Cupcakes and Beards
South Africa is a Drag
When I was but a young tater-tot making my way through the gay community of Cape Town, South Africa, we had two clubs (Bronx and 55), and one drag queen no one saw. So this year, after eight years away , I was invited to drag night at the new Crew Bar down in the village. When my friends asked me to join them, my reaction was that of a Power Puff Girl where the blank stare has the sound of the blinking eyelids going “poink poink”. So, off we went.
The top level of the bar was filled with Cape Town Gays and boy how they have changed!!! They all now look like straight surfer boys, and my first thought was “Why the hell did I move to Canada?” The show was hosted by a stand out performer by the name of Roxy LeRoux, who not only kept everyone captivated with the traditional drag queen sarcasm, but she also sang every song live.
I did notice though, that although drag is becoming a bigger thing in South Africa, there ain’t nobody tipping or getting their queens drunk the way we do. I made sure to lend a helping shot or two in that direction. Naturally, my charming demeanour had me pulled up on stage..twice. The second time was for a serenade and lap dance, but it’s okay, as in true Canadian fashion I returned the favour at the end of her show with Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake”.
So it got me thinking, and I got in touch with Roxy to find out how the drag community is growing within South Africa and how she came about as a pioneer for queens across the African Continent.
When did you start doing drag?
I started dragging it up in 2010 on a tiny stage at a burger restaurant called Beefcakes. I was groomed under the hands of a very famous singing French drag artiste from Poland, LOLA LOU, my drag mother.
What was it like doing your first show?
It was nerve wrecking. All my close friends were there to support me, which didn’t make it better, but I remember the applause and how it shattered my nerves and inspired me to get on that stage again.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
I know this might sound vain, but I draw my inspiration from my own life, the struggles that I have overcome, things that challenge me, and my own dreams and aspirations
How do you feel the drag scene is or has changed in South Africa?
Certainly since I started to drag in 2010 there was an awakening of drag subculture, especially in Cape Town. I feel it had a lot to do with Bubbles Bar, the first drag bar in Cape Town, that aided and spurred that process on. It created a home for the drag artists, a platform for one to practice ones skills and talents. It was a space to grow.As an established drag artist now working in Cape Town and running and hhosting my own variety drag show, I have Lola Lou and Bubbles Bar to thank for laying that foundation.
Where do you see the drag community going?
Well to the top, in a manner of speaking of course. Most girls have a lot to learn if they are to sustain their characters, instead of just ending up a fly-by-night in a one night stand situation. You have to have balls, perseverance and some strong back bone to make it in the South African drag industry. It’s small and its tough and if you get swayed by the bright lights and the attention, you might as well pack your weave and sissy on by. As a drag artist in this country you have to have depth of character and substance! I think that that’s true in any part of the world for anyone really, drag or non-drag!
Roxy has also done some great events and staged a charity event in aid of creating awareness around a very special orphanage for infants and children with HIV who were rejected/neglected by their parents. So she’s kind of the Queen of Hearts… in a good way…and yes South Africa is more of a drag…also in a good way!
You can follow Roxy LeRoux on Facebook HERE and keep up to date with this rising super star…
About the Author
Brandon Michael Lee is a Toronto based Award Winning Event Designer, Writer and Filmmaker.
He spends his days surrounded by his two dogs, cupcakes and coffee and one day dreams of having a big fat gay wedding. While on the outside, he is a fabulous and stylish gay man… on the inside he is a tool belt wearing, shelf building, Tori Amos listening lesbian. Oh and he loves beards and tattoos.