LOCAL drag queen Nana Miss Koori has a genius explanation for how she got her stage name.

“Aboriginals living in NSW are known as Koori and I love the Greek artist, singer Nana Mouskouri. And my partner jokes that I’m a slow driver and calls me nana. So it pretty much eventuated from that,” Nana Miss Koori, aka Graham Simms, told the Star Oberver.

Originally drawn to drag performing for the “glitz and glamour”, her drag career has spanned 10 years and she performs everything from country to Whitney Houston classics.

Nana Miss Koori will perform at one of the many Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade after parties in town this Saturday when she hits the stage to celebrate Indigenous LGBTI diversity at the Klub Koori Mardi Gras After Party at Hermann’s Bar.

Presented by Gadigal Information Service (GIS) and ACON, the event will showcase the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTI performing artists.

“For me (Mardi Gras is) about the fight for equality and putting it out there. On the Aboriginal side of it, its about acceptance and equality for us and we’re all one,” Nana Miss Koori said.

“Dealing with my sexuality was coming to Mardi Gras, seeing people perform on stage and one day having the hope that would be me one day and 20-odd years later I’m centre of stage for a lot of things.”

Performers to appear at the party include singer/songwriter Jessie Lloyd, pop music artist Ben Fraietta, and drag queens Destiny Haz Arrived, Lasey and Nova of the Dream Time Divas, Black Pearl, and of course Nana Miss Koori.

Running for the third time this year, Klub Koori aims to increase the cultural diversity of Mardi Gras and the visibility and recognition of Indigenous people within the LGBTI community.

GIS has formed a partnership with ACON to deliver the event and promote sexual health messaging on the night.

“Klub Koori Mardi Gras After Party provides a place for our Indigenous brothers and sisters from all over the country to gather together on Mardi Gras night with friends and family to celebrate identity, strength, and healthy lifestyles, we’re looking forward to another memorable night and welcome all people,” event coordinator Danielle Tuwai said.

Graham also said Klub Koori was all about being out and proud: “It’s about being out there, having fun and meet people. People love drag queens, seeing all this amazing talent and I think that’s why people should come.”

Klub Koori Mardi Gras After Party
Where: Hermann’s Bar, corner of City Rd and Butlin Ave (close to Sydney University campus)
When: March 5, 8pm until 3am
Tickets: $15 general public, $10 concession/First Nations Float members with wristbands
Age: Entrance restricted to those who are 18 years and over

The Star Observer is a proud media partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

For all of Star Observer’s Mardi Gras coverage, click here

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