Kween Kong and Art Simone share Drag Race Down Under advice


Art Simone and Kween Kong in front of the Drag Race Down Under werkroom ahead of their appearance at Moreton Bay PrideFest

Kween Kong and Art Simone are Drag Race Down Under legends and supreme talents in their own right. QNews sat down with them for a chat ahead of their appearance at Moreton Bay PrideFest

Drag Race

Does it bother you when people ask about Drag Race in every interview?

Kween Kong (KK): Not at all, Drag Race has been a pivotal moment in my career. It broadened my platform and opened so many doors for me. It’s also my favourite TV show so I love talking about it!

Art Simone (AS): Nah! I love it, Drag Race is a very defining pillar of my career and I acknowledge how fortunate I am to be one of the selected few that have been able to present their drag with the world. So I’m always happy to share some insight into the experience and a sprinkling of tea here and there.

Saying that, do you think Drag Race Down Under is giving a platform for queens and their art form? 

KK: Most definitely. The thing is, Drag Race Down Under is a launching pad for our girls. You have to arrive with a brand and understand how to use the momentum that comes from the exposure to forward your career.

AS: Drag Race Down Under certainly provides a launching pad for our drag darlings, I only wish there was a way for us to showcase our talented community in other formats as well.

Drag is engrained within Australian culture and while Drag Race provides a platform for our queens, due to its formatting it’s unable to feature a large chunk of our broader queer family. I want to see all our drag legends and community leaders celebrated to the same level. 

Individual achievements

Art, you’ve achieved so much and you do such fantastic work in the “mainstream” like TV and brand partnerships. But how important is it to continue to perform at community venues and events for your drag? 

AS: It’s so important for me to continue to perform and feature in community venues and events because although I get to do so many amazing things in the realm of mainstream entertainment and media.

I acknowledge that I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for the queer community that uplifted and supported me from the beginning of my drag career.Without that support early on I wouldn’t be where I am today, so it’s super important to remain part of that broader community.

Kween, you have spoken a lot about your Samoan-Tongan identity with your art, have other Pasifika LGBTQIA+ people been helped by your story or seen you as a role model? 

KK: Absolutely, one of the things I attribute to my success is my Pacific heritage, it gives me purpose and gives me great pride to represent my community in mainstream spaces where we are few in numbers.

Representation is everything! For so long here in Australia, Queens of Colour have had a hard time finding spaces that not only include us but honour us for our perspective and what we contribute to drag culture. Being unapologetically proud of my culture has definitely created pathways for not only Pacific queens but queens of colour in general.

Moreton Bay PrideFest

I’m sure you’ve both done many prides, what do you see as the value of events like Moreton Bay PrideFest?

KK: Pride festivals and celebrations are so important for our community, they are reminders of how far our communities have come, Mardi Gras and Pride were originally a protest. It’s at these events where we get to take up space and stand hand in hand with our allies and celebrate love.

AS: The value in pride events like Moreton Bay PrideFest is one simple thing – Visibility. It’s one of the simplest yet most important things that can change someone’s world. Growing up queer can be a very isolating experience, events like this show people that there are other people out there like them and who support and love them. They’re seen and they’re valid. 

What’s the Queensland queer community like compared to the rest of Australia? 

AS: The Queensland queer community is loyal, enthusiastic, effervescent and always thirsty!

Support and shows

Do we need to “protect queer art” and if so, how can we?

KK: Rather than saying protect queer art – we just need to support queer art. How? Simple, follow local performers on social media. Have them pop up on your feed so you know what they are doing and when their next shows and events are.

AS: Queer stories expressed through art are important and need to be protected, platformed and celebrated. In order to protect it you need to seek it, show it, consume it and most importantly pay for it.  

For anyone who hasn’t seen one of your shows, what can they expect to see?

KK: E-VER-Y-THING!!

AS: You’re gonna see camp, colour, creativity with a touch of “see you next Tuesday”. 

Kween Kong and Art Simone will join Samantha Jade, DJ Harry K and the Fluffy Allstars and many more acts for Moreton Bay PrideFest. The event will be held at Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine on Saturday 8 June. More information at:  moretonbaypridefest.com.au

Read more:

First headliners confirmed for Moreton Bay PrideFest 2024

Kween Kong addresses editing fail on Drag Race Down Under

Art Simone debunks Drag Race Down Under conspiracy theory

 

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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