Drag queen has costumes for show all sewn up

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To say Tyson Thompson is a clothes horse would be an understatement.

He has a large closet jam-packed with fashionable clothes he wears to work every day: blue jeans, t-shirts, dress shirts, khakis, sweaters as well as running shoes, sandals, dress shoes, boots — all of the garments and footwear that are fashionable and more importantly — comfortable, for the busy hair stylist. By day, Thompson works at the Head Shoppe in Spryfield where he has spent the past decade, since graduating from a private styling school in the metro area.

Then, there is an entire bedroom — one of four in his apartment — that has been converted into a walk-in closet filled with other garments, ones he wears at night as another personality: that of drag queen Miranda Wrights.

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This room is lined with racks and bins and totes and closet organizers and shoe trees that contain other fashionable clothing — from simple dresses to elaborate ball gowns, skin-hugging body suits to flowing capes, skirts, hosiery, wigs, gloves, corsets and assorted lingerie. They share the space with shoes — ladies size 11, if you please — mostly very high heels and boots. There are sequins and satin, silk and feathers, there are trays of jewelry and drawers of makeup and nail polish. You name it, it’s in Tyson’s spare closet.

And a lot of the garments Thompson made himself.

Thompson will be wearing some of these fashions on June 24 when he will be performing in Jake and Shaun’s Big Gay Affair drag show, making its ‘Big Return’ at Glasgow Square Theatre in New Glasgow. Thompson was in the first drag show held at Glasgow Square last July.

“I’ve been doing drag for four years; in fact, it’ll be four years in July,” Thompson said.

The Spryfield resident, who hails from River John and is a 2004 graduate of Northumberland Regional High School, said he does drag shows mostly in the Halifax area, where he lives.

He got into it simply enough.

“Every year during Pride Week in Halifax there is a drag competition where they put boys who have never dressed in drag. I did it four years ago.” And he’s stayed with it.

Thompson explained in the drag world, drag queens are members of ‘families’ and have a drag mother — basically someone who plays a mentoring role. For Thompson, his drag mother, who goes by the stage name of ‘Heckella Jeckyl’ studied costume design at Dalhousie University.

Before meeting Heckella Jeckyl, Thompson jokes he could hem a pair of pants, if he had to, but “with great difficulty!”

Luckily enough for Thompson, Heckella Jeckyl is now his roommate and Thompson is learning to make his own costumes for drag shows.

“About half of my costumes I made myself — with some help from Heckella. When it comes to putting in zippers and stuff I can do it by myself, but it isn’t pretty!” he laughed.

He and his roommate mostly use store-bought patterns and buy the fabric, then they make the creations unique.

“We may cut something out or move something around to alter the pattern,” he said, until they get the item looking like how they want it to look.

It all takes skill, precision and patience. But every stitch, every bead and every sequin is a labour of love for Thompson. See it for yourself at the show on Saturday night.

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Jackie Jardine
Jackie is a Pictou County native and proud graduate of St. Francis Xavier University. She is a writer, editor and fledgling home cook. She has been in the newspaper business for almost three decades and jokes that she started when she was in her teens! She enjoys traveling, socializing and volunteering in her community.