Brisbane drag queen Sellma Soul electrified mentor Boy George and the audience four months ago with her performances on The Voice Australia. In two weeks, Sellma will take the stage at Brisbane Pride’s Fair Day. Here, the performer spoke to fellow drag queen Wanda D’Parke about growing up, getting her start in drag, and self-love.
Brisbane drag performer Sellma Soul’s sometimes dramatic life journey led her to The Voice earlier this year. Her journey sees her now in a very happy place, both excited and well-prepared for the future.
“I grew up in the western suburbs of Brisbane, part of a huge ‘bogan’ family,” Sellma explained.
“My sister is also gay, so our family enjoyed the reverse of the usual experience. It was my brother who came out — as straight.
“Our lovely parents are the most accepting humans on the planet. Plus, my dad is now a massive Sellma fan.”
As with many “different” kids, Ethan experienced adversity while at school.
“I rocked up every day to make sure the bullies got tired of picking on me,” Ethan explained.
“It made me grow up very quickly, and I knew that I was a good person.
“I didn’t deserve what happened to me, but it made me the witty, bitchy, and empathetic human I am today.”
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Ethan started drag after starring as Edna Turnblad in a production of Hairspray.
“After the season finished my dad asked me if I was going to become a drag queen and, as they say, the rest is history,” Ethan recalled.
“I paint my dreams and emotions and I have an image of who, or what, Sellma is on a particular night. I can’t really explain my process.”
Ethan described his drag persona: “Sellma is my icebreaker at parties and my broad sword in the face of haters.
“She is my armour, but she is also the power and strength I always possessed.”
Sellma Soul ‘wants more… and then some’
In May, Sellma Soul slayed her performance of Lady Gaga’s Marry The Night on The Voice Australia.
Some accuse shows like The Voice of showcasing diverse acts purely for ratings. Ethan had similar concerns when deciding to audition for the show.
“I worried they would mock me as I’ve seen other shows do. However, I felt that the team genuinely want the best for all performers.
“I saw it as an opportunity to receive exposure. I worked hard to get to this point.”
Ethan is certainly a go-getter, so I asked about planning for the future.
“I want more… and then some. I want to further my career as an artist/performer.
“Hopefully I’ll attract more media. It’s a great opportunity to be a voice for people like myself.”
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‘Don’t take yourself too seriously’
Now, dear reader, I sometimes need advice as much as the next person, so I asked Ethan for some.
“My mum says, ‘Everywhere you go, there you are,’” Sellma said.
“You can only count on yourself. If you’re not okay with who you are, look in the mirror and make changes.
“Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all dickheads so let’s have some fun. Above all else — do what makes you happy.”
Wise words indeed. Chookas Sellma!
See Sellma Soul as well as Samantha Jade, Kira Puru, Ellen Reed and Josh Daveta at Brisbane Pride’s Fair Day on Saturday, September 21.