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Sunday 11 October 2015

Miss Capital Drag 2015: Mama DeZiyah

Posted in: Performance
By Jacqui Stanford - 7th June 2015

Mama DeZiyah is the winner of Wellington’s Miss Capital Drag 2015. She tells us how much it meant to her to have her supportive family in the crowd cheering her on – and shares a challenge for the community.

Photos by Freya van Alphen Fyfe

What does it mean to you to win?
For me, this is an affirmation that I'm doing right by the audience. Obviously without an audience, I'm just a boy in lady's clothing and so I really try and pay attention to the needs and wants of the audience. Winning says to me that I'm at least on the right track.

How tough was the competition?
Oh, the other competitors were brilliant. The majority of them were relatively new to the world of drag and yet they were more professional that many of the more experienced queens that I know. In reality, any of us could have won, I just got lucky.

What are your favourite moments from the night?
My mother,
Grandmama DeZiyah, sitting in the front row bawling her eyes out and the hug from her when I won. Her pride in me was amazing and I'm very lucky to have such a supportive family. Also, for the first time since many people can remember, the competition ended in a tie. It was between myself and Stephii Onassiss. To break the tie, we had to lip-synch against each other. I have so much love and respect for Stephii and lip-synching against her was so much fun that I almost forget it was a competition.

Also, the audience chanting my name and the crowning. I'll never forget any of this.

When did you get into drag?
Almost four years ago.

What is it about the art form you love so much?
It's a chance to perform. It's a way of pushing boundaries, having fun, being silly and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to entertain strangers and hopefully take their mind away from everyday problems, if only for a little while.

Who are your drag inspirations?
She's not a drag queen, but Broadway legend Patti LuPone is my biggest inspiration in terms of performance. Theatre is where I get most of my inspiration. Also Ursula from The Little Mermaid.


What do you do outside drag?
I do a lot of theatre (I'm actually in rehearsals for a production of Rent right now.) I'm a dildo and lube peddler, I read heaps, smoke too many cigarettes, eat ridiculous amounts of junk food and have a serious Raro addiction which should probably be addressed.

What's your message to the LGBTI community?

I'm going to get on my pretentious soap box here.

Dear LGBTI community, you are my focus, my passion and my home. I love you so much but we seriously need to sort our crap out.

There is far too much focus on sex, beauty and money and it needs to be assessed. We are not an inclusive community and we should be.

I remember far too well being young gay and feeling too fat and ugly to be on the scene. I'm worried for future generations of chubby kids who feel ignored because their looks don't match up to your ideal of beauty.

This judgmental attitude, along with categorising people into subgroups (bear, twink, etc) is problematic. We are supposed to be one community and I think that somewhere along the way we've forgotten that.

We should be focused on making our community a safe, inclusive group where fat kids can be fat and still feel beautiful.

That's all, I love you.

Jacqui Stanford - 7th June 2015

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