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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Obituary: Darren Taylor, AKA Bambi Slut

Posted in: True Stories
By Matt Akersten - 31st May 2008

Bambi on a night out (in Dior, naturally!)
We remember a prima drag diva, lip-syncher extraordinaire, fashion stylist, beloved brother, cherished sister and fabulous friend.

Darren Taylor, also known as Bambi Slut

15 December 1975 - 29 May 2008

So many of us in Auckland's gay scene were so devestated to see one of our gorgeous sisters become so ill over the last few months. It's some comfort to know that numerous leading lights in our community rallied around to make sure her last few weeks were as comfortable as possible for her and her family. But now she has left us. We will always remember her at her best, shining under the spotlight...

Darren and Bambi were very different - Darren could be shy, while Bambi was always over-the-top. We know though, that Darren enjoyed Bambi's celebrity status - and loved being able to stop traffic!

Born and raised in Napier, Darren was from a large, close and supportive family, who were all proud members of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi. As a teenager in the early 1990's, Darren discovered gay life at Auckland's legendary Staircase nightclub. Surprisingly, he didn't like the drag scene at first - but entered a South Auckland drag competition as a joke, and won.

She was named Bambi Slut by her drag mother Bertha, and became really good at lip-synching by studying her. Soon enough, Bambi came to be recognised through reputation and awards as the best lip-syncher in the country.

Darren Taylor
Bambi was known to be blonde, and was influenced early on by the sex kitten appeal of Marilyn Monroe. Collaborating intensely with designer, make-up artist and DJ James Leuii throughout her drag career, together they were leaders in the shift towards 'pretty drag' and had a major influence in making New Zealand drag more fashion and beauty focussed.

Bambi was obsessed with new outfits and looks - which could make drag an 'expensive sport' at times. An eclectic diva, she performed to tracks by everyone from Marilyn Manson to Diana Ross and the Supremes. Bambi especially loved difficult songs that presented a challenge - and became renowned for her perfect interpretations of The Jackal by Dana Bryant, and Work This Pussy by Sweet Pussy Pauline.

Bambi performed for gay and straight audiences across New Zealand and Australia at nightclubs, parties, corporate functions, charity fundraisers and all kinds of events. Darren only came out to his parents after being sprung on national TV rolling down Queen Street on a Hero Parade float!

We know that our delightful diva got immense satisfaction from performing and from helping people - and felt that Bambi had enabled Darren to help others in our community.

Now it's our community's turn to help Bambi, with an unforgettable send-off to honour an unforgettable entertainer.

Darren will be laid to rest at Tangoio Marae in Napier tomorrow (Sunday) at 11am. Then, a Memorial Service will be held at St Matthew-in-the-City in central Auckland on Sunday 15 June from 4:30pm, followed by an elaborate remembrance party at the Crest Hotel on K' Road.

The Cartier Bereavement Charitable Trust - a charity which helps with funding funerals for those lost to HIV-related illnesses - will assist with funds for the Memorial Service.

Rest in Peace our fabulous friend Bambi.

Matt Akersten - 31st May 2008