An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drag queen beauty pageant is making its debut in Melbourne this May as part of the city's biennial YIRRAMBOI Indigenous arts festival.
The pageant, which is in its third year, will be the climax of YIRRAMBOI, an 11-day festival which celebrates First Nations art and performance, with the final night dedicated to crowing the queen of Miss First Nation for 2019.
Run by Party Passport, the beauty pageant goes for four days and requires the contestants to take part in a number of activities before the official crowning.
Ben Graetz, co-founder of Party Passport and himself a part-time drag queen, says Miss First Nation was developed to show the unique diversity of Indigenous people in Australia.
"It shows that there are other people like yourselves out there and that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is really diverse," he said.
“It shows that we are all different and it's ok to be yourself, and I think that’s the main message."
One of the eight contestants competing for the 2019 crown is Chocolate Boxx, who hails from Bris-Vegas. Alter ego Corey March, a proud Dunghutti man, told NITV News he was lost for words when he saw he'd been officially announced as a contestant last week on the Miss First Nations Facebook page.
Mr MArch told NITV News the surprise led to him throwing his phone across the room with excitement.
“It’s crazy, I get to go to a new city… what the hell, it’s so crazy," he said.
Mr March said his drag name is designed to be delivered as a tag line, and alludes to being one of the few performing Aboriginal drag queens in Brisbane.
“When asked my name, I can say 'Chocolate Boxx with two x's, it would have been three but I'm not that kind of girl on paper'," he said.
The Miss First Nations 2018 winner, Lasey Dunaman, will be on this year’s judging panel and is expecting great things from the new batch of contestants.
“I think my expectation would be definitely a genuine personality, fierce performances, amazing looks and eye to details,” said Ms Dunaman told NITV News.
Ms Dunaman said winning the pageant last year helped her to accept being a drag queen.
“It made me feel really proud and in some funny way, it really helped me with my self-acceptance and self-growth,” she said.
“It’s definitely an art form based on self-expression, there comes a lot of creative, hard work and effort but its what’s on the inside that you’re really expressing,” Ms Dunaman said.
This year's contestants include:
Chocolate Boxx from Brisbane
Ayleesha Tryed from Broome
Tyra Bankstown from Sydney
Anna'Mal Tuckerbox from Hobart
Rose Quartz from Wagga Wagga
Jojo Zaho from Newcastle
Nana Miss Koori from Sydney
Sarah Maony from Brisbane