SAVE a fateful piece for Gretchen Wieners, Miss Aysha Buffet graciously cracked the winner’s crown she’d only moments before received.
If this scenario sounds like your vague memories of 2004’s hit Mean Girls, that’s exactly what she was going for.
“I’m happy to have won, but I can’t go without acknowledging the fierce effort all the other queens put in.”
Aysha Buffet, is a self-taught one-year-old drag queen of Filipino descent from Melbourne’s suburbs. Her name stems from the simple fact she’s Asian and loves food — easy to overlook after she won the national Dragnation contest at the GH Hotel in Melbourne recently.
Eight drag queens competed for the title of essentially Australia’s next drag superstar. As anyone would expect, the proceedings were dramatic.
It’s a camp affair with all the hallmarks of RuPaul’s Drag Race, serving as a platform for healthy competition for all levels of aspiring professional drag queens. One of which Aysha can now proudly consider herself.
The alter ego of Melbourne stylist Iyan Difuntorum, Aysha Buffet was born of his need to outwardly express his femininity.
“Aysha was created because I love styling, and after I saw my first ever drag performance by veteran Paris Dragqueen I fell in love with drag,” Iyan said.
“Aysha is a model I made to play with the style I love for women, which is feminine with a masculine edge. She’s a creatively and personally expressive art form of my own devices.”
Aysha’s philosophy behind her unexpected win is simple: be confident, inspired, and determined — things she lives by and encourages for her drag peers.
“It didn’t feel real and I was kind of speechless when I was announced,” she said.
“I felt compelled to congratulate the other girls because I know how hard some of them had worked and how much they’d put in their all to get this far. It wasn’t easy.”
However, winning a competition like this, is just the tip of the iceberg for Aysha. Having now taken the crown, she embarks on an eight-week tour of Australia, showcasing the best of what she’s got in a one-woman show.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m excited for the chance to show the country what I can do,” she said.
Her shows gather their influence from artists, music, other queens and her own sense of creative flair.
Whether it’s lip-syncing to the tune of Chinese pop music, to belting out a rendition from an original diva, Aysha’s performances never miss a beat. They are energetic and reminiscent of the camp way forward paved by the likes of The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.
“I make my own clothes and acts because they’re my style. There are queens out there who hate what I do, but it’s important to have and love your own thing, because you want to showcase the good in your drag persona and character, not someone else’s,” Aysha said.
With future plans that involve a lot more performances, she will be busy.
“We’re more than just boys in dresses in the club, after all, wearing wigs and fakes lashes — we are a lot more talented than that,” she said.
“Well, some of us are, anyway.”
**This article was first published in the March edition of the Star Observer, which is available now. Click here to find out where you can grab a copy in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.
Read the March edition of the Star Observer in digital format: