Twenty-three-year-old Etcetera Etcetera might have only been performing Drag for around four years but has already made a splash within the Australian drag community for both their aesthetic and activism. This Sydney-queen is one of a handful of contestants in the Drag Race franchise who identifies as either trans or non-binary and the first queen of Lebanese descent in the competition.
Episode 5 was when RuPaul finally confronted the racism allegations that has dogged the Down Under contest. But before RuPaul questioned Scarlet Adams about her past racist performances, including Blackface, Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera addressed the elephant in the werk room, taking Adams to town over what she self-described as a “past mistake”.
Fresh from her elimination from RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under after an epic lip sync battle going up against Maxi Shields, Etcetera Etcetera spills all the tea to Star Observer about the biggest drama from episode five and her time on Drag Race.
‘I wanted to challenge Scarlet’
“First and foremost, there was a missed opportunity by not having Jojo Zaho and Coco Jumbo in the room for that discussion,” Etcetera Etcetera said.
“While I don’t believe they have to carry the burden of carrying that discussion and it shouldn’t be their responsibility as people of colour, I do believe that their perspective would have added something to a discussion which was had in a room full of white people and it just doesn’t work,” said Etcetera Etcetera.
“I wanted to challenge Scarlet, I wanted to call her out, I wanted to let her know that as someone who was with her on the show and works in similar drag scenes as her, that I thought it was not ok. In that moment I channelled the thoughts and feelings of my friends who are people of colour, I wanted to amplify their thoughts and feelings, because I recognised that my opinion doesn’t really matter, instead it’s about the amplification of their voices.”
Etcetera said that she is glad the conversation came about on the show, because it put a lens on the drag scene and has forced people to ask, “how racist is the drag scene?”
“People of colour are saying it’s very racist. It’s important now as allies to look at that and say ok, these are the things I can do to make sure that we don’t have situations happen like a performer doing racially insensitive performances,” said Etcetera.
‘There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Be Queer, Trans Or Non-binary’
The drag performer also used their time on the show to represent the gender non-binary community and talk about trans inclusion.
“There have been teenagers from across the world who are messaging about their gender journeys in their teen years, saying they watched the show and that they’ve been feeling that way while listening to me talking about my non-binary identity,” revealed Etcetera.
“Those kinds of conversations and creating those conversations in these kids’ lives is really special. I wish I had someone like that to look up to, who talked about their identity honestly and authentically. It’s not that easy obviously, and I think it’s important for people to hear about the struggles that trans and non-binary people face and how as a society we can make life easier for them.”
Etcetera’s advice for young queens coming up through the ranks is to be authentic and be honest with themselves
“A lot of people I have seen try to find their identity through imitating other people they have seen. There is no right or wrong way to be queer or trans or non-binary. You just have to authentically yourself. Yes, it is hard and yes it’s a challenge, but the sooner you start doing that the sooner you have the confidence and power to navigate life the way you want to.”
Getting eliminated from the Drag Race competition is not all that it has been made out to be, claimed Etcetera.
Looking to the future Etcetera said, “There are so many opportunities ahead of me. I’m walking for Australian Fashion Week this week and I just dropped my debut single, and I have all these cool collaborations coming up. For a drag artist, this is a golden era for me, I get to do what I love to do, get paid to do it, and have this amazing platform to do it on.”
Wait, Debut single you ask. Why yes, Flush which extends on Etcetera’s failed maxi challenge from episode five. As one Reddit user so aptly posted “these queens are so quick to capitalize i can’t”, very true…. Very true.
“The video highlights some of my favourite Sydney performers, beautiful diverse performers from the inner west who are some of my favourite people in the entire world, they are the people who got me to where I am, so to be able to turn the camera around on them and say, “you are the people who got me here” was a really special moment for me.”
Episode 5 Ru-cap
This season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is starting to feel a bit like the daily pressers in Melbourne for the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, when politicians warn us that it is going to get much worse, before it improves… But will it?
At least in episode five, RuPaul finally, FINALLY addressed certain issues that have dogged the season throughout, or did she? I mean Ru got madder at a queen for wearing H&M in the UK spin off than she did for a queen wearing Blackface…come on now.
In this week’s mini challenge, our queens were asked to read their fellow contestants to filth, thankfully, and unlike this season’s Snatch Game, they managed to step their pussys up for this one…. Just.
But when it came to this week’s maxi challenge, it was a moment of Beauty and The Yeast. While Etcetera Etcetera might have thought they were piss elegant, it turned out they was more piss weak than anything and was sent packing after losing to Maxi Shield in an absolutely sickening lip sync battle to Vanessa Amorosi’s Absolutely Everybody (anyone else suffer from flashbacks to the closing ceremony for Sydney Olympics??).
And after Art Simone’s shock re-entry last week, our first ever all-white top eight goes back to being an all-white top seven. What’s next? An all-white top six? Stop it…
Interview With Etcetera Etcetera