Kiwi drag royalty is performing in Queenstown this week for one night only.
As part of Winter Pride celebrations, Anita Wig’lit’s performing her comedy show, The Life of a Funny Girl, which she says is a chance to get to know her a bit better and “laugh at all the silly things I’ve done”.
“There’s four sections, we delve into me when I was a little boy growing up and how I used to love dressing up in costumes, to my early days of drag … and I talk about my life experiences now … and, of course, a bit of [RuPaul’s] Drag Race, it’s sort of about catching the audience up with what I’ve been up to over the last 33 years.
“Not only has [the show] been entertaining [for the audience], but I think it teaches them – subliminally – about a drag queen and how somebody gets into drag and why they would do it for a living.”
Having done drag for 12 years now, “one day I hope to get good at it”, she laughs.
But with a long list of accomplishments to her name, most of them alongside best mate Kita Mean – including co-owning Auckland’s Caluzzi Cabaret, co-founding amateur drag competition Drag War, hosting Warner Bros show House of Drag and appearing on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under – it’s safe to say Wig’lit’s well-versed in Kiwi drag.
“What I found is that 12 years ago when I started, before Drag Race and YouTube make-up tutorials, because we looked so terrible – speaking for myself … and Kita, to be honest – we had to develop these personalities, basically, and really be entertainers because otherwise we just had nothing to offer, physically,” she laughs.
“I think in New Zealand, it’s very apparent now that drag is multi-faceted; the rise of the drag king as well in NZ is really popular.
“The drag world has just exploded with all these different varieties.”
She says the catalyst for starting drag was stage show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which was the first musical performed at Auckland’s Civic Theatre after she started working there.
“I saw the drag queens and I thought they were amazing and the audience just seemed so happy and so excited – probably because they were drunk – and so I dressed as a drag queen; for our staff party, had a Priscilla-themed 21st, contacted the local gay bar, and the rest is history.”
And now, a decade later, making people happy is still at the core of Wig’lit’s craft.
“I love drag because it makes people happy, it gives them some escapism to just relax.
“I feel like when we were younger our parents used to tell us, ‘don’t be silly’, and for me, the drag that I do, it’s so silly, it’s so stupid … being silly is just so much fun.”
The Life of a Funny Girl, tomorrow, SkyCity Queenstown Casino, 7pm. Tickets from $35 + booking fee, via humanitix