Jacki Byrd - Queen of the Whole Universe

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[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by the queen of the whole universe childhood trust have been turned into in pride in z.com. [00:00:10] It's about a whole lot of fun. And it's about dressing up for me. And that's the main thing. And it's about a great bunch of people who all like to have fun. And it's our opportunity, as opposed to five minutes of fame for total amateurs, and, you know, quite unique. I think it's not unique. But for me, that's the perfect opportunity to just go out there be outrageous, have as much fun as you can. And it's for a good cause. So yeah, it's one one. How did you get involved? I went along to the very first one, the queen of the Pacific, because I had a friend competing, and participating. So so. And I left the show. And so I just found out about it and into the next year. [00:00:51] What was the official like, [00:00:54] I've never seen anything like this. [00:00:57] And it was a long time ago. So I don't remember really remember the details, but I just remember the atmosphere. I just remember the cheering and laughter and the sense of community, I suppose. Yeah. It especially when you know, people are nuts when you have friends in it. And I think that's what Another great thing about it, because a lot of the crowd is friends and family. And I think that really adds to the atmosphere that was created on the night. Because you know, so much of this audience, not audience participation as much but this audience enthusiasm, like, you know, like nothing is it's fabulous. The audience really carries the event, I think in a big way as well, as well as Lucy. So you know, you're getting a lot of feedback, which is fantastic. So that's how I when I can't remember the actual format, but I you know, I think it was probably pretty similar to how it is now, you know, you've got big opening numbers, big finale numbers, and you've got the individual girls in between, you know, starting their staff and [00:01:52] getting all they've got. So when did it tweak for you that you wanted to be a part of it? I'll probably [00:01:58] when I saw that very fish. Oh, absolutely. I've been on. I love to dress up. I've always been a dress up, girl. I just, you know, any party. That's fancy dress, I'll be there. Yeah. So for me, it was just like, Oh my gosh, I want to be I want to get up there as well. I mean, I was terrified the first time just terrified. But exhilaration as well. You know, it's just like anything that you do for his time. I mean, I was high as a kite all night long because of the adrenaline rush. And I remember that very [00:02:24] clearly. Have you done anything like that? [00:02:27] No, no, definitely not. Oh, you know tiny little bit of theatrics way back when I was 10 years old at school or something like that, but nothing in between. [00:02:35] It's really interesting. The whole concept of the show we're it's open to any gender. And you've got boys been girls girls and boys a mixture. That's quite that's what special type certainly I love that [00:02:49] about it. That's not an exclusive at all. It's very inclusive. And I think that's essential. In today's society, you know, we're not just a you know, a queer community, we're part of the lot of New Zealand community and and I also think that it's a great expression of all the variations on people's not just their sexuality, but their expression and you know, because and I love that about it enough that we've got straight guys, straight girls who are totally comfortable and and have the same streaks of madness, I suppose, you know, can claim it all ourselves and the queer community. And the other great part of the show, and I think it I think [00:03:28] it's good for us to be inclusive like that. [00:03:31] So the first year that you were part of the show, what what were you doing? What role did you have? [00:03:37] The first year I was Miss Mexico. Hope I get this right. As the Virgin of Guadalupe Margarita maneater. Yeah. And that was the biggest one of the first year was the beast for me, because I had a fantastic woman called Justin and she did my costume for me. So I won. And there's pins and needles that year. Yeah. It was fantastic. It was great for Justin Justin Rashida, great time. And she made me this most fantastic costume. And she went down to Wellington as well, it's because when we set it up, right, because I was living in Wellington in as well. So I got dragged out of costume Ronnie gave me Yeah, and like I said, it was just, you know, the whole thing was just when you don't the first time. So such a huge grin on rush and not just adrenaline. But you know, you all the learning was dances for the first time and freaking out about the costume, you know, working hours and hours and hours. And being totally stressed about that. I mean, it did it for stress relief, because I was at university at the time. so busy, busy, busy trying to, you know, with my thinking brain. So this was a brilliant release from all about, you know, just, you know, working your body and been tapped out single not technologically but you know, doing a database that was really good changes because stress relief, different