Jonny McGovern – host of the popular gay web series Hey Qween – recently visited Australia for the first time. He spoke with Jesse Jones about LGBTI activism, touring with Dita Von Teese, and the men down under.

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Jonny McGovern has hosted a ton of big names in drag on Hey Qween including Detox, Alaska, and Trixie Mattel, but he says meeting RuPaul was the most intimidating.

“As a kid I was obsessed with RuPaul, so to have her as one of our first guests was really something special,” he says.

“It was thrilling and a little scary. We were recording [my co-host] Lady Red’s intro in front of the live audience and she kept messing up the line. I said, ‘Don’t be nervous ‘cause RuPaul is here!’

“And out of the crowd Ru says, ‘Do be nervous ‘cause RuPaul is here!’

“We all lost it, and Lady Red got that line perfect in the next take!”

The show is a lot of fun, but McGovern has also been known to get political about LGBTI rights and other issues.

Hey Qween is a show where we love to have fun and be an escape for people,” he explains.

“But in the times we are in, it’s important for all of us to speak out, so I’m not afraid to take time to activate our audience.

“We—and I mean all of us in the LGBTI rainbow—all need to be active and awake.

“We’re in a time in which our [US] government is actively trying to erase us from the records and legitimise hatred against us, not to mention poison our water and sell our kids’ lives for gun money.

“The time in which we could have the luxury of staying in our bubble is over. We need to fight with our votes and put the people who care about who we are in power.

“We also need to remember to fight the real enemy and not waste time with infighting. We have to build each other up, not tear each other down.”

McGovern recently toured Australia with Dita Von Teese, emceeing her live burlesque show The Art of the Teese.

“Working with Dita has been incredible,” he says.

“We met when she came on Hey Qween as a guest last season and was so charming, gorgeous, and candid that we really hit it off. When she asked me to be the emcee on her tour I was thrilled.

“The show is burlesque at its highest, most glamorous level, and I’ve been having a blast with the entire cast and crew.”

Glamour icon Von Teese doesn’t seem to do casual, even on her days off.  

“My favourite memory is skipping through a field of kangaroos with Dita in her perfect outfit and Louboutins and feeding them out of our hands at the Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane,” McGovern says.

The tour was McGovern’s first trip to Australia, and he had the time of his life checking out the attractions in our cities and being recognised by fans.

“Every city has been gorgeous, and more importantly full of gorgeous men,” he says.

“The short shorts and thick calves have been a delight.

“It’s always exciting to get stopped in the street by Hey Qween fans. The fun part is how surprised they are to see me in Australia. It’s like, ‘What are you doing here?’

“I’m halfway around the world and to have people shouting out “Haaaaay Qween!” feels pretty great, and lets me know we are doing something right.”

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