My name is Ryan Ashick and this is #MyCanada

I'm a 26 year old male living in downtown Toronto. I perform as a drag queen under the name D'manda Tension and I also create drag costumes for many well known local performers. I have created a variety of pieces from giant ruffle coats, gowns for pageants, character costumes for impersonations and replica character costumes for Comic-Con and Anime North. I've also worked with and created costumes for some major drag queens internationally. 6 years ago I moved to Toronto to get away from the small town life and into the big city. I was enrolled and taking courses at Humber college and worked retail at Gap for a few years before moving into a management position. After that, I shifted gears and became a Travel Consultant for 2 years. I enjoyed the work but it wasn't for me.

"I get a sense of pride seeing other people in my creations."

This is when I decided that my skill of sewing and costume design was enough to promote myself to do work for others and that's what I did. It's been a few months and I'm beyond happy with what I've done and am currently doing. I'm also really proud that I can take a conceptual design and turn it into a physical custom garment.

I'm following my passion but I'm only just getting started

We asked Ryan, what does the concept of chasing your passion mean to you?

The concept of chasing my passion, to me means, being persistent with the things that matter to you. To me, my passion is sewing and costume design. I never thought for a second I'd be doing this or be where I am currently in life but I love it.

I get a sense of pride seeing other people in my creations. Not only am I making something that people love but also creating such an important element to a performance. It's a really cool chain reaction of feeling happy and my passion is starting that chain reaction and seeing my work come to life. I love what I do and if you asked me 5 years ago if I'd quit my day job for a major risk of working for myself I would have probably said no, but right now I'm chasing my passion and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.