DJ Spotlight: Regina
Regina Gently is a wonder. Not only is she a high-kicking drag performer with high-end, 1990s-business-woman style, she’s a singer who is about to release a new record, an event creator, and a hit-blasting DJ. She’s seductive but a boss, so don’t mess with her and her kitten wigs. You can catch her on the regular spinning at Buddies and West End parties in TO and hosting at Queens in the Kitchen at Soho House.
How did you first come into DJing?
As a long-time musician and person who always played in bands, it was sort of a natural extension of that. I used to work at the Beaver, and my first few times DJing were there and at the Henhouse for fun. Once I realized you could get paid to do it, I started to take it a bit more seriously.
How long have you been DJing?
Maybe eight years? Who can remember!
How did you come up with your DJ name?
Ninety-eight percent of the time I DJ in drag, so I just use that as my DJ name but with DJ in front – meaning, it differentiates it from a gig where I’d be performing my own music.
How did you take that first step or become brave enough to start playing?
Luckily, working at the Beaver I was surrounded by DJs, and Will Munro always encouraged me to take chances. And Yohomo’s own Phil Villeneuve gave me some of my first DJ lessons! Growing up going to clubs it was something I’d always wanted to do. To be honest, it’s strange I didn’t start 20 years ago, as I always thought about doing it back then.
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What you didn’t know she’s a model too?? Spring is hurrrrrr! Thanks so much to @nowtoronto for having me be your cover girl! And to David Hawe and Vanessa Kathleen for makeup and style help and to Zac Kearns for the jumper! My new single drops April 19th!!! Pic by @samuelengelking Extra thanks to @kevinritchie24 @thats_hawesome @vanessaismagic @itsbeardra #covergirl #now #modellife #springfashion #torontodrag #strikeapose #modeling #kensingtonmarket
Give us three words that describe your musical style.
Hot, cool, and vicious.
What’s your DJ pet peeve?
So many! I tend to get booked for very mainstream crowds, and if you even play one song that’s not familiar to them they’ll rebel! It makes me sad that mainstream gay and straight crowds are just not interested in hearing new things. To me that’s entirely WHY I go to a dance club.
How are things for a drag DJ?
I sometimes wonder why I bother, as often I’m off in a corner or booth and can’t really be seen. I also don’t think I get higher fees than other DJs not in drag, so it’s a lot of work for the same fee as I get DJing as a boy. But when I get a chance to be in front of the crowd or really seen it’s all worth it, since I’m a performer, so the drag just brings all the moves out!
Honest question: how do you choose footware for your gigs?
Heels if people can see me, flats if they can’t. Usually a combination of both, since heels just make me stand and move differently. And if I need to run to the bar or washroom, I gotta slip those heels back on!
Favourite kind of wig to wear while DJing?
Lately I’m all about short! Nothing heavy or in my face or anything that might get caught in my headphones.
Who would be your dream DJ to open or close for? Maybe you already have?
Lady Miss Kier or Boy George, as I’d just like to meet them. And Diplo or Calvin Harris, as I’d like to make out with them – or at the very least watch them side-stage and droooool.
Private party for Madonna? It can be anywhere she wants! Ha!
As a drag DJ, have you experienced challenges some of your male counterparts may never have encountered?
Luckily, if someone’s booking a drag queen DJ, chances are they’re queer or their audience is queer, so I haven’t experienced homophobia or anything like that. To be honest, the main challenges I’ve experienced are just the extra work that the drag itself requires. Like setting up a P.A. system with a full face of makeup trying not to sweat it off. But again, that’s my own doing, so it’s nothing to complain about, but the makeup alone does add an extra hour to the job, so it would be nice if that was reflected in fees sometimes.
Beyoncé seems to work for any occasion!
Other DJs that you love, your DJ heroes, or folks that we should be paying attention to?
Love the Intersessions crew, providing gear and space for newer female and queer DJs to practise with CDJs.
Strangest place you’ve ever played?
A Pride party for an elementary school in Forest Hill, kindergarten to grade 8! As you might expect, it was mind-blowing!