HAVE YOU HEARD OF MS. VIVIAN VANDERPUSS?
OF COURSE, HOW NOT?
She is “a quirky cat mother and THE solution to the rat problem”! We got a chance to sit down with Mackenzie Lemire (he/him)—the face behind the drag—post-Pride to learn a little more about the “camp, class, and spicy sass you never knew you needed in your life” that is Vivian!
HOW DID IT ALL START?
Mackenzie has always loved the arts, painting, photography, and vintage clothing and had been dressing up in their room drinking wine and playing up a rich divorcée character. Vivian—loosely inspired by the ever-stunning Vivian Kensington of Legally Blonde—came together in late 2017 as a “monolith of interests” all rolled into drag.
WHAT DOES VIVIAN DO?
Asking “What CAN’T Vivian Do?” would likely yield a much shorter list. Vivian is a real quadruple threat: she can sew, paint, act and style wigs. “I’d never done makeup before, never styled women’s clothing… it was a really steep learning curve!”
And since the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve learned to style wigs which is no small feat! “It’s a lot of work, but I love it!” Each wig brings its own unique challenges but they’ve been cranking them out nearly once a week and even put together their first three-stack recently.
“The wigs, for me, is really where the personality of a character really comes from. I do between four and six numbers in an evening and I figure out what numbers I can do at what times all based on wig changes.”
DO WE HEAR WHISPERS OF A DRAG RACE CONTENDER?
A question asked by many, we asked Mackenzie if he’d ever consider applying for a future season. “Not now, but maybe one day. I love the local scene and would really love to continue to learn, grow and bring a supportive community to Victoria for now. I feel like I’m still carving out my place in the world right now after the roller coaster that was the pandemic. I’m just looking for a bit more stability at the moment… I won’t say ‘never,’ though!”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR VIVIAN?
With their new website launch, Vivian is getting ready to explore even more! Merch is available for sale and they’ve launched three exciting packages for you to explore drag at a level—and price point—to suit you and your needs! You can choose from a classic makeover, a step-by-step tutorial, or a full Vanderpuss Experience where Vivian will paint you, wig you, and deck you out in the finest drag accessories. This experience even comes with a high-quality image of your drag transformation for you to post to all your social media streams. #TheVanderpussExperience
WHERE CAN THE CHILDREN FIND VIVIAN?
You can get all the hot tea by signing up for Vivian’s news through her website (vivianvanderpuss.com) or you can catch her on Instagram (@vivianvanderpuss). “And you can always find me at the Vicious Poodle (forever my home) for every other Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturdays for brunch! Thursdays I’m usually at Friends of Dorothy.”
“I just want to cultivate a positive and safe place for queer people to cultivate joy in this city.” Vivian says they want people to feel like family at the Poodle and to never be afraid to say hi.
We want to thank Mackenzie/Vivian for sitting down with us to chat and for being an absolute doll. Be sure to check out their new website and go support them at a gig!
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