Drag performer Mina Mercury, also known as Jason Bradstock, has recently returned to the Vancouver scene as an experienced queen in the city. After making some personal decisions, Jason decided to step back from performing as Mina Mercury in 2008, and only within the last year has he come back to drag in a big way.
I first met Jason as Mina while we were both working as actors on a film set. We later ran into each other at a Vancouver nightclub and I was invited to see him perform in a drag show the following night. Mina Mercury came about during 1996 when Jason was walking with the Vancouver Court at a Coronation Ball for the International Imperial Court System, an LGBT organization, and was asked to provide his drag queen name. Jason had been performing a lot of Annie Lennox songs, one of which was “Love Song for a Vampire” from the film “Dracula” (1992), and he found inspiration in Winona Ryder’s character named Mina. The last name Mercury was added simply because of Jason’s love for Bjork and the way that the writing on one of her albums looked like it was written in liquid mercury.
When remembering his first interest in becoming a drag performer, Jason recalled seeing his first drag show while underage in Victoria, BC. Enjoying the theatrical, artsy side of performing and being able to transform into another person is what Jason cites as his inspiration to get into the world of drag performance.
Since he already has an outgoing, friendly personality of his own, Jason finds more enjoyment in doing impersonations of artists and singers as Mina Mercury rather than creating a character for her. Because drag has been a huge creative outlet for Jason, Mina is largely influenced by fashion and outlandish designers and performers such as Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Alexander McQueen, Bjork, Michael Jackson, and Prince.
Mina Mercury’s passion continues because she loves portraying performers in her show that many people have come to know and love. When asked about her favourite performance, Mina refers back to her rendition of Madonna’s Reinvention Tour, when she had friends and other performers join for a 7-song show full of costume changes, choreography, dancing, story telling and belly dancing!
While explaining the process of her drag, Mina says that there has to be inspiration and passion behind every performance. She prepares for a performance by getting inspiration from the costumes, mannerisms, makeup, and stage presence to embody the look, personality, and movement of the artist she is portraying.
An average night out for Mina Mercury has evolved significantly since she started performing. In the beginning of her drag career, queens would more or less stay in one venue for the night to perform and then attend house parties afterwards. Since Vancouver is such a progressive city, Mina says that there are many more places for drag queens to go to now, which she enjoys. On a Saturday night, for example, Mina will meet up with queens at a lounge after getting ready, perform at a club, and then stop into multiple other clubs to visit friends before ending her night. Mina has performed at multiple venues including Celebrities Nightclub, The Junction, and 1181 on Davie.
“We are lucky to be who we are living in this city,” says Mina, in regards to the queer community. “There is still a lot of work to do [in the world], but for the most part, the community has a lot of support in Vancouver from all different groups of people. There’s great acceptance here!”
When asked for any words of advice for those who are struggling, Jason emphasizes to always be yourself and stay true to who you are, citing comedy queen Ellen DeGeneres, “Let your haters be your motivators!”
For more information about Mina Mercury or to find where you can see her performances,check out her Facebook and Instagram accounts:
Facebook: Mina Mercury
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