My C*nt So LETHAL, The House of DIESEL: Naarm’s Newest Ballroom Family Has Arrived
Dripping in style and full of heart, Naarm’s newest ballroom family ‘The House of Diesel’ has launched, and is ready to take the scene by storm.
Signalling their arrival with an electrifying family photo and the announcement of their first ‘mini-ball’, House Mother JULAI Diesel said the bonds shared between house members are deep and enduring.
“We were family before the house name even came about. We walked into balls as a family, but the kids still had to battle each other as 007s,” he said.
A ‘Raw, Sexy, Cool’ Allure
The house name was inspired by global fashion brand Diesel, which JULAI says has a “raw, sexy, cool” allure he was drawn to.
“I feel like what we add is the heart to it,” he said.
Staying true to his cultural heritage, JULAI says he built the House of Diesel around Samoan values, with the family’s strength lying in its heart, and its versatility on stage.
“We’re a performance house, a fashion house and also a nightlife house.”
Welcome, the House of Diesel
Originating in New York City, ballroom is a Queer subculture pioneered by African-American and Latino LGBTQIA+ people in the 1980s. Participants compete in pageant-like competitions known as balls, ‘walking’ in categories to vie for trophies, with the support of a chosen family known as a ‘house’, or solo as a ‘007’.
In Australia, the ballroom scene has been steadily growing since the inception of Ballroom Australia in 2014, before the House of Slé hosted the continent’s first ball in 2018.
It’s a legacy the House of Diesel is proud to continue, after hosting a sold out mini-ball in Naarm this month.
Tejan Diesel, choreographer, dancer, and daughter of JULAI, said the event’s success was a tribute to the hard work contributed by each of the house members.
“It’s like birthing a child, like we’re really birthing something so brilliant, and it couldn’t have been done without the hands of multiple people,” she said.
The ball began with an energetic performance of choreography and voguing by the House of Diesel, and a ‘grand march’, a ballroom tradition where the hosting house introduces themselves to the crowd with a roll call.
It’s a moment, Tejan said, she will “forever replay” in her head.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I can’t believe this is my life’ and ‘I can’t believe that this is something we created’,” she said.
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For event planning maestro and son of JULAI, Syrus Diesel, the love and care nurtured within his chosen family is something he says should be modelled by the rest of society.
“I feel like this is the way the world should have been living, the way this chosen family lives, or any chosen family in the scene. I truly feel like this is the way we were supposed to live,” he said.
“I have huge pride in being the best older brother to all my siblings.”
Moving forwards, JULAI said he hopes to “take up space in the suburbs”, bringing ballroom to people who can’t access it in the city.