and show the world and Canada who I am more so than the actual idea to win a crown.”
“I know $100,000 sounds amazing, but I already have it–I’m a homeowner, so I’ve got it. You have to approach things differently [knowing that] and I did approach things differently,” she continued. “I think that’s why my experience on the show was so different. When it came down to it, I realized that this was no longer for me and the girls who were there in the competition…this meant the world to them. They were stressing out, fighting tooth and nail. And I’m here having a grand old time. So knowing that and understanding that, it no longer sat right. For one thing, because these girls were fighting for this is something that they want and need and have to have in order to excel themselves, and I had already done everything I needed to do. I was good. I was tired. I was fine. So it was for me to back out and just be like, ‘I’m good, I’m done, I’m going home. I’m finished.'”
Amour’s point about the differences in treatment Black drag queens get over non-Black drag queens has been discussed throughout the franchise. Fans and contestants themselves have talked about how Black drag queens are quick to get a villainous edit or portrayed as “mean” by social media, and Black drag queens overall consistently have fewer social media followers than white drag queens.
“I know I personally don’t fit what the Drag Race mold is, and let’s be real, it’s someone who is usually a size zero, who presents themselves in a certain way–usually Black positivity. Other than Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change, [the representation] is minimal,” she said. “It’s difficult to be someone who knows how to dance that fine line, and it usually is, that fine line, a dance with comedy. And I’m not someone who’s always a comic queen. I’m funny, but I’m not someone that always executes comedic timing well because I take a very serious note when it comes to a lot of my drag presentations. While I’m a lot of fun. I don’t always have the mold that’s needed in order to really excel.”
“For Bob and Monet to really even be something or someone on Drag Race, it took 10 years,” she added. “This is only the second year of this installation. I have to be real and know what the system looks for. And I know I’m not fully it. However, I am great for TV and I proved that forcefully.”
Amour said that while people are quick to blame young white teens using Twitter and Instagram as the cause of the racism within the fandom, she actually points her ire at the older white queer generation who should know better.
“I won’t even throw the children under the bus because you know what I have discovered that the younger generation has a better understanding of the world and [an understanding of] so many people,” she said. “I will say that a lot of the older generation is where I have seen is where the negativity and, and the sourness just lives in. And it’s surprising because you would think that life teaches things that you would hope translates into betterment in the future. And while yes, there’s a lot of bad-ass kids at that…are part of the toxicity of the fandom, I also want to hold the older generation accountable because they are the ones who are stuck in certain mindsets and have certain ideals that no longer equate or work in this world. And I’m very happy to shut them down at every chance I get.”
When it was brought up that queens like Kennedy Davenport have been wrongly portrayed as mean by non-Black viewers because of a lack of cultural understanding, Amour agreed. She said that like Davenport, she’s like the Black auntie who will steer you with tough love so you can be at your best, citing a time she did that behind the scenes on Canada’s Drag Race regarding her fellow sisters’ outfits.
“If that was on TV, I’m sure it would be seen as being negative or anything else. But I just want to see everybody win. I want you to look your best and make a good competition. I’m not here just to win something on merit. I’m here because of I can do what I do and baby, I’ve never met a runway I haven’t slayed.”
“…We have that kind of mentality, especially queens of a certain generation like me, Kennedy, where we’re following up under the next generation of girls and we hold them like our children. I’m lucky enough to have a son, but not everyone is lucky enough to have biological children. I have gay children as well, and I treat them the same way as I treat my son. If you’re out there doing shit, I’m going to [hold] you up by your bootstraps and tell you ‘Uh uh, this is not how we do because I don’t want you to go through the same shit I had to go through. I want you have a better life than what I went through. Whatever negative experiences I had, I don’t want you to have…People, especially queens, should be looking out for the next generation. We should be wanting better for the next generation so it’s easier for them to have anything, when it comes to drag [and] life.”
She said how necessary it is for Drag Race fans to understand the culture Black queens come from in order to fully appreciate the jokes, turns of phrase and more cultural moments that seem to pass over non-Black viewers’ heads. If they understand the culture, then perhaps Black queens won’t be so quickly deemed “mean” or a “villain.”
“It’s important for people to understand Black culture because when you understand Black culture, you understand our personalities, you understand our jokes, our comedy. I think when it comes to a lot of times, the gay community, they emulate certain aspects, like the ‘Yes, chile, yes girl’ [slang and phrases]. I think they emulate and want to be a part of those things,” she said. “But unfortunately at the same time, when it comes to the real loving aspect of our culture, our teaching aspect, how we continue to show community, I think it’s not always understood. And I think it is up to us to be able to explain those things and do those things, and hammer it in that we are the way we are even through adversity. And we’re still here and we still support and we still love, um, and that’s just how we present.”
“I haven’t been able to meet her yet, but my sister [Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 contestant Anastarzia Anaquway] knows her very well through the pageant scene. But…when I tell you that [Davenport] is a beacon of light. Baby, she needs to be light to be able to do the tricks that she does to dance the way she dances,” she said jokingly. “But I think this is a problem–often when Black people open up their mouth–and it’s unfortunate–we were always seen as being unruly, untamed, disobedient…you’re always labeled a radical, which is partially the joy of [Drag Race contestant The Vixen], because she definitely set the place on fire with who she is and has always stood firm in her truth and says it like it is point-blank-period.”
“I say this all the time, it ain’t easy being Black, period…I have to dance through hoops, walk on fire and be able to spell the alphabet backward just to have a minimal fraction of what everyone else will have. And that’s okay–I’ve lived my entire life like that,” she continued. “My entire life will continue to be that, but I am here to break whatever mold, change whatever I can. It may be minimal, it may be small, it may be a blip on the radar, but it is something and what I am number one proud doing is shaking shit up because so often many people go unheard. The voices don’t get heard. The history does not get told. So if I have this medium, if I have the platform to be able to do that, and as small as it is, I’ll do it. Why not?”
While Amour is dismantling stereotypes on stage, she is also saving lives in her day job as a nurse. She’s not the only queen to choose healthcare as her career, and she says she’s happy to be able to “bring healing” through her skill as a nurse as well as through her drag, even if the work-life balance is difficult.
“It’s tough. It’s tough. You know, I have four-inch needles all around me right now. This is what we put into people’s spines and stuff,” she said. “But this is what I went to school for. I have a love of nursing, just like I have a passion for drag, so it’s important for me to do both…It’s tough, it’s not easy, but I do it.”
“I say it all the time [that] drag is therapeutic, just like nursing is about therapy,” she continued. “[I]n many aspects, whether it be therapeutic or therapy through medication or through conversation or anything else, drag is about therapy, so I’m happy that I’m able to take things from both worlds and apply them and be able to move people because that’s one thing I love about my drag is being able to have people feel things, whether it’d be joy, happiness, remembering pain, experiencing pain, and showing that there’s healing in the art form, whether it be through nursing or through drag. So I’m very happy that I have that ability and I have that opportunity to be able to do both.”
Canada’s Drag Race airs Thursdays on WOW Presents Plus.