industries, and laughter was great. [00:04:56] So, can you explain to me how you begin to you to create this persona, this could because I'm assuming the persona wasn't need to begin with. [00:05:07] I mean, I think like a lot of people as soon as you put on a pair of sunglasses or in a wig, it's very easy to, to to help performers. I think a lot of the time to it's very easy for us to change episode. I think a lot of people have that other nicely feel like I don't, you know, I love to put on a costume to be someone else. And so for me, that's what it's all about, as well. It's, it's very easy to do that. Yeah. And the Virgin of Guadalupe was great. She's very demure and all that sort of thing. So she wasn't out there. Here. She was quite quiet for a drag queen. [00:05:39] Yeah, so it's just, it's, it's for me, it's just part of putting on the costume. [00:05:44] Not even the name. Where did that come from? [00:05:46] Oh, well, that's great imagination. I mean, people some of the names have just been outrageous. You know, you should read through some of the programs they just off the wall. I love that. Yeah. migrates manage, I think was my base name. Yeah. [00:05:58] In terms of the garments, and here is this something that you make yourself for you gotta dress make it tonight. [00:06:07] She wasn't a dressmaker. But she was a costume designer. And she's to work on things like Xena and things like that. So, you know, she had, she had the great vision. And she sort of sent me in the right direction. And we started making it together. But then she wasn't really available. So I ended up finishing it off, you know, and I couldn't believe that you could turn a real estate sign into something as amazing as us, you know, it's great. Can you describe it? Well, you know, the vision of Guadalupe, she's the Mary with the radiating sun around. So you know, that was just made out of real estate signs, you know, with stick on plastic for books, and she had a great imagination. And she knew what how to use, you know, really mundane things to create a question. Yeah. So. And, you know, one of the things I left was there hit the halo was an old stuff with fear lights stuck in that minute. He didn't show up that were on stage because the lights so bright, you know, it was it was quite quite a work. Life. It was fun. So I mean, the range of costumes has been incredible. I mean, I don't know if you've seen the show last year, for example, but some of the heat because originally it wasn't so much a hickey focus, it was just your whole costume. And then it shifted a little bit towards just heat gear. Well, it's not just he gave us the main focus. And some of them are just become, you know, totally amazing. Agents last year, for example, that was amazing. Student Cameron headpiece, it's beautiful. [00:07:27] So with your head gear, how did you manage to kind of physically move with it [00:07:32] up was pretty tricky. It was it was a backpack. Basically, it was a frame thing. So I wore it on my back like a backpack. Yeah, it was. It was [00:07:40] that wide. That was free to a couple of meters. [00:07:42] Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. So and I tried to duck down to get under doors and things like that almost walk on my knees to get around the place was quite tricky. [00:07:52] It must have made a choreography quite tricky as well. [00:07:56] No, because you're only wearing that for the for the parade of nation. So you will basically, you know, the dance and, and the huge works that [00:08:07] some guests do that I didn't. [00:08:09] So how far out before the performance? Are you actually preparing for the show? [00:08:15] I guess that varies a lot on on people's organizations close. It should be a long time, but probably never as long as you should. I mean, I'm always a bit of a last minute girl. So yeah, this year, I'm going to try and do it differently. I'm going to try and be organized. Because it just adds to your stress levels. Really. Yeah. And I don't want it to be stressful. I want it to be as much fun as possible. So that does take months. Yeah. takes months of your spare time. Because you know, of course, it's just what you do at home in the evenings. Most cases, most people don't get professionals and as mostly we make things ourselves. [00:08:47] And when you say stressful, what, what kind of stresses are they [00:08:51] offer me it's like, I'm not a brilliant artist. 30 Thanks. So I have to work out how to turn mundane pieces of object into something that looks fantastic, you know, looks like a party. Can you countries orange, you know, part of the national dress of your country. And so it's always a you know, stress. Stress says I'm trying to work out how to how to create something, so I'm gonna like it, but it's still a job in itself. That's part of the creative process. [00:09:22] Can you describe the rehearsal period? How does that work? [00:09:26] I love the rehearsals, rehearsals are fantastic twice a week, normally in the evenings or the afternoon, Sunday afternoon, Wednesday nights. [00:09:33] And they're just so much fun. And I love working with a group of people, you know, working out that retains and the choreographers that we have come in and teach us fantastic. And