Maxi Shield, whose laugh is almost as big as her breast plates, knows a thing or two about drag, referring to herself as the ‘seasoned chook’ of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under competition.
While she might have had a trick or two up for sleeve in the previous week’s lip sync challenge, this week she was asked to sashay away after losing out to Scarlett Adams. Fresh from her exit, Maxi believes in dreaming big: “Maybe I could be the first plus sized, older seasoned chook on the cover of Vouge?” she responds, when asked about her plans after the competition.
The first season of Drag Race Down Under, has unfortunately been beset with accusations of racism against a couple of queens. Maxi believes it is time Australia and the world starts listening to the voices of Indigenous people.
As a plus-sized, older queen, Maxi is happy with how she carried herself all through the competition.
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“I’m really happy with happy how I came across, I just wanted to be me. I’m a silly old queen, I’m not skinny, I wanted to represent plus-sized old girls and just show everyone that just because you get over forty doesn’t mean you’re dead. Sometimes the gay community thinks that getting older means that you are over,” Maxi told Star Observer.
“Since I’ve turned forty, I’ve just done the most incredible things, I was on Drag Race for god’s sake.”
Among Maxi’s many career highlights include opening the 2002 Gay Olympics, and performing as part of the closing of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. But, she has no doubt that RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is her biggest gig so far.
“When they say it is the Olympic of drag, they weren’t bull shiting, they really weren’t. It’s very intense, early mornings and late nights and it’s hard to not look at the other girls and think ‘I’m competing against them’, because you’re really not, you’re actually competing against yourself. It’s very personal.” Maxi told Star Observer, on what is the Monday after the episode that featured her elimination from the competiton dropped on streaming platforms.
Growing Up In The ‘Supermodel’ Era
Maxi says she “Grew up in the Supermodel era” referring to RuPaul’s song, Super Model which was released in 1993.
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“All of a sudden, there was this great big drag queen that had this song out that we were listening to. It was just crazy. How could anyone have ever dreamed that RuPaul’s Drag Race was to become an international phenomenon, and that it would now be in Australia, and I would be on it.”
Out of the many highlights of being on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Maxi says the one that she values most was was making connections with the other girls in the competiton.
“But you know, RuPaul was talking to me and giving me pointers and Michelle was talking to me and saying, “you’re amazing”. The whole time I was talking to any one of them, in my brain I was like don’t do that stupid face that you do, and then when I was re-watching, that’s all I did….”
With the filming of season one taking place in New Zealand, Maxi reveals that one the hardest challenges for her was that it was the longest they had been away from their partner and their two dogs.
“We have this unique relationship where we just talk bullshit to each other, we are stupid and we are dickheads, we scream and jump around and hardly ever fight. So, to have this intense environment for ten hours a day and then to go back to the hotel and not have that person was really hard.”
‘Look After Your Knees’
Maxi advice for younger queens is pretty simple really, imploring them to go out and have a good time.
“Sometime that’s what’s missed,” Maxi explains. “You see these professional performers and people think, ‘ok I’m going to be a drag queen and I’m going to make money’. You know, we can all do great makeup now because we have YouTube, we can have fabulous clothes because we can just buy them on the internet, the world is your oysters.”
“But there is something about a drag queen that has gone out, and been a social queen for a while, and knows what it’s like to get drunk and go out with your sisters, to go out ugly, to not be perfect. To know what it’s like to have a dance with a stranger on the dance floor. That would be my advice, go out and have fun first. But also, look after your knees, those jumps on your knees, that’s going to come back to you.”
But is there room for imperfection in the drag scene? According to Maxi, certainly, there is. “I definitely think there is. I gave Coco one of her first gigs and you know what, she was dreadful on a microphone, but her smile and personality was like a sunbeam shining in, imperfections make you unique and give you an edge.”
“In saying that, always be on time, drag can be washed, stick in the washing machine, and clean your bloody lace for god’s sake.”
So what’s next for Maxi?
Check out our video interview with Maxi Shield
“I’m going to sit down, I’m going to go have a nap and not get up early to put a face on. Aside from that, Coco and I are putting on a new show at the Oxford Hotel, there are few other things that are coming up that I won’t jinx.”