Robert Grieve - Queen of the Whole Universe

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[00:00:00] This podcast is funded through a generous grant from the gate Auckland Business Association, charitable trust, and brought to you by the queen of the whole universe Charitable Trust and pride in the.com. [00:00:13] gospel going back to 2004, Jonathan and Kevin, they were doing a show with one of [00:00:20] our work. We were [00:00:22] doing a conference, and they were doing a show there is Buffy and bimbo. And Jonathan mentioned to me, would I like to sort of get came up with this idea and said, you know, what did I think of it? And I thought it was a great idea. And I said, Yeah, I'd be into it. No worries. So and especially knowing he said, what it was, and you know, the charities that it was going to be, the charities was going to be Yeah, I thought I wanted to be in. [00:00:53] So the original idea, how big was it? How many contestants? And what kind of, Can you recall, that come to town, [00:01:02] it was actually quite good. I, I've sort of recruited some of my friends as well. So I probably would have recruited about three or four people and got them into the idea interested in the idea as well. I can't remember the exact number of people, but it was probably about 30 people originally, I'm not quite sure, don't quote me on that. But there was a lot of people in the initial stages, and everyone was really enthusiastic. And, and, and I think the idea of, you know, doing the rehearsals, and it was going to be, you know, quite a [00:01:32] lot of fun. 30 people as quite a number had anything like that being done in New Zealand before? [00:01:39] No, I don't think so. Not in such a big scale. Yeah. And especially also to with them with amateurs, you know, the word professional drag queens or anything like that. We were just run the mill blokes really and just wanted to get into a rock. [00:01:53] Was that one of the original ideas? Not so professional drink? [00:01:57] I think so. Yes, I think that was the whole idea. It was to keep it amateur. And, and not involve, you know, the more professional type of people because I think that would also be quite a put into some of the amateur people. Because, you know, I wasn't a theatrical person. And I probably would have felt that, you know, if someone was professional dancing needs to be in there, you know, probably would have failed, but you know, second, second, right next to them, so, and it was good, because everyone was in the same boat. [00:02:24] So what made you want to do it, if you weren't really kind of a kind of? [00:02:31] I think it was just, I just think it was just the thought of thumb, I suppose it was my only chance of sort of getting out there and performing in front of people really, I never probably would have that opportunity again. And, and also because, you know, we were all in the same boat. You know, a lot of people hadn't done that before, either. And I think that was part of the family. [00:02:49] So can you take me through the process of how the rehearsals, Winton, [00:02:53] okay, well, what what we started was with the show basically is it's sort of developed over he has been in the initial stages, it was a, an ektron opening where it was all of the all the girls, and they would, we would do a dance routine and have it professionally choreographed. And then we would end up having a end up at the end as well, we we have a dance routine at the end as well, that was an act one, then it started off. In the early days, we had a costume, a parade of costumes, and it was in the country that you chose, you would be a new national dress or something, you know, to signify that love the country that you were playing. [00:03:37] And then the contestants would get knocked out. And then it would go through to act two, which would be probably more the more professional side of of the people that are in the show that wanted to go through and do their own little skit. And then they would be judged by the audience. And then the eventual winner would be the queen of the universe. Nice days, it was a queen the whole Pacific in the first in the first one [00:04:04] wasn't called Queen of the universe. [00:04:07] Did they find that after the first one that was just too small? [00:04:11] Well, it's amazing how many countries you can come up with in the Pacific because it was the whole Pacific Rim. And, and I was I was Miss Colombia. But they were people like from the Caribbean and from Australia and the Asian room as well. And of course Pacific Islands. So it's amazing how many countries you can come up with. [00:04:30] So what kind of costume did you come up with from Colombia? [00:04:32] Miss Colombia? Well, I was my because obviously we have to come up with a byline and a drag name as well. And my name was Maria Consuela Gonzalez to Escobar and I was, theoretically in my byline. I was Pablo Escobar strange daughter, who was taking over who is dragging Empire from from, from Colombia, but I was living in, in Miami at the time. So that was my byline. And basically, what I had, at the time was, I had this read, I had this dress made professionally. And it was a red silk number, and it had big red, [00:05:08] sort of like [00:05:09] flowers, like our business flowers, I don't know what type they were, but they were big red things. And I had this big red hair, big black hat with all these red poppies over it, signifying the drugs. And, and then I had a little and then I have done, I put icing sugar around my nostrils and things like that. So that was, that was my idea of sort of Miss Colombia at the time on the inside a nice and I had a pellet gun, as well. It applies to gun takedown my breath. So that was in the first show you [00:05:41] Do you have any techniques for choosing direct names? [00:05:45] Well, it's funny, actually, I do actually have quite a good way of I've chosen quite a few names for people in the show, they always seem to come to me with some ideas. And I probably would look at what country they're playing first. And then I sort of do a play on it as well. And, you know, some of the names that have come up with was a friend of mine, Shane, he was Miss turkey one year, and I came up with Danica babe. [00:06:11] And there was one Miss Poland, cut your toenails. And just, you know, sort of come up with sort of different, you know, linked to the country's [00:06:21] Yeah. Can you recall what the feeling was? Mike, when you first went on stage in that first performance? [00:06:28] Yes, I can. It was amazing. Jonathan always says, you'll never forget the feeling that you have when the curtain goes up. And just that roar of the audience. And the first show was at the sky city. And it was and I remember, we were standing there and in a row waiting for the curtain to go out. And my leg just wouldn't stop shaking. It was just amazing. My my leg, I couldn't stop shaking. And [00:06:56] when that could wind up just the roar of the audience and you know, the lights going on, as she just can't describe it was just euphoric. It was just, it was amazing. Yeah. And everyone was the same. Everyone was all nervous, you know, as the years have progressed, and that, obviously, it's not, it's not as exciting now. But you still get that thrill when when the curtain goes up, you know? Because I wonder what it would be like, you know, sitting in the audience watching us, you know, just to see when the curtains go up, you know, what it actually looks like? And when we've seen the, you know, the videos afterwards, and then it must be amazing to be in the audience and just with just when the curtain goes up. [00:07:32] So you've never actually sat on the [00:07:33] audience and sat in the audience? No, no, I've done every show. And this, obviously, is the last one. And I'll probably have to hang up my high heels after this one. But But who knows, something might come come around that first show open, [00:07:45] what was the [00:07:47] gosh, [00:07:49] I can't remember I know we had the song was, I'm every woman. And also, I am what I am, was one of the opening numbers. And remember, we rehearsed it for weeks and weeks and weeks. And you know, you'd be standing in the supermarket and you'd hear it and you just automatically almost break into, you know, the dance routine, you know, and it still happens now, after all these years. Because you get to know when you're rehearsing, you get to know the song so well. And the dance moves, you know, and we were at a party [00:08:18] must have been at the last show. And we did poker face, and poker face came on, they were playing. And there were three or four of us there from the show. And we just automatically got up and just did this dance routine in the middle of the party. It was like a flash mob. But But yeah, that was a lot of fun. [00:08:34] So the feeling from that first show, can you describe Can you can you kind of encapsulate what kind of feeling [00:08:39] you had from it. It was the, as I say, with the, the audience. [00:08:46] Because this was the first show the audience were so excited. And at the after show function, people were coming up, and they wanted to take photos. And we had a professional photographer here as well. And just the feeling afterwards, we're on a high. And we went through it all Gosh, I think we went through till about one o'clock in the morning. And then a few of us went down down to one of the nightclubs and Tana I remember walking down Queen Street. And of course, we were getting all festivals and things like that, because here we were, you know, a group of, you know, folks dressed in drag, and walking down Queen Street. So that that was a bit of a bit of a hoot as well. But you know, it's amazing. There was never, never any trouble or there was never, you know, you didn't feel unsafe, walking down like that. And I think people just knew, you know, we were out to have fun. And, you know, there was we didn't have any any problems can do. But it was it was and I remember we Gosh, we got home. [00:09:42] A friend of mine, we didn't get home till about 10 o'clock on the Sunday morning, we got invited to another party down at the Hilton. And, and of course, by that time of the morning after I'd been in makeup since four o'clock the previous afternoon, we were looking at attractive, and I remember, we were walking down, down that little alleyway down from the Hilton down towards the down towards custom Street. And it was a wind tunnel and it was freezing cold. And I'm saying to my friend, I said I just want to go home to be. And I remember when I looked over and I he looked at me and he says love you've got an eyelash on your cheek. So so we were looking very, you know, we were looking for where that time of the day, but it was a lot of fun. Was [00:10:19] the pageant always going to be an annual event? Or do the rest on the success of a first one? And then [00:10:26] I think you I think, Jonathan, because of the success of it. I think Jonathan wanted to progress it further. And I think also to a big thing, of course was the sponsorship and getting, you know, the sponsorship for them as well. And so that would have been a big, you know, if it hadn't been successful. But I think here that the idea was good. And I think Jonathan said rather than doing to two shows back to back, rather than just doing one big show, and leaving the audience wanting more, and then going back to the next year, rather than doing like two or three nights in a row or something like that. [00:11:07] But it's quite special. It's not because you spend months preparing for this one night, [00:11:13] it is yeah, it's a big commitment. It's two nights a week or sorry, Sunday afternoon, and generally a night during the week. So it is a big commitment. And you can tell the people that are there that are going to be really committed, you know, and it is a shame sometimes, you know, like there might be work commitments where you can actually make a [00:11:34] maker rehearsal. As long as you know, you keep Jonathan updated and negative. Because when you're when you're rehearsing and you've got a routine and you get used to standing next to someone and they're not there on the night, it does throw you out. And you know, some people, you know, haven't been there like two or three weeks in a row, you know, and it really does put you off when they actually come back because you actually used to you know, dancing next to someone or, you know, you might have a partner dance partner with you that you're doing of the routine. And if they're not there, it's actually quite hard. [00:12:03] So you to what did you What did you come [00:12:06] here to? Now I came in you to actually write them down, I was actually miss Greece. And I can actually quite remember my name now. But after saying that, but yes, I had at that stage I was I did day, what they called the body for life. And I remember I went with my friend and we tried on a costume at the beginning of the year. And I thought all this is this is the ideal dress that I want to wait for the opening number. So we ended up doing this body for life. And I lost about 10 kilos. And I put the streets on for the opening show. And it just fitted me like a glove. And it was so lovely to see this read sequined dress. And I look at the photos now. And I hit this long dark wig. And the makeup was done really well. And so that was that was the second show. The next year I was [00:12:57] Burkina Faso of all places. And that was at the stage when Madonna had adopted her little baby. And part of my stage prop was I had a little basket with me. And I bought the sum of all this ball gown. And I had a like a liquid skin I just went and got some material from one of the shops, it was just a leopard skin print and I'd wrapped around me like an African sort of Princess type thing. And I had this scroll basket and I went and got these little plastic babies from the young, these little black dolphins from the joke knock jokes off the costume shop these and I had these babies in this basket. And people would say I could hear you know, people afterwards after the show saying Why did you have a basket of babies or basket adults? And I said well you see the guys that you know that was part of the thrill that that was you know, I was supposed to be selling babies quick enough. So [00:13:58] just thinking about your shopping and also your work for for instance free shopping. How do [00:14:05] you find that we do go How do you dress shopping generally [00:14:10] I apart from the first show when I had my outfit made professionally. [00:14:16] I generally just go to one of the younger costume shops like this scene or someone like that the sponsor of the show as well and the girls are fantastic. [00:14:26] And depending on what country I am, I'll try and get it you know a theme to that as well. [00:14:33] I go into my shoe shopping lately I've still got my original pair of shoes that I got out an odor who when Saturday and much to the amusement of the locals out there you know these these lights in the shoe shop walking up and down and high heels and and they're bad. They're very well made and I've still got my original pair and they're still just as comfortable and I'll probably be wearing the machine as well. Little pair of silver slingbacks silver batteries Windex Have you [00:15:00] found over the years that the heels get higher or [00:15:05] well I'm quite sensible because I don't really like wearing the high heels because I don't want to end up with a broken ankle. But I do I do get amazed by some of the guys that we these huge big I don't know how they don't break the legs because the heels are so big. And I did buy a slightly higher pair of [00:15:24] heels one year and I didn't feel comfortable wearing them. I wore them for the opening routine but I had to take them off with the clothing routine because they were just too high. They were like really stilettos but they did have a high heel on them. But I didn't feel quite safe wearing them. So I ended up going to my old faithfuls which is still have a bit of a heel but they're quite good. [00:15:45] Does the choice of shoe ultimately your persona, [00:15:49] Rick [00:15:52] it does like these shoes they will paint and paint and bright bright red fire truck read [00:16:00] heels and I remember a couple of the guys they are they just look fantastic. And they were they were they were actually very nice pair of shoes and I thought oh yes I could probably be someone French or something but probably looked like a French tart or something wearing them you know equipment if I had fish fishnet stockings or something that the end the night another p two for one of the country's i was i was Miss Hawaii and I had this really bright, colorful, flowery pair as well. And they were fantastic. Yeah. [00:16:34] So your food performance what to do. [00:16:38] The next one after that I was Miss Austria. And sorry, I can't remember my name for that either. But [00:16:47] it was a Marie Antoinette thing. And once again, I hide my costume. And it was an amazing period costume. And I had a big white wig made and the wig was about must have been about two weeks two meters made out of Declan from the from the mattresses, and it was huge. In fact, I've got a photo of it here. And it took it took a night to make and it was made of white fluffy Dacron and I had Christmas decorations like jewels in there. And I had this Marie Antoinette dress. [00:17:28] The only problem was it was a little bit too heavy. And I got the wobbles when I when I ended up walking on the stage with it. So I had to be careful that I didn't put my head to to the side, you know, to have fallen off. [00:17:39] It also looks like it would hit your head quite quite [00:17:43] a bit. It was very hard to Yes, yeah. And that was the costume I took down to two pepper for the anniversary into pepper. And yes, that was so that was fun. Take all the boys had to take the down on the truck overhead gear because I wouldn't even bother on the line [00:18:01] wasn't quite up. [00:18:02] Not really it was actually made a base of camping net round in a circular cone. And then we just added all of that and glued it all on sprayed it with hairspray. And in then I just put like a meeting around it to keep it all in one place. Yeah, but it was a very good another shots talking to me. I don't know where I think after coming back it was a bit worse for we're so [00:18:26] do you generally keep your costumes? And I do? Yeah, [00:18:29] yeah, I generally get them. Yes, I've got a drag under my bed, which has all that stuff and that so I keep all my shoes and all the stuff they all the all the jewelry and everything like that. It all goes under the lead on the plastic container. It comes out once a year for the show. [00:18:45] So you don't do drag any other time. No, no, that's just just just for the show. [00:18:52] Some just wanted to you that we have a lot of fun and Canada, although insane that I did dumb for Christmas party last year at work, I did go in an Italian dress because it was a country theme. And I went as an Italian girl and Italian slave girl. And I got made up for that because was fancy dress and I got these traced and so on a prize. So that was quite fun. But that's the only other time. [00:19:16] So I'm thinking, looking at this photograph, and the amount of work that's actually gone on to this costume and headgear. And actually the amount of money that's gone on to this. I mean, that's quite a serious undertaking, isn't it? It is, um, [00:19:32] I admire some of the guys that spend a lot of money like you can do it cheaply. But [00:19:38] you know, I admire the guys that put a lot of money and effort into the costumes. And you know, [00:19:44] it's amazing what you can light spotlight and places like that and the to Java shop, and you know, Jeff's Emporium and there, you can do a lot of things quite cheaply, you know, you don't have to spend a lot of money on it, to make it look good. [00:19:58] But also to you need to how to be creative as well, you know, and I generally have to get some guidance on that as well, because I'm not the most creative people either. [00:20:09] So I need to sort of get some tips and what have you, too, especially, you know, for doing the work for Miss Australia, [00:20:15] one [00:20:16] of the young Steve who's been in the show, as well. He actually helped me put that together and gave me some tips on what to buy and what have you. So [00:20:28] when I was Miss India, just last year, I did a elephants, big sort of elephants here, once again made out of them can be made and sequence and jewels and what have you and and they came up quite well. And I remember I bought most of that from I think the $10 shop or [00:20:46] somewhere like that. Do you think the costumes have generally got more complex? Over the years that you've been involved? [00:20:53] I think so. Yeah. With the hit gear of nations that came in, probably I think about the food show [00:21:04] where we had to do the head gear, they have become more involved now. You know, people spin, you know, weeks and weeks on them. [00:21:13] I [00:21:14] remember last year when I did my elephant see it, I think it started about a week beforehand and did it every night. But you know, some people don't wait in advance. And they had become a very complex now you know, people they have lighting on them. Different things like that. And, you know, very, very clever. [00:21:34] What's the most extravagant one of the most [00:21:37] disturbing mine was Gosh, was some LSD one year when he was Miss Easter Island. And his dress, had a huge bustle around it. And it was lit up with fairy lights and had a big hit gear was one with a big easter egg on the top as well. That was amazing. And also miss France last year who went as well his costume was amazing. It was like a Marie Antoinette type costume as well. And that was fantastic. Yeah, there's a very, very creative people out there. In the show. We're so lucky to have their talent. [00:22:16] So after Miss Australia, what? [00:22:20] Oh gosh, after that, I was Miss Hawaii. [00:22:24] And [00:22:27] I was my byline on there. I was traveling the world promoting my pineapple based skin exfoliating, green. And that's how I made my money. And that I'd been the show since day one and still hadn't been reviewed. And, and my name was AC too late. And so and for that dress there for that costume, I went out to Idaho, and I bought a big, White Moon type dress. And a friend of mine decorated with some really bright [00:23:03] fluorescent children around them flowers and all of that. And I had a big lie around my neck. And I've been given out borrowing this amazing big red haired wig. And it just looked fantastic. Yeah. And, and and that one day or two. For that show. We did a Itsy Bitsy, teeny weeny [00:23:27] Jonathan and asked the people that have been in since day one to do a routine in the middle of the show. And it was the itsy bitsy, teeny weeny polka dot bikini and we all have to get dressed and swimwear. And then I would sound dressed up in this in this costume there. And and luckily it had a modesty flap on the front. And that was that was the lady that said it was taken just before we went on stage. Yeah, [00:23:53] it is rather [00:23:55] it is it's a yes. But I didn't wear the bikini. And these are the high heeled shoes. And I have a nice little paper flower on the toes on the shoes. [00:24:05] The coloring is amazing. Kind of color design. [00:24:09] No, no, no, no, no, that was just dumb. I got the I think I got the costume. One of the, I think save Matt or something. And that just happened to because you know I don't really have the physique to wear a bikini and I didn't want to scare people off. So I just wanted to have just one piece with and and that's actually a floral cap flowers on it. And it was like a swim cap with flowers on it as well. So that was that was a lot of fun doing that one as well. [00:24:36] Have you ever been in a position where you've dreamed up costume it's been made? And you look at it and think oh my goodness, I'm not gonna count waivers. [00:24:50] There was one it was actually the Miss I think it was the Miss Hawaii one when I when I when I had the the move. And I remember [00:25:00] standing outside on the back deck and my partner came out. And of course, I didn't have any wig or makeup on or anything like that. And here I was standing with a swipe move on and said to me says it doesn't suit you. And I thought well, no, cuz I'm not made up yet. So of course it looks awful. But then I went looked itself in the Marina. No, it doesn't look the beast, but no one's had the makeup and the wig on that did come up fine. Yeah. [00:25:24] You mentioned some of the founding members that have stayed with the show. How many are there that have done all the shows? [00:25:33] Gosh, I think now there's probably only there's only a handful, probably five people that have been in it. Pete some people have missed shows, and then they've come back the next year. But right from the very start, I think there's probably only about five people Max, if not bad. [00:25:53] So that just shows you know the level of commitment. And, you know, the people want to put into it. And I know that this year, there are people coming back that have gone overseas and living overseas and come back forward as well. So that's good. So I think it's going to be a fantastic show this year, really looking forward to what's [00:26:11] the kind of mix between people that have either done over a number of years in new people. [00:26:19] They probably [00:26:22] every year, probably there's about a handful of people that come in as new newbies. And, you know, [00:26:29] we're always welcoming to the new people. And, you know, we sort of tell them, you know, what to expect and what have you, and especially the people that have been there for, you know, for a few years in that and, you know, there's all you know, it's different ages, or different ages, different shapes, sizes, ethnicities, anything you know, but we all make everyone feel welcome. And you know, we're all there just to achieve the one, the one outcome and let's just have a fantastic show and have fun doing it. And you know, [00:26:58] and sometimes, you know, you might get someone that's perhaps a little bit more confident and dance moves and the others, and they'll sort of tell you on how you should be doing it this way. Or, you know, you should do it that way. which is always good to, you know, because there's some people that have to lift fake, you know, not everyone's, you know, fantastic dancers. And, you know, there's been times when I've turned the wrong way when is supposed to go the other way. And but you know, Jonathan says, Don't worry about it. He says, just keep going. Because the audience is not all looking at you in especially when there's a big group of people. Yeah. [00:27:31] What about reasons for participating other other wide variety of reasons why people come? [00:27:36] Either is I think, obviously, because of the charity side of it, as well. And but I think people just do it, because it's a lot of fun doing it. And you know, the rehearsals, and you do build up a friendship with a lot of the people you know, and socially as well, you know, and especially, you know, we have a lot of fun after the show. And and we sort of get excited for the next button at some for different reasons. [00:28:03] And the next one for you after Miss Hawaii was [00:28:05] I was Miss India. Yes. And that was at the time when Paul Henry was involved or embroiled in the India problem. So I took my My name is magenta Henry. And I was the estranged half sister called Henry. But I don't know where the audience picked up on that one. But anyway, that was I thought would be quite dumb. And so I was from Mumbai, and as a peasant girl from Mumbai. And so yeah, so that's why I had my Indian sort of injuries. And for that headdress, I sorry for my costume. I mean, I've got a sorry, because I'd never want to sorry, ever before. One of the girls at work was an Indian and she wears a sari. And so I got a few tips from her. And I went out to a one of the shops out and you learn and one of the Indian shops the I said to the lady, I said, I need to wear a sari. Well, they were all over me like a rash. The girls in the shop, they couldn't believe it. But this bloke would come in wanting to buy a sari. And I said no had to be purple, purple and silver, because that was the theme of the show. So she showed me this lovely, sorry. And then, of course, she said, Oh, no, no, you've got to have this interest, because you have to wear a skirt under it. And then you she showed me how to, to wrap it around. Because when I got home, it just went straight in one ear and out the other. So what we had to do is me my partner we had to he was he got the computer out the laptop and googled how to tie sorry. And there was a really, really good instruction video, this girl. And they we were we put it on the mantel pace. We watch this girl doing a sorry. But of course we had to stay in. So we weren't getting it all opposite to what she was saying, you know, you do it to the right and into the left in it. So we have a lot of fun that then we had to actually do that. On the day of the show my patent headed on his on his phone, and he downloaded the video. So we could still do it in the dressing room before the show. So we can so we couldn't figure out how to do it. So that all know, it's the last thing we need is to go and look all like a Roman toga or something. [00:30:08] So you said it was it was a lot of fun. Yeah. [00:30:13] The preparation on the day of the show. Can you talk me [00:30:16] through that? How that how does that work? The preparation? Well, generally what we do is the last couple of nights before the show, if the shows on a Saturday night, what we do is we generally have a full dress rehearsal on Friday. [00:30:32] Generally, what we do is, for those that came take the day off, and I've always taken the day off, and go, we get told a designated time to go. And we actually do the whole show as a rehearsal. Then on the Friday night, we have a full dress rehearsal where we don't have to wear wigs or makeup, but we have our costumes on because obviously the stage director and lighting, people all have to get it all right, and the places where we stand and have to get all that right. So we have to have the costumes on as well. So and that generally happens on the on the Friday night. And it's always a late one, what we can do is because it's all very secretive, the act two girls, [00:31:14] there is the opportunities now that we can actually sit and watch the two girls do the rehearsals where we haven't been able to before. So it's actually quite good to actually sit in the audience and watch the enjoying their time. And then you get to see all the little, you know, flaws or bloopers that might happen. And so that happens generally on the Friday night or the night before the show. And then [00:31:36] on the Saturday, we normally get called them about [00:31:40] four o'clock. [00:31:42] And we get this a designated time for the makeup to have makeup done. And Jonathan generally organizes makeup, Phoenix cosmetics come in and they do all the the makeup for us. And we get designated a time. And mean you do it in stages in the makeup, you get all your foundation done first, and then you move to the next girl who might do the eye makeup, then you'll do the next girl who adore your lips. And it's like a conveyor belt. And it's amazing the transformation when you see people standing there, you know, in a T shirt and jeans and out and then they get transformed. And they get this they look wonderful when they've had all the makeup done, you know, because fresh makeup looks really good. And some people look so different and makeup once once they've been made up, you know, they look really glamorous, and you can understand why women do it. Because it just does enhance you know, the features. And you know, some of the the makeup has been fantastic through the years. And, you know, Phoenix have done a fantastic job. I remember one year we remember down in Wellington, [00:32:46] we didn't have the luxury of having the whole cosmetic people there with us. And there was I think I knew that one or two of Phoenix girls came down. And we had to do the makeup ourselves. But we had to do the foundation and all of that. And that was a bit of a struggle. But but we got there, you know, they put a chart up on in front of the mirror of what the eye makeup to look like. And, and and then they were the just to sort of do all the final touches on it. So that was a real sort of, you know, learning curve for us all to actually do our own makeup. [00:33:17] Do you find that a transformation actually occurs on people's personality as they go through that makeup line? [00:33:25] Oh, I think so. Yeah, people, it's some a really good friend of mine. [00:33:30] Who since passed away, he was amazing. We used to laugh and we just had so much fun, because he was such a girl when he was normal. And then as soon as he got dressed and drag and had makeup on, he went all Butch. And it was funny. It was just, it was just like a total total transformation. And oh yes, and another friend of ours, he couldn't wait when you saw him during the day to call rugby rugby bloke loved his rugby, sports and everything. Then soon as he got into a frock, he just had a total transformation. And he just became this pouting, couldn't wait to put makeup on and jewels and everything. And it was just a total transformation. It was so funny. And, you know, we do have some laughs You know, in the change in the in the dressing rooms and it before the show, we do have laughs It's that's I think, you know, a lot of fun as well. [00:34:22] Does that happen with you that kind of transfer mental transformation? [00:34:25] Not really. No, no, I stole them. You know, I laugh because I say to people don't don't forget, I'm still actually a bloke. And all of this, you know. And, you know, and it is it is funny, you know, you might be sitting there in the dressing room, and you'll be calling on your tights, and you'll say, Oh, no, I've got a letter, or something like that, you know, or a snake did on my toenail. [00:34:47] Or something like that. So, you know, there's always things but now I don't sort of have a personality change or anything you do can put up a bit, I think. And, you know, [00:34:57] and a lot, a lot of the straight guys in it. They just love it. You know, they just love all the you know, the attention and the it and yeah, it's a lot of fun. How does [00:35:08] the technical crew of a future react? Because I mean, both technicians are part of a theater. [00:35:15] That's right. Yeah. And we don't really have a lot to do with the with the technical guys. [00:35:21] When we're not actually rehearsing obviously, we're not allowed to be on the stage. Because especially like if the two girls are racing and what have you with an ash with harsh conditions. [00:35:33] But we don't have a lot to do with the technical. The guys in the theater, I know, they're they're all, you know, very, very good. And, you know, they have the odd giggle factor, you know, when they see us come and then when we all come in and drag, and they say, because, you know, they've seen us, you know, at the rehearsals when we just raised in jeans and T shirts and sneakers. And then we come in on the Saturday, Saturday night, and we've just had this total transformation, you know, and you can see them bookings. Now who were you can't remember what you look like in your in your day here. [00:36:00] Do you find that hard on stage as well? [00:36:03] actually trying to identify people? [00:36:06] You do? Yes. When when we're all made up and you know, we're standing pips waiting for the curtain to go up. And then you'll, you'll look at someone and you'll think, oh, you said over there. And of course you forget what they actually look like. And because that they do they just transform and [00:36:22] especially with wigs and in costumes, and that, you know, people do look totally different and rare. Yeah. There was some there was one guy who he came one day to rehearsals. It was on a Sunday afternoon. And he had come in Drake. [00:36:43] And we were talking to us in you know, doing the rehearsals and I said to my friend that was standing next to me. I said, please head over the ISIS. And they said oh, that's such and such company what his name was it Oh, he that's the guy that always comes in his own screen the old clothes on a wooden that night in here. He was on the Sunday afternoon and it's full Greg, and you will not know that who it was. It was amazing. [00:37:07] You're in a remarkable position having been in or the queen of the whole universe. And I'm just wondering if you can reflect back on some of the highlights some of the oddest moments, some of the funniest moments. [00:37:22] I think we always have something in a show that always tends to stick in your mind. [00:37:29] I remember in the first show, [00:37:33] my very good friend who I mentioned earlier, he was Miss Easter Island. [00:37:39] And he had his for his head gear was a mess. It was made of foam rubber. But it was one of the Easter Island monoliths. And how did we made it was [00:37:54] if it had sort of like fake grass all around the bottom of it as part of the head gear in this thing. From the back when we were while we were standing to go on the stage, the guy that was standing behind him, and then I was standing behind him. I heard him say, Why is he wearing a tombstone on his head. But it was just the way he said and I think it was because we were so keyed up about going on stage when I just took a fit of the giggles. And it was so funny, just the way he just came out in yc wearing a tombstone because I said no, he's Miss Easter Island. It's a monolith, you got to look at it from the front. And the other one the [00:38:32] the other one that we had, which made me laugh one year was when we were the backup. [00:38:39] Me and my friend were a backup with Mr. Haiti. And we hit he asked us he was an act to go. And we had to walk on with two balls. I don't know what I can't remember what the song was that he was playing. But we had to walk on with a bowl of dry ice. [00:39:00] Thought we'd all come out, you know, and then they added water to it. And we all we had to do was walk on the stage. And I remember we started and we walked on the stage and all I could hear was bubbling gurgling noise from this dry ice. And once again, we got a fit of the giggles as well. And it was fine. It was a very solemn song that he was playing. And I just and I just you know how you when he was trying to stifle a laugh or a giggle. And the more I tried to do it, the more it was I just couldn't stop. And I was just I remember the sweat was pouring off because here we were carrying these two bowls of dry ice bubbling and gurgling away on onto the stage. So that was one of the more memorable ones. And [00:39:42] I did one year I was [00:39:46] one of the shows one of the shows in between one and x two, I had to go up on to a [00:39:55] date, always like a swing. And they raised me up way up into the, into the heavens in the in the show. And in part of the song, I would just come down and I was dressed as a priest. And I would just come down. And I looked synced the words from what the sprig I can't make the song but I looked singing the words that this priests were supposed to have seen. And then they raised me up again like this, you say? Well, it was so high in the top, you don't actually realize how high it is at the center in those in that stage. And it was actually quite scary. I had a harness on. So you know, I was I was okay. But I had to sit up there probably for about 10 minutes. And it's really high. And it was actually quite, it was quite scary. And especially when you know they they slow you down really quickly. And then they then they take you up really quickly as well. But that was Yeah, we've had a lot of memorable, you know, occasions on the show. We had one of the guys slept in one of the rehearsals and brokers exam or his elbow or something. So that was a big a big to do and one of the rehearsals and you had to give the ambulance. And then we thought that he wasn't going to be able to do the show because it was sort of one of the rehearsals closer to the young the show. But he managed and he actually managed to have a Sam costume made. So you can still have examiner plaster so. So that was quite good. Yeah. But you did you do have laughs every show has its laughs Yeah. [00:41:26] Coming up to the final Queen of the whole universe. Do you have any thoughts on it? [00:41:34] I know it's going to be a really good show. And I am looking forward to doing it. [00:41:39] These guys, I can obviously tell you too much about it. But I know there's going to be a lot of [00:41:46] past past things that have been in shows past coming into it. And and I know that there are people that are coming back into it from being enough from the past few years as well. So that's going to be fun catching up with a little those people as well. [00:42:03] It is probably going to be said that it is going to be the last one. I don't know what Jonathan's What if he's got any plans on what's going to happen after this. But I'm sure that, you know, if he does come up with a concept that, you know, he'll get the support of, you know, that the girls, the girls that have been in it, and which is which is great. [00:42:24] What's it mean to you? [00:42:28] I think it's just as I say it's once a year that this event that you look forward to you know, and [00:42:36] in the rehearsals leading up to it, as I say, you know, you meet the these people every you know, two nights a week, and you do but build up these amazing friendships with people. And the only sad part about it is after the show is finished, you know, you get really flat. And you know, because you think, Oh, you know, that's it over for another year, you know, and because you've been on a high for all those months leading up to it. [00:43:00] You think afterwards, you think, Oh, you know, it's all over. Now, you know, you have all that not stress, but you have all that excitement beforehand. And then it's just all gone after, you know, a couple of hours show. [00:43:12] But But you know, it makes you look forward to the next one. And what you're going to do for the next one, you know, so as I say, I don't know what's going to happen after the show what Jonathan's got in mind. So we'll have to wait and see. [00:43:24] Just Finally, if you had an opportunity on the night to speak to the audience, what would you say to them? [00:43:34] I would probably say, you know, thanks, you know, for your support over the years. You know, and thanks to all the other cast members, you know, it's been great working with them as well. And I think you know, [00:43:47] that we have to take a hats off to, you know, to everyone that's been involved in the concept, both audience and cast members as well. Especially for you know, raising money for, you know, AIDS awareness and all the charities that are involved with the show. [00:44:03] I think, you know, we've done a fantastic job, and, you know, hopefully it will continue

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