TikTok queen Carla From Bankstown brings laughs to Sydney’s lockdown


carla from bankstown drag queen
Image: Instagram

Drag queen Carla From Bankstown has been entertaining thousands with her hilarious COVID-19 messages during Sydney’s lockdown.

Carla is the alter ego of Benjahmin James, a retail worker and lifelong Bankstown local. On TikTok and Instagram, Carla is an assistant of NSW Premier Gladys “Butterchicken” as she staffs the Covid hotline.

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“If I sees youse outside going fishing in the park at two o’clock in the morning [or] going to get your haircut at your mate’s place,” Carla declares in one video.

“Or hanging around at Granville Park pretending to do exercise while the coffee cart is sitting right there giving youse coffee… bro, I’m going to knock youse all out.”

However Carla’s main message for Sydney is, “Stick together, and we’ll get out of this mess.”

The drag queen now has over 60,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok.

The 28-year-old performer wants Carla to bring happiness to people enduring lockdown in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It’s been a lot of time, and a lot of energy, and a lot of effort, and a lot of makeup,” Benjahmin James told A Current Affair.

“I enjoy doing it. I enjoy bringing people that happiness, making them smile, especially during times like this.”

Carla From Bankstown is a creative outlet during lockdown

Benjahmin James explained alter-ego Carla, whom he based on many women he knew growing up, had given him a voice and a creative outlet.

“Last year when we first had the lockdown I was severely depressed, to the point where I just didn’t want to be around anymore,” he said.

“I was in a dark deep hole and I’ve pulled myself out of that.

“As the following grew, I just wanted to use the platform to spread awareness for a lot of issues I’ve dealt with in my life.

“I would say Year 7 to Year 10, I was bullied relentlessly. Whether it was about my weight, or my sexuality, or anything like that.”

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James works in retail and lives with family in Bankstown, a COVID-19 hotspot. He said his city’s long lockdown had been difficult for them.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle because my mum is out of work at the moment,” he said.

“The benefits that are coming through aren’t enough to get us through. So I’m sacrificing what I’d usually spend on myself, I’m helping them out.

“We’re just trying to get through it together.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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