Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. This month’s spotlight falls on Lismore drag icon Maude Boate.

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How did you come up with your drag name?

I loved the 1974 sitcom Maude starring Bea Arthur as an activist for women and gay rights. I wanted a name I could grow into; a name I could grow old with, a strong and reliable name with stability. It is not a showy name or sensationalist name.

What was your first time in drag like?

The Australian premiere of La Cage aux Folles in 1985. One of the most cherished memories I have. It was such an amazing night. I was all of 20 years old from Lismore in NSW…imagine how it opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed or was about to belong to.

Who showed you the ropes?

The person who I consider my drag mother, inspiration, and mentor was one of a trio of drag queens called ‘The Show Bags’ (Albury Hotel in the ‘80s). Her name was Twisty and synonymous with names like Cindy Pastel, Doris Fish, and Miss 3D. Twisty later became Pat Gently when she created the drag group called the ‘Scary Fairies’ which I was very lucky to be part of.

Who is your drag inspiration?

Thierry Mugler, Lee Bowery, and of course the Parisian catwalk. Anything with colour, movement, attention to detail, and a lot of sparkle can get my creative juices flowing. Many of you may know my signature mark of the foamy or sculptured wig – cartoons and marble sculptures from masters of the past have inspired these.

Favourite song to lip-sync?

“Rose’s Turn” by Bette Midler from Gypsy, or “Ring them Bells” by Liza Minnelli.

Most overrated song to lip-sync?

Any songs that are monotonous with no crescendo, key changes, or big finishes.  

Most embarrassing onstage story?

A rival drag queen’s groupie decided to rush on to the stage to rip my foamy wig off my head. He ran off stage only to be stopped by the crowd. I was in hot pursuit! I caught up with the perpetrator and promptly started laying into him, with bracelets flying and people prising me off saying, “That’s enough Maude.” Not very lady-like at all! Embarrassing.

Advice for younger drag queens?

You are only as good as your last gig. Never believe your own publicity, don’t take shit from anybody, and try and be humble even when you hit the zenith of your career. If you are starting out you may find yourself doing a lot for nothing. Take heed this will one day give you your big break and most importantly love and believe in yourself.

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