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Real Life

REAL LIFE: "I'm a country drag queen!"

Nicholas Gerardi, aka Ivana Kabab, from Geelong in Victoria, reveals what it's really like being a drag queen in the country.

By Laura Masia
My body dripped 
in shimmering rhinestones as 
I stepped on stage in front of the packed room.
"How are we all doing tonight?" I called in a sing-song to the crowd of punters.
My smile didn't fade as only a small murmur came from the crowd. I've just got to warm them up a bit, I thought.
As a drag performer for over 13 years, I was used to working the room, and sometimes it took a couple of songs for
the crowd to get into the groove.
Giving people a night of fun and glitz is what it's about for me
I got into position on the stage as a Kylie Minogue tune blared from the speakers.
"We're golden, burn like the stars, stay golden," I lip-synced to the audience, my blue hair casting flickering shadows 
over the audience as I twirled in circles.
Soon, the room was on their feet, singing and cheering.
It wasn't the usual performance my talented sidekicks, Ego and Karmen Foyer and I, did each week.
We'd travelled an hour from Geelong to Warrion, Vic, a little town in the sticks with a population of 198.
My sulphur- crested cockatoo costume
With a full face of make-up, we drove up, unsure of what to expect.
I'd first agreed to perform when the owner, Rick, called me.
He'd been trying to get a drag show in his venue, The Ti-Tree Hotel, for months but most performers told him it was too far to travel.
"The locals haven't seen a drag show before, ya see," he explained to me.
That only made me more excited. 
I couldn't wait to show them 
the glitz and glamour.
I can't wait to bring the act back to the bush photo credit: taylor phoenix photography
"Let's do it!" I said excitedly, roping in a couple of my pals.
When we arrived at the hotel, it was a far cry from the packed city venues we were used to.
Instead of a colourful crowd in 
a club, we saw blokes in checked shirts and Akubra hats, and women dolled up to the nines.
But that didn't stop us from putting on a show, performing songs and joking with the punters.
As the night went on, the crowd sang, danced and cheered with us.
At the end of the night, we mingled with the crowd, taking selfies and getting to know them better.
"Great show, ladies!" said one of the blokes, slapping us on the back.
I love the colour, 
glamour and fun!
One lady named Joy, clutched my arm gently.
"This was the best show I've seen in years," she told us. "I have cancer and checked myself out of hospital just so 
I could come see it."
I was touched, bringing her in for a big hug.
That night we drove home with our hearts full, and we can't wait to do it again.
Our drag act is such a positive, fun, hilarious art form that 
it shouldn't just be the city's hidden secret and I intend on performing all over Australia for years to come.

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