you know that turning people who can't dance for shared something that people like enough on stage to you know, pay money and laugh collectively. And so, you know, hats off to them, they do a fantastic job. We try it. We know we work hard, we do the best we can but none of us were efficient as as you know, the occasional time that we've had, you know, professional dancers on there. It's like, Oh, it's fabulous. We love them. We love them. We just like so talented and want to stand right behind them. So yeah, I love I love the rehearsal stick right there. It's a beautiful way to get to, you know, get to know a group of people. And I guess one of the kind of other sides of things is to me, I love the Uber femininity of it. Like I The reason I am tired, I don't want to be a drag queen is because I want to try to outfit the boys who are trying to be as feminine as possible, you know. So here I am. As a woman dressing up as a man is dressing up as a woman, you know, I don't exactly know how to do it, but I love it. I love to try to be you know, the female and just, you know, just over the top. [00:10:49] Can you describe some of the things that you would do to be that kind of? [00:10:56] Well, you don't have to do that. Like I said, it's just part of kissing and having fun and playing and playing but you know I love it that [00:11:05] that my tips are real [00:11:10] and omnivorous towards them of course so that's always precede me. I always try to get taller taller shoes because they always outfit me on the height and it leaks and normally much better than mine. And I bet Oh, well. least I've got real tits. [00:11:23] What's the highest heels? You've been? [00:11:26] Uh, I don't know. I mentioned some but I saw some [00:11:30] fish saying the other month that I last year was the other month was quite a while ago that I was detained to get on but I thought that that actually a bit dangerous. But you know, you go What? What's there? [00:11:40] But 26? Me? [00:11:41] Yeah, yeah. So yeah, try and get 20 centimeters. Not easy, but still, but they're all wearing 20 centimeters as well. So I mean, look how tall you are. Another 27 said I'm going to chance but you know, that's why it's that's why the heat race is so fabulous. Because you just get your height with a headdress. [00:11:57] Maybe this one's Can you talk to me about this the whole kind of transformation going from everyday you to stage you. Is there a difference? [00:12:09] It's a difference. Yeah. Yeah, there is. I mean, I I'm very shy normally. And you know, I don't I'm not an extroverted person. I'm quite an introvert. But like I said, I think and lots of us there are there is a performer who wants to, you know, yelling to get out. And so for me, that's an opportunity and the permission to do that. have the permission to be a little bit naughty and unsexy and extroverted. Yeah, I like that about it. But it only happens as soon as you step on stage, really? [00:12:42] So not in the preparation, not on the makeup modern? [00:12:46] Not particularly No, no, for me, it's just when you walk on stage. It might be maybe the party afterwards. You you carry it on and play around with a little about that nights. Yeah, this performance. [00:12:58] Can you recall when you first took part on the show, and that first moment walking on stage, what was that like? And [00:13:06] that was it was terrifying. And my heart was racing. And [00:13:11] extremely, extremely highlight that carried me all night long. And I didn't have to drink or anything like that. It was just like stayed up till dawn and just yeah, natural high. It was incredible. And I have to admit that I was disappointed the second year because I didn't give it as much. You know, I was like, Oh, they can do it was still the rush and the fan and the adrenaline but not signing stage. I remember that. I remember being able to we're really having sore sore feet. But not even hearing that first year was huge. So I suppose you do get used to a little bit, but not not as much as it's like routine or anything now but I do remember the adrenaline from the first year was incredible. [00:13:47] Do you have any things like rituals before you go on stage that you do or [00:13:56] not having have rituals, but I suppose for me, it's like, [00:14:01] you know that whole thing less is more. It's like I go for the opposite of that. It's like you can never have enough. You know, you can never have enough lipstick. You can never have enough Joel's you can. Yeah, so pile it on. I just keep piling it on. Yeah. But it's not a ritual, but it's just you know, it's sort of what my mind sits on the side, bring it on. [00:14:19] Can you describe for me the day of the performance and actually going through getting laid up? How does that all work? [00:14:27] I love I love this. That's part of the show that we know we get makeup and, and and all that attention. It's fantastic. It's so nice of them. I mean, it's not so nice. And that's how the show but it's it's like I say it's another one of those traits. It's another one of those special things that you get from it. Because I mean, and the other thing, I'm an artist, I've been taught how to put on makeup by the boys. You know, I'm not particularly you know, Dolly girl, day to