Get to know Brisbane’s host extraordinaire Paul Wheeler


Brisbane host Paul Wheeler is dressed in a blue and white checker top that is unbuttoned to reveal his chest. He wears a red sparkly hat on his head and has a moustache as facial hair. He points towards the camera.
Image: Supplied

Paul Wheeler chats to QNews about becoming the go-to host for LGBTQIA+ events in Brisbane. 

You may be familiar with his face at the many events Paul Wheeler does on the Brisbane LGBTQIA+ scene.

But how well do you really know him? 

We chatted with the British-born host and found out more about his move to Australia, meeting his idols and his serious medical injury. 

So tell us a bit about your background, where are you from and when did you move to Brisbane?

I was born and raised in sunny Essex (the place that gave you Gemma Collins). My dad is from India and his family moved to London when was a kid. Years later he met my mum and they had three kids…the youngest one being the cutest. I moved to Australia in 2010 to spend some time with my Aunty and cousins and the rest is history. 

You’re an actor and host, how did your career take this path?

Well, I planned to be in a boyband but that didn’t happen as I can’t sing or dance. We have some iconic TV and radio presenters back home and I always wanted to do what they did. I went to performing arts college, where I met one of my biggest inspirations, Sarah Mayhew. Sarah was one of our tutors and she was (and is) a booked and busy performer. She never sugarcoated how tough the industry could be. I think she was the first person I told that I was serious about wanting to be a host/presenter and she gave me some advice that has stuck with me forever.

Flash forward a few years, and there I was going about my 9-5 and annoying my boyfriend, Brendo with all of my in-house performances (I never charged him). He was the one who suggested I audition for shows in Australia. I did a few musicals but my real passion and focus turned to hosting events, which eventually took over. 

You’re a regular face on Brisbane’s scene hosting many events, what does your typical week look like?

Usually, I log in to my 9-5 job on a Monday morning and convince myself that I will do at least four gym sessions this week and eat healthy. By around 6pm I realise that that was a lie as I may have costume fittings, life admin and three big ol’ dogs to care for before the other job takes over at the weekend. I host Trivia at the Wickham every Thursday night (from 7pm, you should come).

Once I finish at 5pm on Friday, I try to organise myself if I have a full weekend of gigs and watch Drag Race before I see any spoilers. Various gigs take up most of my weekends, which I actually love most of the time. Call time is often around 7am for family events and I get home at about 8pm and get ready to do it all again the next day. If it’s a nighttime gig I try and squeeze in as much as I can for the day before I have to leave. Then before I know it, it’s Monday morning again and..well, you know the rest. 

What are some of the big events you’ve done – both LGBTQIA+ and mainstream?

I’ve been very lucky to have hosted some incredible events such as Brisbane Pride Fair Day, The Queens Ball, the inaugural Moreton Bay PrideFest and of course, Big Gay Day. I tend to spam social media with promo for those types of gigs because it honestly is such an honour to do it.

As well as LGBTQIA+ events, I host lots of festivals, including Food and Wine, Kitefest, cheerleading competitions and so many more. 

You’ve got to meet a lot of famous faces during your hosting gigs, have there been some favourites?

Absolutely! Anyone that knows me will tell you that The Spice Girls are my queens! Imagine how this queer guy, raised in the UK during the 90s felt when he was told that he would be working with Melanie C at Big Gay Day 2020. They say that you should never meet your hero but she was honestly the loveliest person in the world, and so stunning in real life too.

This year I got to work with Poh Ling Yeow for three days during the Moreton Bay Food and Wine Festival and she was unreal. So funny, down to earth and a pleasure to be around. We’re besties on Insta now and I always manage to slip that into conversations…just like I am right now. 

 

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A post shared by Paul Wheeler (@paulus84)

What do you love about the Brisbane LGBTQIA+ scene?

What I love the most is that I’m always learning from our scene. Whether is from the performers introducing me to an art form that I hadn’t been across or learning about some of the struggles that our community face through the organisations that some of the events I work are raising funds for or sponsoring. Without this exposure, it would be very easy to be ignorant and I’m very grateful to constantly have my eyes opened. 

What’s the best thing a crowd or someone at one of your events has done for you?

Ok, this is a good one. I’m kind of known for always holding a clipboard on stage. Big Gay Day fell on my birthday this year and one of my regular trivia teams (who have become friends of mine) bought me a really incredible gold clipboard. They didn’t know this but it matched my outfit perfectly. It now comes to all of my gigs and I love it so much. 

What’s the worst experience you’ve had with an event?

There was a well-known, act that we had booked for a big event. As the host, I always like to chat with the acts before they go on to make sure they are happy with the intro I have prepared for them. They had taken an instant dislike to me and refused to interact with me directly. Instead, I would have to ask questions via their manager, who was standing next to us, and they would tell them their answer. I was a fan of theirs before this but not so much now. 

You bring your ‘A game’ with your costume choices, tell us about your personal style as a host.

Babes, it has to be a romper! I often get to share the stage with some incredible drag performers and I really needed to up my game in the wardrobe department after a couple of years of wearing ‘off the rack’. Rob and Tara at Soft Butch makes most of my outfits, sometimes at very short notice too. I try and have ones that match the theme of the event but recently I’ve found myself in fabric stores planning my next one. So you will generally find me in a romper and a fresh new pair of Converse to go with it…and of course a clipboard. 

 

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A post shared by Paul Wheeler (@paulus84)


You’ve also had some challenges in the last 12 months, do you want to share what you’ve been through?

It kind of serves my right for bragging that I never get sick. In November last year, one of my dogs accidentally bit my fingertip off. I had to have surgery to fix it as much as they could and all seemed well. Three weeks later, it was discovered that I had picked up a lymph node and a pretty serious bone infection. For the first time in my life I had to stop everything for two months, of course during Christmas, peak hosting season. Since then we’ve had a few family and vet emergencies which has seen Brendo and I spend a fortune on flights to be with family and massive vet bills. It’s been a wild year but right now we are happy, healthy and very lucky.

Outside of being Brisbane’s premier LGBTQIA+ host, what do you like to do when you have spare time?

The unexpected break last year really made me appreciate my spare time. On rare weekends off, I like to hang with the dogs as they are getting older. I also watch hours of flight reviews and Spice Girls documentaries on YouTube. I’m terrible at sitting still, to be honest though. If I feel like being a party boy, you’ll find me at Sporties or the Wickham.

What do you hope the future brings for Paul Wheeler?

My dream is to be a Breakfast radio host one day… hopefully soon as I ain’t getting no younger and the Dad jokes are taking over.

If we’re really dreaming, I want to be famous enough to be asked to go on Thank God You’re Here and then invited to host SNL….A boy can dream, can’t he?

You can follow Paul on Instagram at @paulus84 

For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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