Piesley won the honour of Sydney’s Favourite Male Performer at the 2013 DIVA awards ceremony, after making his debut as a performer in Sydney’s gay scene only one year earlier.
He started off as a dancer for drag queen Ms Dizzy Bility in the baby drag competition Tora’s Drag Race at the Midnight Shift on Oxford St.
It was not long after that that one of Sydney’s more prominent drag queens Ms Charisma Belle “snapped” the 25-year-old off the competition stage. She placed him in his first paid gay scene production show The Priscilla Experience, which was also at The Midnight Shift.
Peisley, who has danced since he was three years of age, attributes his love for dancing to the influence of his older sister when he was just eight. The “generous love” of his Nan supported him by paying his weekly tuition for dance classes.
The time in his formative years showed Peisley that dancing was his passion and from there, he was attending dance classes up to five nights a week.
The young talent shares that he was inspired by Australian dancer Steven Grace – who started his career as a 10-year-old dancing in Baz Luhrmann’s classic movie Strictly Ballroom. He was also influenced by scene dancer, DNA magazine pin-up boy-turned DJ Daniel Slater.
Peisley works in the same show at the Imperial Hotel as his boyfriend Ripley Waters, who is also a dancer, and he cautiously opens up about how this saying, “overall, we go okay” – but confesses he could be “hot headed” and has provoked arguments between the two.
Peisley also said that Waters’ calm nature and manner sorted out any arguments: “I think the little disagreeing we do have about work makes up for the amazing relationship we have outside of work. It can’t always be rainbows and butterflies; there would be no make-up-sex and where is the fun in that.”
As a dancer on the gay scene, Peisley accepts that being sexualised is part of the job saying “nothing really phases me anymore”. But this was not always the case, as he added: “I use to be uncomfortable constantly, however I have become use to it now. ”
Peisley reflected on the perils of live performing and when he was the target of Ms Charisma Bell’s mischief, and when his mum was in the audience watching him for the first time.
“One of the most embarrassing moments on stage would have be when Ms Charisma Belle announced to the crowd that I was usually one of the show’s drag queens,” he recounted, adding that she also announced he was keeping his drag a secret from his mum. But he had never donned a frock.
“This was after me spending the week prior convincing my mum that I wasn’t doing drag,” he explained, but also let on that his mum didn’t mind either way.
His profile on-stage has left him a little bemused off-stage. Peisley laughed off a Facebook message from a guy who offered him a substantial amount of money in exchange for “disturbing sexual favours”.
He said: “there was nothing that shocked me anymore when it came to the gay scene.”
His said favourite dance step was “probably a push turn, pivot turn”, for the simple reason that it was the perfect step for a dancer if they where to “run out of choreography and you needed a transition.”
Thomas Peisley performs at the Imperial Hotel in Erskinville every Saturday night in the stage production Cirque Du so Gay. You can also find him at the Oxford St venue ARQ two Fridays each month at Twinkland and Arqpop.
Keeping a busy dance card, he also performs at Thirsty Thurdays and Boot Kamp Fridays at the Midnight Shift.