10 March 2023

Rose Quartz promises an 'extravaganza' at the Wollundry Drag Pageant

| Chris Roe
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Jojo Zaho and Rose Quartz

Guest judge Jojo Zaho and Wagga’s Rose Quartz will host the Wollundry Drag Pageant on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Wagga’s queen of drag, Rose Quartz, is back in the Riverina for Mardi Gras weekend and looking forward to introducing a new generation of performers at the Wollundry Drag Pageant crowning at the CSU Riverina Playhouse.

Rose will turn 10 this year and her alter ego Dwayne Sibraa says establishing a drag pageant in Wagga is something he’s extremely proud of.

“It’s my little love child, it’s my baby and it’s kind of the whole reason I got into drag back in, oh my God, 2013!” he laughs.

“That was at an amateur drag pageant in Albury Wodonga and I went back three years in a row until I won it and that’s how I started in drag.”

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Dwayne says that at that time there were no opportunities to perform in his hometown, so it became a mission to build a drag scene in Wagga.

“It was the pageants and the little drag competitions that really got me into it, so I wanted to give that back to my community, so I made it happen and it seems to be getting more and more successful,” he says.

“Part of what I do with my mentoring role with the whole pageant is letting these kids know where Rose started because no one in Wagga saw those early performances.

“And now Wagga can’t get enough of me!”

Drag Queen

Rose Quartz then and now, 10 years on from her debut at an amateur drag pageant in Albury Wodonga. Photo: Rose Quartz.

The event, crowning the next Wollundry Drag King or Queen, includes guest judge Jojo Zaho who starred in the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under.

“We have the best of the best in Australia for drag excellence coming down to judge the pageant, which is awesome,” Dwayne says.

“But the focus of the show is local, and that’s really important because we only put up people from Wiradjuri country to perform in the pageant.

“People can expect a fabulous extravaganza and just a really good fun show.”

While it was the kings who dominated last year’s pageant, Dwayne says the queens have stepped up.

“We have one king and six queens, which is the opposite of the last time we had one queen to five kings,” Dwayne says.

“So seven entrants in total featuring a First Nations queen as well as a neuro-divergent queen, which is really exciting, and I’m hoping the community will get behind them and be really, really supportive.”

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Reflecting on the growth of the Wagga Mardi Gras and community acceptance of queer culture, Dwayne says it’s been a long journey.

“It’s taken a lot of different people walking the path to get here, and I think more than anything, society is ready,” he says.

“I remember being a kid in the early 2000s and we didn’t even have queer people on the television until like 2006 with Will and Grace.

“But that was really big because that was my first exposure to queer people in mainstream media, so the world’s really changed.”

The Wollundry Drag Pageant is on at the CSU Riverina Playhouse on Saturday 11 March at 7:30 pm.

You can find out more and grab a ticket here.

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