AS PART of our series of one-on-one chats with our nation’s gay scene performers and entertainers, this week takes the Star Observer to Melbourne, as we chat to the GH Hotel’s The Friday Night Project host Tabitha Turlington.

Turlington is a self-proclaimed drag queen who from the age of four would wear her mother’s make up and heels.  She has been entertaining in drag to an audience since her primary school days, reminiscing whilst chatting to the Star Observer of a time when she dressed as cartoon character Amelia Bedelia, from the Peggy Parish children’s book series, to what was known then as ‘book day’.

This lead Turlington to performing drag in school talent quests and winning a May West voice impersonation competition Melbourne Radio’s 3AW, citing the famous phrase “come up and see me sometime” to then working in the illustrious Melbourne drag scene.

Turlington, whose first name is inspired from the 60’s TV show Bewitched, Tabitha the daughter of Samantha and Darren and the last name from late 80’s Calvin Klein model Christy Turlington.

From mid-2012 chest hair start emerging on Turlington, according to the Star Observer scene page photos. She addresses why this became part of the character, saying: “For the last twenty years the man has been second to the drag. Now for the next twenty plus the man will be put first and drag can stay, but only if it can fit in.”

She also confirmed with a laugh that with a doubling in her salary there could be the option of a new shaver purchase and the hair removed.

Bringing the man into the drag in her unique look, appears to have overall not caused much of a ruffle if Facebook comments are a guide, with very few being negative, but other than that, Turlington confides that no one has complained about her ‘bear’ like appearance.

Her drag career has extended over twenty years. Turlington reminisced over some of the highlights during this time and they included travelling by bus to Adelaide and being featured on Bent TV whilst rock climbing.

Touching on her most outrageous moment, Turlington simply answered that she has gone and done most things in drag and that her fans should “let their imaginations roam free” on what that could possibly mean.

Every drag queen has her signature song, and for Tabitha it is the 1982 camp classic from Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart not only because it is one of her favourites, but it is always a crowd pleaser, with its strong vocal ballad that has remained popular for generation after generation.

With twenty years in the frocks, Turlington’s motherly advice was offered to other Drag Queens. She says that her secret for the most important element of drag performance, which is critical if the gender illusion is topped off and that is her trick to” tucking” involves three king sized g-strings.

As for aspiring baby drag queens, her advice to them is to be yourself, not to expect to much too quickly and to have fun – and if it stops being fun – to get off at the next stop.

Catch Tabitha Turlington and her beautiful chest hair Friday nights at the GH Hotel’s The Friday Night Project from 9pm.

Photo credit: Alan Mayberry

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