By: Erica Yetman
Newfoundlander and seasoned drag queen Fashionista Jones dazzles and inspires
Fashionista Jones experienced her first time in drag before the age of 10. At the time, she had no idea that putting on her mom’s clothes was anything other than dressing up.
Growing up on west coast of Newfoundland in Cape St. George, best known for being the hotspot of the francophone community, Jones always knew there was something special about her. “Going through school and all that I always knew that I was different,” said Jones. “Technically the first time I ever did drag I was probably seven or eight years old (and it was) for Halloween when my cousin dressed me up. I still have the picture and it’s sort of surreal to see it.”
It wasn’t long before Jones found herself in drag again.
Feeling of Excitement
“When I was about 16 my mother’s sister wanted to do this fundraiser show,” said Jones, “And myself and these two other guys … we did a drag show and I remember just that feeling of excitement and entertaining people because that’s why I do drag.”
After experiencing her first taste of being on stage, it was as a feeling she wouldn’t forget and before long she became Fashionista Jones. When she graduated school, she moved to Toronto to pursue her passion for fashion and clothing design before falling into the makeup industry, where she still works today. “Halloween is like the gateway holiday for any kind of drag queen, and I had a friend at the time who said ‘let’s go out in drag’ and so we did, and it was a hot mess,” said Jones with a laugh. “And I’ve been doing it ever since.”
A drag queen is typically defined as a gay man who dresses in a female illusion for entertainment purposes, but there is more to drag than just dressing up. There’s many different facets of drag, and though Jones is a seasoned queen who has mastered her character, she’s constantly exploring new influences. Mainstream drag is always changing and she wants to stay on top of her game.
“It’s hard to know what is what nowadays, but I do know that I am Fashionista Jones. I’m well loved and I’m well received, and I do everything with the capacity to know and understand that we are all people and all individuals and at the end of the day everyone picks their nose.”
Jones hasn’t just launched her own drag career, she’s also become mother to blooming queen and Drag Idol winner Evelyn J. Tudor, 26, whom Jones affectionately refers to as her “drag daughter.”
Tudor credits Jones for taking her “under her wig” and teaching her everything from “highlights to heels.”
“She has taught me so much more than just how to create the female illusion. She has enabled me to explore a side of myself I never really allowed myself to,” said Tudor. “She’s given me confidence in my body and my looks that I never knew I had, but needed.”
Jones is what drag fans know as a “camp” queen; an over the top, traditional and original style of drag. Camp queens are known for being over-the-top, theatrical and comical. “I’m very old school, very retro, I love anything from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s … my biggest thing with (drag) is that it’s all about entertaining people and putting on a show,” said Jones. “I’m not necessarily changing who I am as a person and my personality, but some slight tweaks to it.”
After working her way through the St. John’s drag scene, Jones is proud to be a big fish in a little pond.
An Ever Changing Art
She’s a regular at drag events in the city and has hosted and performed with some of the biggest queens in the industry, including several queens from Logo TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. Drag is an ever changing art and Jones is ready to take on the evolution, referencing a drag queen’s need to change their style as often as Madonna.
She’s proud to leave her legacy in the people that she mentors and the fact that she’s able to help make their dreams a reality. For Tudor, Jones has done more than that.
“I’ve never been as confident in myself since I started doing drag and it’s thanks to her seeing something in that little nervous gay boy.
“She was able to show me how to shine like a star.”