Sissy Ball has announced the first talent and competitors for its return in 2019, following on from its sold-out first event in March this year.

Curated by interdisciplinary artist and House of Slé mother, Bhenji Ra, Sissy Ball 2019 will see the return of US vogue icons Leiomy Maldonado and Dashaun Wesley.

 House of Slé, House of Luna, and House of IMAN will take the stage as part of a massive showcase of the Asia Pacific’s burgeoning vogue scene.

Maldonado, a choreographer who has worked with the likes of FKA Twigs and Willow Smith, will be head judge on the night, with NYC vogue icon Wesley commentating the runway as MC.

House of Amazon’s Yovana Banks took home the title at 2018’s inaugural Sissy Ball, which sprang from as a collaboration between Ra, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and Red Bull Music.

Sissy Ball 2019 will once again take place at Carriageworks, with the Houses hitting the stage on Saturday February 23.

Ra’s House of Slé includes Western Sydney-based artists with cultural and urban skill sets, all belonging to the greater Asia Pacific diaspora.

Competing alongside them will be the newly formed House of IMAN, headed by house mother Jaycee Baybee.

Behind the banner of overall mother Karlee Misipeka, Sydney’s newest house, House of Luna, will also look to take home the crown.

TAMATOA, co-founder of FAFSWAG, a diverse visual and performing arts collective based in Auckland, will also take part in the contest, with more competitors to be announced.

Speaking to the Star Observer in the lead-up to the first Sissy Ball in March 2018, Ra said to “expect something quite intense and high-energy.”

“My experience going to balls and battles has been that the energy is just so engulfing.

“When you’re a spectator it’s easy to get swamped and engulfed by that. You’re not just watching, you’re a part of it.

“I don’t think there’s anything like that.”

Ra said that an event like Sissy Ball was conceived as something that could bring together young queer people who live outside the inner-city bubble.

Leiomy“We’re all people of colour, we’re all living in the ‘burbs, we’re all living quite far away and don’t have the same experiences as other people,” Ra said.

“I think these spaces have an energy that is so celebratory of gender diversity and queer people that it leaves no room for any kind of discrimination. People are there to celebrate expressions of identity.”

Tickets for Sissy Ball 2019 are now on sale at: http://www.mardigras.org.au/events/sissy-ball

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