Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. This month’s spotlight falls on drag legend Charisma Belle.
* * *
How did you come up with your drag name?
I have had a couple of drag names when I started out, the first of which was Holly Would. But I soon decided that I liked Cordelia from Buffy so much that I stole the actress’ first name which is Charisma [Carpenter]. The ‘Belle’ part just seemed right!
It’s hard to remember my first time in drag. I’d been dressing up in my mum’s clothes forever, so my first outing in drag wasn’t such a big deal. I do however remember all the extra attention, and new found confidence. I remember shopping at Supre for my outfit and thinking how beautiful I looked in my hot pink mini schoolgirl skirt.
Who taught you how to tuck?
No-one really taught me how to tuck, it was more trial and error and a lot of camel toe.
Who is your drag inspiration?
My drag inspiration comes mostly from pop culture and old Hollywood glamour. In terms of queens who inspire me I love the local Aussie queens. When I first started I loved to watch Mitzi Macintosh, Tess Tickle, and Chelsea Bun. I would sit front row on the floor like a little school kid, dreaming of the day I’d be up there on that stage.
Favourite song to lip-sync?
“And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls is my favourite song to perform. I love the story and emotion in it.
Most overrated song to lip-sync?
For me it would be anything released by the Drag Race queens. The tracks have no real substance and when I perform I like to tell a story. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are all wonderful queens, I’m just not a fan of their music.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A day in the life of Charisma starts out with a coffee and a muffin. A lot of work goes into being a queen and most of it unpaid! Most days I have a few hours of rehearsal or coming up with choreography. I will meet with costume designers or music editors.
I’m researching shows and spend hours looking for music. Sometimes it takes days travelling to all the different fabric shops looking for the perfect fabric. And everyday at 4pm it’s time to prepare for the night ahead. Drag really is a full-time job with lots of overtime.
Advice for younger drag queens?
Be yourself. Don’t copy other queens, try to be original. And most importantly be nice. There is a difference between being sassy and being outright rude. Be the first to say hi. Make the first move, be approachable.