Some might say Kerry Dale has a split personality. In reality, he has two very separate identities.
There is daytime Dale who works as a customer service specialist at Great-West Life. And at night and on certain special daytime occasions, such as during the Pride Winnipeg Festival, there is Satina Loren. She is a glamourous Italian in her own right and she's Dale's drag alter-ego.
Loren fiercely performs pop anthems at Club 200 and Fame Nightclub at least once per week. She belts songs on stage and dances emphatically, sometimes throwing in a cartwheel to boot.
She is also the star of a well-received 2014 calendar wherein she posed as different Disney princesses for each month. Tegan Quin, of Canadian alt-pop duo Tegan and Sara, recently applauded Loren's calendar for its originality.
Made in collaboration with photographer Tina Jansen, all of the proceeds raised from the calendar sales go to the Rainbow Resource Centre, a local non-profit LGBTQ organization. Loren said a 2015 calendar is in pre-production. The 2015 theme will be Fierce Fairy Tales.
Dale and Loren also starred in Winnipeg filmmaker Graeme Coleman's documentary debut earlier this year called Fairytale Prince(ss). The short film described Dale's transformation from guy to gal and his rampant obsession with Disney memorabilia.
Loren spoke with Free Press reporter Jessica Botelho-Urbanski about what it means to be out and proud in Winnipeg and how an upcoming election could benefit the local LGBTQ community.
Q: What inspired you to start performing?
A: I started doing drag when I was 19 -- about four years ago at Gio's (the now defunct LGBTQ nightclub on Smith St.). I went to Gio's one night and there was a drag show that happened and I'd always loved drag; I watched Ru Paul when I was younger. So I went up to two of the drag queens after and said I wanted to get involved. They both took me shopping, I got all the basics and I haven't looked back since. My drag mothers taught me everything, Lita Takeela and Symara Styles... A lot of us in the drag community are like each others' family because we all come from different backgrounds of acceptance and different families. For the most part, we are very, very close.
Q: How did your family react to your decision to start dressing in drag?
A: It is one extreme to say you're already becoming a minority by announcing that you're gay and then announcing that you're also a drag queen was a lot to take in. Looking back now, I probably should have eased them into it. At first they were very taken aback and weren't comfortable with it, but now my mom and my nonna are my biggest fans.
Q: How did you choose your alias?
A: "Satina" is a nod to Satine from Moulin Rouge. She's a burlesque dancer and I thought her look was really what I wanted to encapsulate. And Loren is for Sophia Loren since she's an Italian sex symbol. I wanted to have my heritage in there.
Q: You got a shout-out recently from Tegan Quin praising your calendar.
A: Did I? That's so cool!
Q: Have you noticed, like Tegan said, that people have become more understanding of the GLBT* community in the years since you came out?
A: Times are changing now. Obviously you still hear about bad things that happen to LGBTQ youth, but it's so much more accepting now. We don't just have to go to gay bars anymore if we don't want to. Especially at my workplace, I've noticed it's a lot easier to be gay. For me, ever since I came out I've just stayed out and I haven't looked back. Obviously there are different places in the world that aren't as accepting and it's very heartbreaking. But luckily for me, I don't have to worry.
Q: Can you explain the election you're running in right now?
A: Yes, I'm running for Empress 15. In the city we have a court, which is governed by a board of directors with one seat for an emperor or empress. The emperor or empress is the chief fundraiser for all the courts' charities and is kind of the spokesperson or the spearhead for the LGBTQ community. I've done four years of drag and won multiple titles (like Entertainer of the Year in 2011 and Winnipeg's Next Drag Superstar in 2013) and I decided that this is what I want to do the most right now. I want to dedicate my time to fundraising and raise as much money as I can.
(Voting for the Imperial Sovereign Court of Winnipeg candidates happens on Sunday, July 13 from noon-midnight at the Radisson Hotel at 288 Portage. Everyone is welcome to vote in the election.)