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The new queen on the block

Tue 2 Dec 2014 In: Performance View at NDHA

Princess to Queen 2014 winner Carmen Dioxide is (by day) an inflight service manager, gym junkie, skateboarder and pianist, who makes her own outfits, and built up to the competition by watching an entire six seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race this year! Carmen Dioxide took out the title at Auckland's Family Bar on Friday night Matt/Carmen answers our ‘get to know you’ questions: How did you get into drag? It all began when I was living in Tauranga in 2009. The Tauranga musical theatre put on a locally written play, 'Fang revamped'. At the final night cast party, one of the ladies painted my face and put me in one of the masses of pink costumes the theatre had. I performed Donna Summer's 'Enough is enough (no more tears)' and my name was Miss Fuchsia. Suffice to say, Miss Fuchsia was put away and did not resurface. It did ignite an interest in drag performance however, and little did I know I would return to it a few years down the track! How long have you been doing it for? This question has multiple answers, which I will explain. In 2011, I started to get into drag with the help of people around me. My face was essentially a canvas, and different people painted it for me. Trinity Ice, Betty Ford and De De Vine were a few of the more prominent queens to help me out, including costumes. So I call this time my canvas drag era, and I did not really own the role as much as I could have. This time around, two months before the final of Princess to Queen 2014, I made it my goal to do everything myself. I beat my own face, sewed my own garments and owned my look. Watching six seasons of Ru Paul's Drag Race this year definitely played a part in getting me excited about drag again! How did you decide on a name? My name was actually given to me! Trinity Ice is my drag mother, and when she helped me to get started as a baby drag in 2011, she gave me the name 'Carmen Dioxide'. I love the name, so when I came out reinvented this year, I naturally wanted to keep it. Not only is it fierce, but it also has a great amount of personality behind it. #Co2 realness, increasing Carmen emissions!!! Who have been your inspirations? If I look to Ru Paul's Drag Race, I can safely say that Bianca Del Rio is my inspiration. Her make up style, her garments, and her sense of humour. The full package! It was also her that inspired me to purchase my sewing machine and start making my own stuff a few months ago. Within our local community, I look to the likes of Miss Buckwheat. She is my gymspiration, and her costumes are so glamorous! How high do you think the level of competition was? Well, I managed to attend two of the three heats for our competition, work had me away for one. But I saw the calibre of the queens and the effort they were putting in, and knew I would have to bring something different to the competition if I was going to have any success. This is why I came armed with my backdrop banner and theatrics! I have a big respect for all of my sisters in the comp. How much work did you put in? For the final alone, it was a hectic lead up. I designed my show costume, sewed and hand stitched it together. I then made four robes for my dancers, choreographed and blocked the show, and we rehearsed three times as a group plus a bit of one on one practice. I then made the back drop for the show, and enlisted some painting and stitching assistance from my flatmates to paint the heart, the lettering and attach the fairy lights to the drop. The day of the final, I ran through family sticking posters up everywhere and ensuring I was very visible to the audience. I styled my two wigs for mingling and show, and started putting my face on at about 4PM, in case something went wrong and I would have to start again! So not a lot of work I guess? haha. What does it mean to you to win? It simply means that all the hard work I put in has paid off. It also means I have managed to earn myself some more performance time, which is essentially what I set out to do. I love to perform for people and drag is my theatre! It really does mean a lot, and of course, the prizes are a bonus!! Will you continue with drag? Ahhh... DUH! Haha I am very excited to say I will be joining the queens to perform for the New Year shows. Winning the competition has just been the beginning. Breathe it in everyone, Carmen Dioxide is here to stay!! Would you encourage others to give it a go? Absolutely!! Drag is fun, and it's a chance to create a character who is completely controlled by you! As we speak, I am assisting my flatmate to make a move towards the next competition. Bébé Rose is going to have her eye on the crown!!! Keep an eye out for her in the near future :) Tell us a bit about your life outside of drag? Well as my day job, I am an inflight service manager, and fly to Aussie, Pacific and domestic destinations. I am a frequent gym junkie, down at Les Mills Victoria Park, and I occasionally skateboard around the burbs. As I live in the city, I probably eat out a bit too much, but there are always so many people to catch up with!! I play piano, and most people don't know that the NZSO have recorded two of my compositions, and one was performed by the RNZB in 2011. What music do you love? I will listen to almost anything. One of my favourite things to do is to go shopping, and while I'm out in stores, I will Shazam any cool new tracks I hear so I can add them to my Spotify. Specifically, check out 'Clean Bandit'. Great band, great music!! Who are your style icons? Bianca Del Rio, who inspired me to take up sewing, is definitely a key style icon. I also must point out Ru Paul's extensive personal wardrobe. She does not wear the same dress twice in all six seasons... I imagine her wardrobe to be the same size as my entire apartment!! What rules do you live your life by? Whatever you do, do it well. Be proud to put your name to things that you create. Certainly never let anyone's opinion of you affect how you are as a person. Be true to who you are! #Clichéspeech Anyone you’d like to thank? Miss Ribena, Kita Mean. The judges of the competition, and my competing sisters. My flatmates and friends for being so supportive and jumping up on stage with me. Family Bar and the stage I run around on, and all the queens in our community that help me with tips and experience. Valuable stuff all around!!  Jacqui Stanford - 2nd December 2014    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Tuesday, 2nd December 2014 - 2:55pm

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