VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 18 | COVER STORY: A Boy Called Wanda
A Boy Called Wanda
by: Care Finch
I was only merely stopping into the Little Bean. I had intended to drop in, talk with the owner, and head over to check out another live show happening in Waterloo.
I didn’t realize, before I’d gotten there, that the Little Bean Coffee Bar was actually hosting Tri-Pride’s Got Talent. Suffice to say, I didn’t make it to the other show I’d previously planned to see.
A slew of judges held their spots across the front of the Bean stage. MC for the evening was none other than Pride King, Johnny Deeper. Guest appearances were planned by Miss Drew and Madison Heart. The crowd was electric, and the Bean was packed.
In addition to the talent, the event was laced with door prizes (guarded by Tri-Pride Marketing Director and VR columnist, Ryan Connell), and the pumping bass spun by DJ Foss. In all, the event held your attention. Then it was time for the talent portion of the evening.
Performer after performer, dancers and singers took the Bean stage; outwardly poised and inwardly nervous. Some artists took the stage for their first time, others veterans of the limelight.
But towards the end of the night, after five or six talented new artists before him, a young Wanda Wishbone took the stage – and won.
I was so inspired by Chad Quigley’s performance, that I talked to him about his courage to come out on stage as Wanda Wishbone. It’s more than singing like you know how to sing. It’s more than performing in front a stacked house of judges, following your every note. It’s about stepping out as yourself, as who you want to be and knowing that you can perform best if you can perform without worrying what everyone else is thinking.
Chad and I had an interview surrounding some of the more controversial issues haunting the gay community – from bullying to scrutiny. But at the end of the day, I was more interested to talk to Chad about becoming Wanda and earning his win at Tri-Pride’s Got Talent. And he, in return, told me all about being a boy called Wanda.
Tell me about Wanda.
CQ: Well, Wanda is a simple girl. She was sort of born right on the stage that night at Tri-Pride’s Got Talent. She is very loving and caring, but also loves to be in the spotlight. Although not necessarily humble, she does appreciate the talent that is constantly around her. Wanda has taken a long time to come out of the shadows, so she has this very raw and honest (almost beaten down) attitude, like someone who has been through the ring. She is an old soul, if you will.
Becoming Wanda was not as hard as I thought. I’m an actor and have come from the theatre, so make-up and costume is something that I am fairly acquainted with. I took a trip to Toronto one day and went to a shop called ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’, which specializes in clothes, wigs and accessories for cross-dressers and drag queens. The owner, Paddy Aldridge, opened up her store and her talented insight to develop Wanda. Paddy is the one who I have to give the most credit to for finding the perfect look and wig for Wanda. She really breathed life into Wanda, and I couldn’t be more grateful to her. I will always go to Paddy for any kind of advice. She has a special place in my heart.
Tell me about the LGBT community and the issue of bullying.
CQ: I am always fairly candid about my situation and about LGBT rights. It started in high school drama class. We had to write a monologue and present it on stage. For my monologue I decided to write it in the perspective of a cross-dresser (I was 16 years old at the time). I was trying to challenge the normal convention and to make a statement, really. When I was 18 years old, I wrote an essay on gay rights as part of a Canadian identity project. I am very active in supporting gay rights and trying to break the boundries of “gay-haters” and gay lovers. Although I have always been supportive of gay rights, I only recently came out and have decided to constantly fight for equality in the gay community.
We live in a time and a great country that provides so much support and options for the LGBT community.
I believe that the only way to abolish bullying in the LGBT community is first with parents teaching their children about equality. That is where it will become most effective. There is no use in trying to make the older generation understand us. We need to start with the new generation. I feel that change is coming soon.
Let’s talk about performing as Wanda.
CQ: Well I have only performed as Wanda once. I have been performing as myself since I was 13 years old. It started out in grade 7 at Clemens Mill Public School in Cambridge. Since then I have taken up piano and been trained as a classical vocalist. I briefly attended Laurier for music as a vocalist. Hopefully one day I will go back and finish my degree. So, I guess, I have been performing for 8 years. I have worked with many prestigious people in the Waterloo Region music scene.
What did you win for your performance at Tri-Pride’s Got Talent?
CQ: For winning the Tri-Pride Got Talent, I get to perform on June 2nd for Tri-Pride. I will be on the main stage on King St. So hopefully a lot of people come out to celebrate great music in the LGBT community!! I am very, very excited to be performing in front of many people who I respect so much (Miss Drew and Madison Heart being two of those people who I was very lucky to meet at Tri-Pride).
I am hoping that after June 2nd that I get asked, or at least given the opportunity, to perform at an event in the area. I truly have loved the experience that I had at the talent show and it really seemed that doors can possibly open. If nothing happens in the area, I hope to make it to Toronto and perform a few times there. I will really have to bring my A-game in that case. I don’t know if this will ever turn into anything big, but I do hope that a performance here and there will land in my lap. A boy can dream…
And final quotes?
CQ: Lastly, I just want to say to whomever might be reading this to just follow your hearts. Live and learn as I have. It has been a long and exhausting road, but truly worth it in the end to see your dream come alive and flourish. I hope that if anyone who is reading this is still “in the closet” to just let yourself free and be happy with who you are. There are so many people out there who will love you for who you are. I have found that out recently. And I couldn’t be more happier than I am at this time.
See Chad perform as Wanda Wishbone
June 2, tri-Pride Festival