day. So I like that you know, I get I remember the boys teaching me how to put makeup on a few years ago and I blush around here and shake up your face and let someone know it idea. It's quite funny that the boys teaching me how to do that. [00:15:04] Does it take a while the transformation? [00:15:08] It always takes longer than you think. Yeah, it's the girls are really great at the makeup. But you know, they've got a lot to get through. So we like to get into the early slots. You can relax because they go helpful either at the end. So it doesn't matter. I'm slightly Yeah, yeah, that's the foundation and you move on one fails, doesn't the lipstick and another test the eyeliner? Yeah, definitely production line. But you know, and that makes our faces all look similar. So you know, we are course. So this, the girls who have gone through the second stage, they often do their own makeup. And then I don't have to do that because I can't brush my and I can't wait my eyebrows down all that that's quite a professional thing. [00:15:51] What about the moment before the curtain goes up for the first time, and you're on stage? You can hear the audience in the front. What is feeling like? [00:16:01] Oh, I love that. I love that. It's the anticipation is fantastic. You know, but you know as Ronnie and as well, because you've got to try and remember everything hyped up. And but you feel like you're part of a community, you know, and you're working together as a team. And I love that I love that. You know, all of us are a part of the show that we you know, we are working as one spontaneity of it as well, even though it's all rehearsed and adapt successfully. You never know what what's going to happen. Jonathan and Kevin a fantastic and the roles and yeah, it's a great, it's a great team spirit, if I'm pulling together and playing the part. [00:16:39] What's Jonathan like, director, what's his directing style? [00:16:43] He's also I love how he is totally professional, but extremely relaxed, like, he loses every now and then. It just adds to his charm. Really? [00:16:59] Yeah, he's got, you know, he's got the big picture. But he's also flexible enough to let us be ourselves. And he wants us to be ourselves, you know. So it's a it's a great balance of keeping it together enough so that you've got a cohesive show. But letting us be the individuals that we are. [00:17:15] It seems to be quite special that something can last for, you know, a good number of years and 10 shows and people who keep coming back for more. [00:17:25] You mean, the crew or the audience? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's great time. Yeah. Yeah. I'm not quite I'm not sure. I sometimes I wish that was part of the audience again. [00:17:38] But I couldn't resist being [00:17:41] every year, I think all baby that said, but every No, no. Oh, no, I want to I want to do it again. I want to do it again. I mean, it's the same with the hero pride, you know, as soon as you as soon as you were in the hair at pride, you didn't want to just watch anymore. Why would you so much more fun to be part of part of it. [00:17:58] So what is the audience Swonk, [00:18:01] I suppose the route for not a fan, which is great, because that's what we are out there as far as well. And I love that a lot of people know, you know, a lot of people who can have people to know people are in the show, because I think it lifts the atmosphere a lot. Because we're all I'm sharing it with sharing it on a physical level, you're not just going to see a performance you're going to see a friend is, you know, or a friend or a friend, or part of your community as well. A lot of the time not always but [00:18:31] so is that a big feeling in the production team, the idea of family and of sharing and connections in the community? [00:18:40] I think so like [00:18:45] I was part of the open swim team. And so a lot of people that I some of the some of the boys who were in the show, as well. So that you know, that was a really nice connection, because I knew them from outside. And but now you get to know other people that you just sort of click with, who you never know, never done before. And I mean, I don't have close friendships with them outside the show. But I just love that when we see each other again, you know, you've got such a connection through the show. So I'm really, really close friends, but I do have great feelings towards all the people who are energy now you you really feel like you connected through the show. [00:19:21] Is there much bitchiness or rivalry that goes on? [00:19:25] I don't know if there is seriously but I mean, there is certainly superficially. But that's just part of the you know, this is part of the bickering and from the girls and the queens and yeah, Sydney, I've never felt anything serious. I haven't been staged, you know, for the second day, so maybe with a little bit more serious rivalry, because under the true competition, you know, it's not like that about it, too. I helped dress, one of the stage to second stage skills, and Wellington and I loved that as well. costumes were fantastic. And I just I was teasing stage, she didn't win. So should have certainly been coming up controversy about the winners. And that, you know, that's