Creature Feature: Yovska
Ooky-spooky but so darn cute. We are so, so, so happy to highlight Yovska as our new Creature Feature here on Yohomo. Take about a ballroom blitz: Yovska’s outlandish and oversized outfits/character creations are jaw-dropping. Their Instagram is over-stuffed with all their looks and concepts and is getting world-wide attention. We are so blessed to have this glamour goblin in our city and even more blessed that we got to sit down and pick their brain.
First things first. Wanna tell us about who you are?
Well, my birth name is the same as my performer name: Yovska. I feel like I got pretty lucky with my name; I’ve yet to know of another Yovska. Perhaps it’s fate. I was born in Mexico and came to Canada when I was seven. Though I don’t really identify with anything on the gender spectrum (I’m a real-life insect), my pronouns are he/him.
What started you in performing?
Toronto’s underground ballroom scene! It was back in spring 2016 when I walked my first ball, and I’ve just been addicted ever since. I’ve pretty much just stuck to the bizarre category, which I’ve been dominating in the city since. I didn’t start performing in Toronto’s drag circles till last year, at an event called Amateur Strip Night.
And where are you pulling your inspiration from?
My biggest source of inspiration comes from the paranormal – the wackier the better! I love reading stories about reptilian shape-shifters living in our sewers, Bigfoot-like creatures being dropped off by alien intelligences in our forests, and large dinosaur relics in our lakes. I feel like I can really relate to paranormal creatures, as queer and immigrant identities are always questioned and challenged. Besides that, my other inspirations are insects, melodrama, foreign pop stars, anthropomorphism, internet culture, jesters and clowns, ’90s visual kei bands, anime, fairytales, horror and sci-fi films, Mexican folklore – anything weird and fantastical.
So when you’re coming up with a new look, what is the thing that you usually design first?
I always start off with the head; sometimes it might be the only part of the piece I ever make. I never seem to have a lack of ideas, only a lack of time, and if I have to showcase something, then it is the face. Though occasionally I may start with the hands. I love making gloves; though those are always interchangeable with outfits, unlike the face.
Who in pop culture has inspired you the most?
By culture do you mean things a bit more outside the gay mainstream? Does Leigh Bowery count? Of well-known figures, I think I would have to say that Guillermo del Toro really made an impression on me aesthetically. Pan’s Labyrinth was my favourite movie growing up. His films are always macabre and bittersweet. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person once, and I totally fan-girled to the point I forgot how to speak properly. Very awkward but a wonderful memory.
What do you want people to take away from your drag?
I really want to evoke a sense of childlike awe or wonder. Contrary to the popular belief that I mainly want to scare people, I want to spark a high level of curiosity and make people stop and think about what they are seeing. I feel that certain things we fear are taught to us rather than something we’re born with. I think a good way to put it is that I want to look like whatever a true angel’s form is, as I hear their portrayed human appearance is just what they show so as not to scare us.
What’s been your favourite look/performance thus far?
I think my favourite look would have to be the one where I am dressed as a mouse bride. It is the right mix of “what the fuck?” freaky ghost and fashion-beauty glamour. As for performance, I would have to say my “Wrecking Ball” number. Every time I remember that look/performance combo I feel so clever for putting little wrecking balls on my fingers and face as a reveal.
Who are your top three Instagram faves?
I always feel bad answering these sort of questions because there are so many amazing artists that I can’t narrow them down that easy, but have you heard of the account @yovska by any chance? I hear it’s pretty interesting!
What’s your dream look/performance?
Hmmmm, I’m not sure I’ve thought that far ahead. Perhaps the most impossible looks would be the true dream. I think my dream look would be me 20 feet high, gigantic wheels on both sides, a spinning carousel dress that has the four horses of the apocalypse, 30-foot-wide angel wings with small ones attached, pulsating lights, numerous trumpets, and multiple heads with horrific beasts. It would be like Book of Revelations high-fashion bizarre realness! Gee, I really hope someone doesn’t do it first – that’d be a real bummer.
Where can people find you irl?
When you’re home alone some night, check under your bed at exactly 3:30 a.m. with the lights off and call for me three times.
What are three words that you would use to describe yourself?
Freaky, unconventional, friendly-ish?
All photos by the wine-loving May Truong.