Community spotlight: getting to know drag legend Verushka Darling

Community spotlight: getting to know drag legend Verushka Darling

Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. Our April spotlight falls on drag legend Verushka Darling.

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How did you come up with your drag name?

I first started out in drag as a runway model, and people thought I shared characteristics with the ‘60s supermodel Veruschka, and so the name (with altered spelling) stuck. The Darling came when I introduced myself to a reporter by saying, “I’m Verushka, darling”. I was referring to them, but they mistook it for my last name, which then appeared in print, and the rest is history.

What was your first time in drag like?

I was about three and I remember it clearly. We used to live in Hong Kong, and when we visited my parents’ friends they had some ornamental glass slippers on the mantelpiece. I slipped them on, much to my Chinese Amah’s delight, who then paraded me in front of the assembled party to much approbation. It left quite an impression. A showgirl was born.

Who taught you how to tuck?

I figured it out myself, just as I did with all of my drag.

Who is your drag inspiration?

I don’t have a drag inspiration. I was inspired by classic, camp movies.

Most embarrassing onstage story?

I’m not embarrassed by things that go wrong onstage. I have enough ironic distance that I usually find them hilarious.

Favourite song to lip-sync to?

This is something that changes constantly. Sometimes the songs I hate the most I love performing the most, because they give me something to work with, comically speaking.

Most overrated song to lip-sync to?

Anything by Lady Gaga. Not because she’s not great, but because she’s been done TO DEATH.

Advice for younger drag queens?

To succeed in this business, you need more than talent and a good look. You must have a good attitude, a strong work ethic, and respect for your audience, fellow performers, senior queens, and employers. No-one owes you anything. You’re not a star just because you think you ought to be.

You need to go out there, work hard for it, and be nice to people along the way. Also – learn about your own rich Australian drag cultural heritage. Drag Race is fun, but it’s not the be all and end all of drag.

What does a normal day look like for you?

Busy is a word that describes my day. I get up at around 9am, cycle to the gym, work out, cycle home, run around doing drag production work (meetings, emails, invoices, costume fittings, hair appointments), get ready to go to work, perform all night, get home, de-drag, cook dinner, go to bed around 3:30am or later, repeat.

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