been that's been interesting, you know, because they are independent judges, and we've all got our idea of who should win. [00:20:12] And it's not always the same. And the winds probably got quite an [00:20:15] extra and the audience have different ideas. [00:20:19] Yeah. Do you have any favorite moments from the performances you've been? [00:20:25] On? Definitely the, you know, some of the stage. I keep saying stage two, but they're not there. They're the real competition girls. Forget third to stage to meaning. And the shows have been fantastic. That's, that's one of the tricky things as you've got to try and work out how to get as the audience to watch them. Because, you know, you meant to be backstage, we have our ways. And yeah, that's those are the highlights I, you know, the amount of effort that they put in, to the costumes to the story and things like that as and Miss Francis show. You know, with such effect, it was fantastic. His costumes are amazing. And I really admire that I really admire the amount of effort that they do. They put in. And yeah, and some of them have just been fantastic in the Scotland and you know, a few years ago, she was one of my favorites. And, and then of course, Miss Transylvania is one I missed, but I know I saw it afterwards. And that was just, you know, incredible. And lots of them loads and loads and loads to the second actors. As to me the highlight, I think, as you know, from an external point of view, for me. It's the song and dance and the dressing up. But I think about the rest of the show. that's those are the [00:21:40] highlights. So what was Scotland? Can you describe what Scotland was wearing and what they did? [00:21:46] Well, she has a classic tall beehive wig on Reno about five stories high. And I can't remember too much, but it was. [00:21:58] It's David, excuse me, wrong, but he has the best, best face for stage. It's just so expressive, and his personality shines out. So for me, it's his personality, and just get an audience. Right, really engaged and run on his side, I think. And [00:22:17] I just pulls it off. It's just a natural. [00:22:20] That's my highlight. You know, that's what I love about it. I can't remember the details. I don't remember details. But I you know, I remember bagpipes, and all the usual Scottish, Scottish things. That's the personality I remember. [00:22:34] So coming up is the 10th. And final pitch and, and I'm just wondering if you had any thoughts on that. [00:22:43] I think it's important that things don't carry on forever, same as sitcoms and things like that, you know, you edit things to have a natural life. And you have to accept this. I'm not sure about, you know, everyone will we to disappointed as well, if it doesn't carry on. So for me, I just like to take opportunities as their as they they are, and you know, this is perhaps the final ones. That's why I couldn't miss out because I know that it's one of the most exciting and fun things that in my life. And so, you know, for me, I want to give it all, you know, I'm really looking forward to really going all out again, and I know that again, like I'm all hours because I do feel like I've slipped a little bit, you know, and I don't like that. I mean, we want to do our best. So I'm looking forward to doing as much as I can is to put everything into my costume and to get as much out of as I can. Because if it is the final one, then I'll be said. Yeah, but I also think, you know, maybe there's an opportunity for something new to come out of that. And we do need to keep reinventing ourselves and the world is constantly changing. So [00:23:54] do you think for each performance, the kind of bar has been raised? Definitely. [00:24:00] Definitely. [00:24:01] Yeah, yeah, we, you know, we're always punching ideas off each other. [00:24:05] Wanting to outdo each other. And, you know, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Yeah, so I totally think the bad race all the time. I like [00:24:13] to think now ledge, performing in the artist center where you might have 2000 people. [00:24:19] I don't think about that too much. I just, you can't see them anyway. That's the lights. [00:24:26] Well, that's an interesting point. You know, like, if you had something to say to all those people out there in the dark on that [00:24:34] last show, what would that be? That's a good question. [00:24:40] I guess I want to say something like, [00:24:47] life sort. I don't know. That's part of it. It's just like, love short, have fun, and support and take care of each other. Yeah. Because that's what I like about it. You know, we are we are raising money for our community. We are having fun too. Here we are. And I so admire Jonathan Jonathan, for that for the work that he does to create the show and the community. And you know, it's an incredible legacy that he's created, not just things brilliantly talented. Love it, love them. Yeah, I'm not sure what I'd say to the audience, but I just want I just want them to know how much fun we're having and you know, that they can have fun too, and I hope I'm sure people everyone has fun in their own ways. But I think that's what I like about this. Like, take the opportunities

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.