By Sydney Morton
After losing everything, Grayson Nordgren found himself and his alter ego, Jenna Telz.
Three years ago, Nordgren was kicked out of the Jehovah’s Witness church for being gay, and lost his family and friends.
“When I first got kicked out, I lost everything, I lost my faith, friends, family, my goals, dreams, and where I was going in life. It’s hard to sit back and think about that all. Through drag I found my place again and I feel like this is what saved me from a really dark time in my life,” said Nordgren.
Growing up, Nordgren describes himself as sheltered. If anything that referenced the LGBTQ+ community came on the TV his parents would change the channel. It was his curiosity after being exiled that led him to drag.
“When I first saw a drag queen, who is now a good friend of mine, I remember just thinking, ‘wow,’” said Nordgren.
“I still remember that feeling, I was super curious about it and it’s not that I didn’t understand it. I was not exposed to it. The more I saw it, the more in love I fell with it.”
Nordgren said it’s empowering and cool to completely transform.
“(It’s) the closest thing I could get to magic,” he said.
Jenna Tellz, a tall gothic vision, drew attention through her renditions of rock’n’roll and grunge songs, such as Zombie by the Cranberries.
“Jenna is my superhero, I was kicked out of my family and it’s how I gained a self worth again. In my eyes, Jenna is my perfect superhero. She is goth and dark,” he said.
Now a thriving drag queen in Kelowna, Nordgren is about to gain national recognition in the next season of CBC’s hit web docu-series, Canada’s a Drag.
For the past 10 months, Nordgren has been able to sustain himself by performing as Jenna Tellz. Booking his own shows and venues.
“I basically started cutting out the middle men in between myself and performing. I put on my own shows because I not given opportunities wanted,” he said.
Nordgren also travels to schools throughout the Okanagan sharing his story to help youth find their voice and give them advice.
” I want them to come to realize it’s OK to be themselves and that they don’t have to go through depression I was going through,” he said. “I made my ideal role model out of Jenna, she is who I want to be, with the exception that I don’t want to be a woman.”
Production is scheduled for Dec. 15 at Munnins Post during his Naughtymare Before Christmas double-feature performance.
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