• That dress: Joelene King with the dress that she wore on David Bowie's Lets Dance video clip. (Supplied)
As the world pays tribute to music legend David Bowie and we remember his commitment to Indigenous issues, the girl he told 'to put on your red shoes and dance the blues' speaks to NITV.
By
Tara Callinan

Source:
NITV News
14 Jan 2016 - 12:20 PM  UPDATED 14 Jan 2016 - 3:48 PM

“I’d like to pay my condolences, my prayers and thoughts to their family [David Bowie] and his wife and just let them know that he was an amazing man."

“I am humbled to have had my fifteen minutes of fame with him,” said Joelene King.

Miss King was driving her car on Monday afternoon when news broke over the radio that David Bowie had passed away.

“I always thought I would meet him again one day,” she said.

Miss King was just as shocked as she was on that fateful day in 1982, when Bowie chose her to ‘put on the red shoes.’

She would  dance alongside him in what is now regarded as the most influential music clip of its time.

“I was quite shocked that I got it ... maybe it was the nose  ... it was definitely this nose,” she said.

Miss King, a Bundjalung woman from Lismore and Casino, was staying in a hostel in the inner west Sydney suburb of Burwood when she saw the ‘Let’s Dance’ video clip for the first time.

“I was gobsmacked. But it didn’t hit me to days later when I would get off the bus or walk up the street in Glebe and people would sing out ‘David Bowie'."

It was something I just did and thought ‘well, there’s my fifteen minutes of fame'.”

At just 22 years of age her world was turned upside down ... and for the next three decades she would relish in Bowie’s fame.

Miss King says she is forever grateful for the experience and described it as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

She remembers Bowie’s contagious smile as if it were yesterday, and the moment they first embraced.

Joelene had finished the final scene; scrubbing the streets of Broadway amongst moving cars.

“David said ‘well I want you to walk out in traffic, here’s a bucket and we’ll put some water on the road'.”

“Then the guy said cut and I looked up at [Bowie] and he looked at me and we just grabbed each other."

"I sort of fell into him and that’s when I tipped his hat off and then I hear this ‘click-click-click’ of guys taking photos,” said Miss King.

These photos are just as treasured as the original dress Joelene wore in 1983 - which remains in her wardrobe today.

The beige dress – still stained with spots of Ochre - hangs as a reminder of what can be achieved.

Miss King says Aboriginal and Toress Strait Islanders need to understand that anything is possible with a bit of confidence.

“Shame is one word you should not have in your vocabulary.”

The infamous red shoes - also worn by King - have not been seen the 1980’s.

 You can catch the exclusive interview tonight's NITV's Bulletin at 7.20pm.