Sydney drag legend Cindy Pastel will be hanging up her wigs and locking up the makeup bag for good this Saturday night after a final performance at the Royal Hall of Industries.

Cindy Pastel (a.k.a. Ritchie Fingers) has been a source of inspiration and contention on the drag scene since her 1979 debut on the Patches stage.

Rousing others to take to the stage, Pastel’s influence on the world of Sydney drag has been undeniable, with the likes of Vanessa Wagner having cited her as an idol.

I never took myself too seriously. I think that was a big part of my success, Pastel told SSO.

That, and the fact that I really was more of a performer than a dancer.

Most widely known as the basis for the Hugo Weaving character Tic in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Pastel’s success has extended into the mainstream, winning her a coveted spot at the top of the stiletto at the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony, and a number of acting opportunities.

Sitting in the shoe at the Olympics was a definite highlight of my career. That redefined my place in the whole industry, Pastel said.

There have been other perks as well, like being able to meet the people who were my idols, like Kylie and Elle Macpherson, and actually have conversations with them.

The other major highlight was getting a phone call from Richard Wherrett asking me to be a part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Opera House. It was there I learnt that I wasn’t a drag queen, I was an actor, and that is the difference between me and any other performer out there at the moment.

The Priscilla thing, on the other hand, didn’t really work in my favour. I got a lot of backfall after Priscilla, after it came out to the world that I was bisexual. Had it not been advertised that I was bisexual I probably could have gone on just as a typical person who got on with their life and didn’t read labels, but I think it worked against me in many ways.

After returning to Perth for a period of time, Pastel returned to Sydney two years ago, and this Saturday night will call an end to her illustrious career.

It’s time now to pull away from the scene because I just don’t feel like I fit in -“ one, because of my so-called label, and two, because of my alcoholism, Pastel said.

There’s just not that much room for a dicky little old drag queen who’s been around since Xanadu.

She’s been a part of my life for many years, so it will be hard to shake her off, but I can take it to a different spectrum. Maybe now I can write a book.

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