Toronto’s Justin Fraser is a trained dancer from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, yet he found himself feeling worn out and defeated from intense training. On a whim in February 2019, Justin began creating opportunities for himself by seeking out stages to perform on… Drag was his gateway!
Known as “Ophelia Manson,” Justin also works as a barber at Men’s Room Toronto, and he manages to incorporate both of his passions for hairstyling and Drag every Thursday as the only Drag Queen Barber on Church Street! You can actually book a haircut with Ophelia Manson online right now!
On stage, Ophelia Manson is nothing short of a spit-fire, showcasing dazzling looks and jaw-dropping stunts every single time! The rise of this Drag phoenix is inevitable! So we caught up with Ophelia when she performed at “The Return of FML Mondays” on August 10th, 2020, at Flash on Church.
It was the very first FML produced by MoJo Toronto since the city-wide shut down at the beginning of March 2020, and Ophelia did not disappoint!
“I’ve been doing drag for a year and a half,” Ophelia says, “and this platform allows me to use my contemporary dance training in a more light-hearted but invigorating manor. It helps that the Drag community here in Toronto was so welcoming and supportive.”
So how did Ophelia Manson first get into Drag?
“I have two Drag mothers, “Ophelia said. “It’s complicated. Both BOA from “Canada’s Drag Race” and Helena Poison have been so supportive of me, but as I said, everyone was so helpful! I couldn’t have done it without Jada Hudson, she was the first to give my name to Woody’s, which is now my main stage!”
BOA and Helena are no stranger to MoJo Toronto events, as both Queens proudly carry the #MoJoQueen title, but with so many stages closed because of Covid-19, Drag Queens have been getting more creative than ever before: performing in open parks and filming music videos… both of which Ophelia has taken part in! Her debut music video was released earlier this summer with striking visuals and impressive dancing to “Big God” by Florence and The Machine!
“I chose ‘Big God’ by Florence because I really wanted to cross my contemporary dance training with my passion for Drag. I felt the song was perfect for that flavour, not to mention, Florence is a Gay icon! But I have so many favourite songs to perform, it all depends on the mood and look. I can go from doing ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood to ‘Tainted Love’ by Marilyn Manson! I just performed Marilyn Manson at FML Mondays, actually. I just really pride myself on being very diverse and unique with a splash of the mainstream!”
Directed by Toronto’s James Forrester, Ophelia’s first music video gives off that same vibe; its unique, very artsy, but also mainstream enough to appeal to the masses. We asked Ophelia her favourite part about filming this debut music video and without hesitation, she said – “collaborating with James Forrester! I think we made a genius match and created true magic together!”
This may be the beginning of her Drag career, but there’s no doubt Ophelia Manson has a bright future ahead of her. When asked what we can expect from her in the future, Ophelia perked up in excitement and determination.
“You can expect many things to come! I’m always trying to create fresh new content! And who knows, maybe my next stop will be ‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Season Two!”
Follow Ophelia Manson on Instagram (@ophelia_manson) and check out her debut music video: