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Wendy and Melanie - 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 Charitable Trust have been turned into in pride in [00:00:08] I got involved, I've done six, I think and in two years where they were to say probably about four or five years ago. And fundamental, he got me involved. And she wanted me to do it the year before, but then said, I was a bit nervous as Oh, no. And then the next year, she said, I just kind of made everybody and soon as I've made everybody that was that was, yeah. And so I went and did that. And every rehearsal, I'd come home and just have had so much fun and windy, would hear about all that. And then after the fish show, Jonathan and Kevin MIT here, and they're like, [00:00:43] you know, why don't you come and be in the show? And I said, Well, I'd love to, but only if I can be a boy. And it hadn't happened at that point. So there are lots of boys being girls, but no girls being boys. Yeah. And so I think that they got a bit of a shock by that. And I think that they sort of must have thought about it for a while and got their head around it and thought actually, why not [00:00:59] that even that not that I kind of like, Oh, [00:01:02] yeah, yeah, yeah. And the thing about it is nobody really talks about the sexuality or the orientation, you know, any way throughout the, you know, the whole performance or throughout the lead up to it or anything. So, and nobody asked the question, because it really doesn't matter. We're all here for the same reason. So that's a really nice environment like that. I enjoy it. [00:01:22] So more, can you take me back to the first time that you went to see, to see everyone? Why were you apprehensive? [00:01:29] And I think it just sounded like a really big show. And I was just a nervous of leader. I can do it all. And being a girl like doing the whole drag queen thing? Oh, I don't know. But yeah, and I hadn't seen this show either, before it was in it. So yeah, I think it was the third one that I got involved in. And then I mean, it's amazing. And everyone was so lovely. And Dunn's and talking about what they were going to do in the show. And it just sounded so exciting. And it was it really [00:01:57] had you done any performance before? [00:01:58] Yeah, a little bit. I do the occasional Dolly Parton impersonation? [00:02:03] Yeah. Yeah. And I've done a few shows with other people on some hero shows and things like that. So yeah, but it's been a while before I've done that, since I've done a really big one. So [00:02:13] yeah. And so that first time What was it like? [00:02:17] It was fantastic. Yeah. I'll never forget that. That when you're waiting before the curtain goes up. Yeah, it's amazing. Let's go Wait, that first time was so exciting. And the audience just goes nuts when they see everybody. [00:02:29] So can you describe what it's like when that couldn't goes on? [00:02:34] Oh, it's heart beating and it just takes your breath away, really, because you ready for the curtain to go up. But you're not ready for the screaming and the applause and everything that comes before even done anything. That's just amazing. And just a real rush. It's a real rush. [00:02:51] And so you obviously got the bug after the first performance. And [00:02:54] once you've made friends with everybody, so let's just want to go back every year and yeah, reunion ever. Yeah, cuz you do it has about three or four months of sort of seeing each other reasonably regularly. And then you don't see each other till the next year. So this sort of eight months in between we, I mean, you see each other occasionally, but it's not. It's not Yeah, you don't see everybody says, [00:03:14] like, seriously, we're kind of like a calm down period after the performance. We're kind of empty. Yes. [00:03:23] Absolutely. Because it's so full on leading up to the actual performance. And then after it's nothing, yeah. And then you just sort of think, you know, there's something missing in your life for a while, and then you sort of ease back into your normal routine. But then look forward to the next one. Think about what he gave. [00:03:39] You will come and go through the process of like, how far out before the performance to start rehearsing? And take me through what that actually involves? [00:03:49] Well, this is usually a quite a few meetings before we actually start the full on rehearsal, which is probably about three months out the following or his song. So we meet up sort of periodically. Maybe this is something that's what we start meeting up. Yeah, yeah. And then it's just sort of, I don't know, maybe six weeks? Yeah. Six weeks of to rehearsals awake. So it's quite intensive once you start. Yeah. Wednesday and Sunday night. Yeah. And then you've also got, you know, if you're part of one of the actors, then you've got to sort of commit to those rehearsals as well. So it can be anywhere up to sort of for his was a week. Yeah. Some of the guy for a couple of hours at a time and but he's just sort of like, Oh, look, you know, it's any sort of six, eight weeks out of my life, and it's such good fun. Yeah, it's fine. That's actually a really cool commitment. [00:04:34] So how do they make it such good fun? [00:04:37] Oh, it's just just the people. [00:04:40] I think can you get a whole lot of Queens in the room? [00:04:47] My favorite was learning how to walk when it was before windy. Okay, when they got a guy and teachers models, and he was gay. He was fantastic. He did the girls walk and then he taught was teaching the boys was headed to the boys vote, but saying some of the girls trying to walk in the heels for the first time and just yeah, this is fantastic. I haven't laughed that much in ages. That's why reindeer thinks she could never be girl because she can't walk in the hills. We cannot all the boys think she should be girl. Just one time. [00:05:17] Yes, I have that much respect for them. You know, I didn't think I could do it. I [00:05:23] couldn't get my head around it. [00:05:23] So they were in he was in rehearsals. Yeah. [00:05:28] But sometimes, yes. Some of these beautiful shoes on and are probably wearing, you know, I paint Kevin shorts and T shirt. Cute. [00:05:41] So what else happens at rehearsals? How did they work? [00:05:43] Jonathan's got a clear plan [00:05:47] on what we need to get through. So I mean, he's he's very good at making sure that we sort of, you know, meet our commitments every time we turn up. But it's usually we get there we have a bit of a gathering, we say get a then he says okay, I mean, it's a one's on until he basically sees not. That's that's enough rehearsal, and we'll see you next [00:06:05] cup of tea and biscuits in the middle. And try to avoid that I can figure out [00:06:13] hanging out for the cigarette capital. [00:06:17] So what how would you describe Jonathan's directing style? [00:06:21] I think that he's kind of a fan. But fear Dorito. I think he's great. He knows that his job that needs to be done. But he he's fun for people to have fun while doing it as well. He's he doesn't get out of control. He's, he's great. He's mostly entertainment himself. He's the one that gets us all laughing most of the time. And then you guys. Okay. [00:06:44] And what's it like? Because it's a very inclusive cast, you've got all types of ability. What's that? Like in terms of reducing when people obviously some people are going to be better at things than others? [00:06:57] I think it's pretty good. Now I'm really kind of gives anyone I had time to take some longer to get steps or whatever. And I'm sort of helps each other. Yeah. Yeah. Because there is always some sort of pretty professional dancers. But we might only have two of those. Everyone just so you got the front and, you know, [00:07:17] behind so yeah, yeah, I think everyone just helps each other out. Really, nobody comes down anyone else. And that's why we keep coming back. Because it's just, yeah, it's a lovely environment. Between us, and it hasn't been in all the years I've done it, which is quite amazing thing. Maybe it's something to do with like, attracts like, you know, you sort of come along to an environment you see whether or not it's a good fit for you. And you know, all the people that sort of go a disgrace gets along and don't think it would be tolerated. Even if someone was mean to someone I think everyone else would be like, you know, that's not cool. [00:07:48] So Wendy, when did when did you start competing for universe [00:07:52] I started a year after Mel cuz she always come home on a high, even if she lived in she was a bit tired. You know, having been at work and that kind of thing, come back and always be on high and would always hit, you know, anecdotes to tell me about what had happened that not, which is great. And I just thought it was sounded absolutely hilarious. And kind of thought, well, I've got to go and see for myself. And so I ended up here the year after is a boy Yeah. Yeah. [00:08:16] And what is the difference between being a boy and being go on stage? What? [00:08:22] comfort [00:08:24] lately cool. [00:08:27] I'm actually going to be a boy this year, because it's the final year, and I love taking photographs during the show and getting into your girl costume. And the whole hit thing and getting the makeup done just takes so long. And you see everyone else around, I keep thinking I'm gonna take a photo of it are there and you know, I just thought See, I want to do drag, drag and be Boogie. [00:08:48] Yeah, the difference is really in it. When you get on stage as a girl, you have to you're on the to perform because you're competing, you know, to the Miss Universe. And with the boys were almost like accessories, I suppose we we sort of not in a bad way, we help all the girls on stage. And when they do the catwalk of nations, we help them guide we help take them on stage. And with any of the costume dramas, we have to sort of be there and make sure that everything goes smoothly. So there is a bit of responsibility there. But in recent years, Jonathan's been getting the boys to open the show, which has been really nice, just means it is more of an impact when the you know, like Mel said with the curtain rising when it rises, it's it's just an amazing impact visually, from the crowd. So it's been working really well. And it's been fun for us to to be more involved. So [00:09:35] I guess assisting the girls, I mean, when you think of some of the headgear, which is some of us huge. [00:09:41] Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, some we've had mishaps on stage. I mean, they just can't be avoided, you just don't know what's going to happen on the night. So you just sort of got to roll with it. That Yeah, there have been a couple of incidents where he might have fallen off for, maybe someone's gonna take something out, or maybe they haven't stripped it on properly. So yeah, so this way, therefore, [00:10:03] it's amazing what people make there. Because no one really knows how to do it. You know, you get in the show. And then you've got to make something here. And I certainly didn't know how to do some of work better than others. I finally step up to Beckett's Peter. I said, I was in Scotland last year and made this this whole thing and it was heavy in my knickers [00:10:22] the sacrifices you have [00:10:24] some people is so clever. Just so clever. Some of the things I came up with, and I've never done it before. [00:10:30] Yeah, it's just amazing what we can't believe Hey, I've never done this before. But they've made things with all propellers on and stuff I need a lot. So just [00:10:41] so what what are some of the stand up but you [00:10:45] know, the one that it was Easter Island and it looked like a big mystery what it wasn't looked like an eastern side was a light in the way that it made the the frame of it that just the light when it came through. [00:10:58] It was just amazing. [00:11:00] But so huge. It must have been like two meters wide by about a meter high. And so yeah, just making the frame for this and making sure the light worked and just getting it all together and getting it out there on stage. It just blew my mind. I thought that's really clever. Really we're [00:11:17] actually getting that up on stage. I mean even Yeah, how does how is that handled? Not [00:11:25] often in sometimes I have to tune and go to certain angle and other people are trying to it's all and then there's all the rigging that you have to watch out for and [00:11:32] then everyone else is lining up to try and get on stage. [00:11:37] You know, you have to do that quietly [00:11:42] on the stage people and [00:11:44] And what about costumes in your favorite costumes? [00:11:47] Me you've got so many I've got so many least favorite costumes. For some reason the boys always we lists and Lisas Lisa's, you know, the way to go with Jonathan and you know, when you we will serve as treated topping it, I called it a loincloth. There wasn't much left to the imagination. So every year I just sort of freak out about what our costumes are going to be but then I feel happy about the fact that I have to come up with my own so it's kind of a bit of sweet [00:12:13] face Wellington place because usually it happens that is leading into summer and Auckland. And so for answer for Sunday bit of the queen of whole universe diet and in Wellington the first time it was midwinter, of course, I read open eating. And [00:12:29] every time we go to eat something I'd say loincloth to indeed. [00:12:34] Still when we got there, he wants you to Jonathan outfits shrunk. [00:12:41] So is there a special Queen of the whole universe? [00:12:43] know that [00:12:45] there will be subtle but we all talk about it kind of like you know, we know that the show is coming up and everyone wants to look the beast. So you know, everyone always talks about the salad. [00:12:55] Yeah, having to cut down. Yeah, [00:12:58] loving your girl is amazing. The things can buy pull you in. [00:13:03] Yeah, but worried about the boy, I'm definitely happy to be [00:13:09] here. And so are you making your own costumes and keep you [00:13:13] and for girls, you make your own heat gear and costumes. You either get sponsorship for people to buy them, or I've usually found them in shops and maybe sort of adjusted them or have hired a couple but there was more at the beginning. So now I have all these dresses delivered over here. But some of them are amazing. Some they spend thousands on the main like colon, colon, and there's two the couple and they get I think they get sponsorship from a shop over the store that does obviously ballgowns and sort of wedding stuff on it. And they incredible beaded things every year. So it just gets better and beta. Gorgeous. [00:13:55] Yeah. So do you think the bar has been raised? every performance terms of you know, what's being shown? And how I think [00:14:02] so? I think so. He has Oh, definitely. But with it shows sort of because, you know, you get more experienced the show you do so yeah. I think that people sort of always on the lookout, whether they're doing the show or not. So you know, you always sort of what's the word? I'm looking for scoping for new gays, we're Yeah, yeah. I think that's why the standard might have been raised. [00:14:23] And there's always someone whose outfit is bigger and brighter than your next Do you think I want to get more [00:14:31] attention, you know? [00:14:33] Do you actually get to see the show. [00:14:35] Sometimes, if you're not taking part in the second half in, you can go right up the back and watch me It's really cool. [00:14:43] But I've filmed it a couple of times. So then when we get to see it. And it's quite unusual seen it from the audience perspective. And obviously, if you're on stage, you don't get to see that. But so it's really cool. Winnie they always have sort of a main screening after the fact everyone gets together, which is another excuse to get together is another look forward to which is great. And we music screen. Yeah. Yeah. And it's great. All the comments that come out and people screaming and carrying [00:15:14] this a lot of fun. [00:15:16] So can you describe for me the process of going from the rehearsal stage to the theater stage, to your stress levels increases as a tense as? [00:15:27] Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think once you set foot in the night, for example, the center, you know, the Showtime because it's such a, it's a huge space. And when you're standing on stage, and looking at all you see is seats, yeah. And many levels of them. And you think, Oh my gosh, they're going to be packed the night that we perform, got to put your best foot forward. Yeah. But also Jonathan lifts the intensity, he makes sure that you're aware that, hey, it's three days, three days to game day to day days to game day or right, it's showtime. And I want you to have a lot of fun. But also want you to put your best foot forward. So nice combination, and everyone's going to be putting their best foot forward anyway, that years older, having a bit of fun and remembering why we're there. That kind of thing is usually two to three late nights. And so you might maybe Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so if you work normal, [00:16:17] full time. I mean, the second year I did is I took the Friday off because I thought of it. I just couldn't you're trying to go to work and the next day after being up to sort of good night the night before dancing away. So it sort of like, yeah, I think a lot of people take that Friday off sometimes now. If they came, just helps. Yeah, too stressful. Yeah. Because otherwise, it'll be really light thinking, Oh, you know, it's past my bedtime. And you [00:16:43] can you describe for me the kind of transformation that you go through when you're going through costuming and makeup on the day. [00:16:52] When you get there early, I always tend to go first, I think they like to do the, when they're doing the girls makeup, they like to do the real woman face, because I think the boys had they had to shave at the last minute and stuff like that. So you go through the makeup thing, and then just getting costumes on and depending what you hear is like just that sort of thing that will end up in the same dressing room, the real woman. And so that's good, you can always help each other out. And I think for the men, it would be a whole different ball game is just, you know, saving the least for the first time or that kind of thing. I think it's a lot of hard work for them to get themselves and put into girl costume. So [00:17:32] yeah. And it's different for the boys, because it's usually about sort of 10 to 12 of us and sort of in recent years, it's been maybe four or five women and amongst the boys. So we just, you can't be shy, that just sort of goes out the window. So it's quite funny the sort of secret home walking around in their underwear a little bit least. And we do help each other out trying to get dressed. And we've just sort of gotten to the point where the IKEA, IKEA, we're all there for the same reason. So [00:18:03] yeah, the binding thing is the girls mission to be boys. Find the right [00:18:08] thing to play with. And actually often it's better to get a guy to help you because they get it just right. Yeah, I did it. Yeah. I think we got enough on a whole new tangent here. [00:18:19] Okay, which boy, Michael? Oh, sorry. [00:18:28] We We We. [00:18:30] So that's the kind of the kind of physical transformation What about the the kind of emotional mental transformation? [00:18:38] For me, it happens as soon as we start getting changed. Thank you. So yeah, just like upon Yeah. And you know, once you get your makeup on, and once you get your costumes on you, you look completely different. And so you feel completely differently. You just sort of think to yourself, okay, what do I need to do tonight? One of the things that I've had trouble with, you know, just sort of mentally preparing yourself in that way, making sure that you know, it's just drive keep one step ahead. Yeah, all the time. So, you know, sometimes people have gotten lost on stage