Drag queen brings unique flair to Fashion on Fire 

Miss Moço

When Miss Moço muses about arthritis, she immediately thinks of her aunt. For as long as she can recall, the disease has followed her relative — a shadow she can't shake.  

"I don't remember her ever not suffering from arthritis," Miss Moço says. "I've watched the disease progress over the years to the point that my aunt now has deformed feet and a hunched back, but no matter what, she's always maintained a positive outlook." 

With her aunt in mind, positivity is what Miss Moço brought to Arthritis Society Canada's third annual Fashion on Fire. Miss Moço, or Adam Moco out of drag, is a Toronto-based queen who competed on the television show Canada's Drag Race and hosts a weekly drag brunch at The Drake Hotel. In Toronto on May 29, Miss Moço performed at Fashion on Fire, which marries fashion and philanthropy to generate arthritis awareness. Woven into the program was a showcase of arthritis-friendly clothing, modeled mostly by people living with the disease. 

"Miss Moço's participation in Fashion on Fire was an exhilarating addition. She brought a special energy to the event, enlivening the evening with a rousing performance while also sharing her connection to arthritis," says Jennifer Stewart, Chief Development Officer, Arthritis Society Canada. "We couldn't be more pleased about this fun new partnership." 

A fitting union 

Although Miss Moço's aunt is the relative for whom arthritis is most severe, her mother and grandmother are also affected. Given the prevalence in the family and the staggering statistic that one in five people in Canada live with arthritis, Miss Moço keeps close tabs on potential signs.   

"I'm aware that arthritis is something I may have to deal with eventually," she says. 

It's partly because of her connection to the disease that she decided to participate in Fashion on Fire. The element of fashion further sparked her interest. 

Miss MocoBefore Miss Moço sashayed onto the Toronto drag scene in 2017, Adam modeled, photographed fashion shows and helped backstage. Early in his career as a photographer, he completed an internship at Flare Magazine, where he notes David Dixon and Izzy Camilleri were names he regularly came across. Both are designers whose work was featured in Fashion on Fire. 

"It felt like a few of my worlds colliding," Miss Moço says.  

At the intersection of drag and advocacy  

Miss Moço recognizes that a drag performance may not have been expected at an event built around arthritis awareness. She says the power of drag, however, cannot be underestimated.  

"Drag queens help to shine a light on different causes, while bringing light to the spaces in which we perform. There are layers and levels to who we are and what we do," says Miss Moço, who performed two numbers at Fashion on Fire. She adds that she has experience performing at healthcare-related events, including one for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. 

Miss Moço wanted Fashion on Fire to be an educational moment for attendees. She saw no reason why that couldn't happen alongside fabulous entertainment.  

"I know we'll hear some heartbreaking stories, and I want people to absorb what they hear about arthritis while also bringing happiness and excitement to the event," she says. 

Considering her connection to arthritis, she continues: "I love performing, but it has to be genuine. When it's for a good cause — and one that's close to my heart — I feel even more keen to do it. I put more thought into events like this, and Fashion on Fire was something great to be part of."