Performer name: Randy Roy
Where do you live (and perform): Melbourne, Australia
Muggle day job: High school English teacher (full time)
Length of time performing: I’ve been performing since September 2017, so about 8 months
What you refer to yourself performance wise: Drag king
Why do you perform? Because it’s what I do. I know everyone says this, but to me drag is the culmination of all of my interests and skills and loves in life. I got intro drag from being a cosplayer, which meant I could bring my love of costuming and performing another character. I’ve also had a lifelong love of classic rock and related genres, and the associated aesthetics that come with the genre. I love westerns, which feeds into my “cowboy” persona, and I love music and love to sing, which I do as part of my shows from time to time too. Even in terms of my gender, I find it a really healthy way to express myself in a safe and accepting community.
How would you describe your performance style? Erratic. I’m not a dancer, and I don’t have the natural grace that a lot of drag performers do. I know that, and I accept it, and I use it to my advantage. Unless I’m doing a sung number, I tend towards being more comedic and over-the-top with my shows. I also the sort of person who isn’t really content to do the same thing over and over, so the erraticism comes from the range of different performances I try to do too.
What /who inspires you: In terms of the what? Everything. The things I like. Most of my shows are based on a piece of media I really like – whether that’s impersonation (Elvis, Robert Redford, Edith Piaf) or a tribute to a film I like (The Mask, Zoolander, Spy Hard, Fifth Element) or even an aesthetic I particularly enjoy, for me it’s all about choosing something I really love and making it into something enjoyable for an audience.
In terms of who: I do a lot of shows at House of Love, and that’s really been my growing place as a developing performer. There are so many incredible kings and queens there that I’ve learned from. I’m really inspired by performers who are able to just take the stage and have the presence to hold everyone’s attention with their work. People like Bumpa Love and Rocco D’Amore are two I’d say have that innate ability (although I expect it’s something that comes with their level of experience too, which I guess means I need more practice).
Sexy Galexy has also been my inspiration from day one, and finding out he was one of the regulars at House of Love, which I’d sort of just stumbled into, was like a dream come true. He and Rocco have both been so helpful these past few months in giving me advice and encouraging and supporting me. His shows are so diverse and so funny, and he really pushes the boundaries of what drag means, and what constitutes a drag show. When I first started drag, I was convinced I was going to be “the cowboy one” and only do cowboy shows, and I think watching and talking to him had a lot to do with how diverse I’ve eventually become.
There are also a bunch of overseas kings I think are incredible and inspiring, who are Hugo Grrrl, Julius Fever (who I don’t think performs anymore?), Landon Cider, and Andro Gin.
Some information about your costumes: I make all of my costumes myself – I think that’s one of my strong points as a performer, because it means that I can design things to suit the exact kind of show I want to do. The first outfit I made was actually a replica of Randy Jones’ outfit from the finale of “Can’t Stop the Music,” a pink sparkly cowboy outfit. I have a few cowboy outfits now – one based off Matthew McConaughey’s cowboy character in Magic Mike, one with lights sewn into it, based on Robert Redford in The Electric Horseman, and a kilted cowboy based off a Kirin J Callinan red carpet look. Aside from cowboys, I also have a bunch of mostly disco inspired outfits, as well as a few more cosplays (The “Cuban Pete” outfit from The Mask, Zoolander’s “Derelicte,” a zombie hunter outfit, a few sci fi looks).
Your favourite act (of your own or someone else’s) and why: There’s a Sexy Galexy number where the whole song is just him increasingly frantically snorting cocaine and it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
Biggest challenge as a performer: I could be boring and say time. I teach full time so I need to be very careful with my time management to make sure I’m doing the best shows I can (while also doing my job to the best of my ability). Being a teacher though, I actually spend a lot of time identifying my own challenges and setting goals to improve them – I keep a drag journal for this purpose. Boring, I know. So really, my biggest challenge as a performer changes between each show, as I decide on what I need to work on most at that particular point. Some examples include lip sync, better blending, more diverse makeup styles, not relying on any props or reveals, and choreography.
Some of your achievements: I’ve never worn makeup before so I’d call that an achievement. In all seriousness though I’d say getting to the Vic final of Dragnation last year was a highlight (I came third) as it was also my first foray into drag. I guess the fact that I can perform pretty regularly (presumably because the people booking the shows want me there) is an achievement in itself too!
Social media handles, any links you want to share: I post all my drag stuff at @randyroydrag on instagram
Something you would like to tell readers: I think it’d be cool to talk a bit about why I like drag as an art form in the first place. It’s so unique in that it’s essentially the performance, and the examination of gender. There’s no one correct way to do it, and in that I think inherently it is such a great avenue for examining what makes up masculinity and femininity. In parodying elements of gender that have traditionally been really limiting, I think drag is really freeing. Especially speaking as a non binary person that essentially had to “perform” femininity and being “female” against their will, drag has been a really healthy outlet to explore elements of gender expression, and to take control of that performance. Obviously like every community that exists there are issues, and I don’t harbour any ideas that I’ve found the ultimate utopia of free gender expression, but at the core of the thing, and in the community I’ve found, it has been good.