or a whole group of people have gone one way and I've gotten the other which is just hilarious. So everyone's got a big smile on their face. Continue doing the performance. [00:19:18] So are the big differences that you notice in yourself? Going from your everyday soft onstage? You know, does your personality your persona change? [00:19:30] Mine does us as you get cheeky, not naughty. Naughty? Yeah, yeah. [00:19:39] Boise Give [00:19:41] me one of the boys. [00:19:45] Ya know that mine, I've always said this thing. Being it. Every woman says vape and doing drag. It's different to being a man doing drag to character thing. Yes. JOHN Johnson often talks about getting into your character cuz I am a girl. So being a girl, it's not so far reaching. I think that's why this year I want to be a boys on. [00:20:08] I feel more on character when I do the drag that way. So I'll be interested to see that. Yeah. [00:20:17] Do you choose your names or they get chosen for you? You choose them? Yeah, until your names have been. [00:20:24] I've had a couple of my first one is a boy. But this one was nicknamed Dyck. And my second one was picked and bound. [00:20:33] Spain and adorable because I did it was to do with door being Picasso's wife because I did a big Picasso bullied [00:20:46] globally was really good. [00:20:50] Scotland, Scotland desert of Scotland. [00:20:54] Gosh, I own a lock here [00:20:56] was Scotland. [00:20:59] They tend to be North Sega root of the beater. We've learned over the years. [00:21:06] I've kind of made more of a [00:21:10] put the name up on a screen now. So you can read it as well. [00:21:14] Because sometimes the pronunciation doesn't quite get across. So when you do get to see it on the big screen, you see some people sort of quiet per second and the majors crashing. [00:21:23] Because my sophomore last year was to better fall off a sofa. And [00:21:30] you may have had very refined voice. So it sort of sounded a little different. But everyone was there. I think all his family were in the front row. [00:21:41] Yeah, that was a good one. [00:21:44] It's interesting. You bring up the audience. I want to can you describe? I mean, it's sort of typical audience what what is the demographic for it? [00:21:54] I think I'm not to Shawn demographic. Yeah. And get to see anything when you're, I mean, it's all just lights. So [00:22:00] he's a lot of the community and people's family and friends. [00:22:07] But I mean, as far as getting a feel for it, I think that because we've haven't had it in Auckland. So 14 years, I think that there is, you know, some people have been coming maybe for that long. And other people just sort of think, Well, we've been to one show, we don't need to sort of, you know, go to another, which is a shame because there's, you know, always something new happening. And I just think, you know, people just sort of came along every year that they'd love it just as much as they did the first time I saw it. But in Wellington, we noticed that it was different. [00:22:34] They were loud as the stage was a lot smaller and even louder, and it was just amazing. And you could actually see them, which was a bit of a shock that a lot closer. And everyone got dressed up and their own costumes and Wellington which was really neat testing. Yeah, really well. Really cool. [00:22:53] So what's the best part of the experience the whole pitch and what's the best part for you? feminism? [00:22:59] New, it's always fun just getting to catch up with everyone. But I mean, the night itself is always so great. [00:23:07] This the pinnacle for me. Yeah, the night and the fish when the curtain fish goes up. That's the pinnacle for me. And even [00:23:16] when it goes down is sort of like this huge sense of relief, as well as the A we pulled it off. And now we can go and socialize with each other. And yeah, but it's sort of an anticlimax next. [00:23:30] Here [00:23:33] it is almost all over with this is the 10th upcoming show. And and the last one What do you think about that? [00:23:43] So mixed feelings really sad, because it's it's ending. And it's been such a cool ride. But also good. And there, you know, Jonathan just needs a break. You know, he's, he's just a workaholic. He just I don't know where he gets, isn't he? But he's just amazing. And he's got so [00:24:03] many other opportunities that he needs to [00:24:05] focus on as well. And he's sort of been juggling those again, I don't know how it's done. So in that sense here, but sort of bittersweet. [00:24:13] It's good to go out with a bang. The team was you [00:24:16] know, he said, Well, isn't it Yeah, of course he is. Jonathan. [00:24:23] Just finally if you had something to say to all those people out there in the dark on the performance night, what would that be? [00:24:33] Say joy selves and [00:24:35] Yeah, probably say the same. Just just have an absolutely fantastic night because we're going to Yeah, this is the way it is. Thanks for supporting. Yeah, big time.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.