Brisbane-based Dunghutti drag star, Chocolate Boxx, who claimed the Miss First Nations 2019 crown in Melbourne on the weekend, is all the things you want in a drag queen – she knows the traditional moves, yet she brings something new and exciting that make her performances unpredictable and hugely entertaining.
Boxx's main performance at the North Melbourne Metropolitan Meat Market on the closing night of this year's Yirramboi Festival provided the first reveal of the evening when she whipped off a rainbow pride skirt to reveal a new frock created out of a beautiful Aboriginal print. Boxx then whipped that off too, to reveal a less modest Aboriginal print number before a whopping third reveal gave the audience a garter belt made out of yet another Aboriginal design.
Part of the enduring popularity of drag and the drive behind its new-found renaissance in mainstream popular culture is watching someone from a traditionally marginalised and silenced demographic live their fantasy, while bathing in unabashed, glorious pride.
There's something truly uplifting when you know that the performer has overcome not just the challenges of being queer, but also the intersectionality of that identity with their Indigeneity. And something magical about helping them celebrate that strength with loud music and industrial quantities of black, red and yellow sequins.
By the end of Boxx's performance, the large crowd was left feeling absolutely exhilarated.
Second-place winner was Bidjara/Kullali performer Sarah Moany, who performed in face paint, incorporating traditional dance movement into a performance featuring an anything but pedestrian music mash-up, featuring Madonna and Marilyn Manson. Miss Moany was rewarded with a deafening cheer from an ecstatic audience, overwhelmed at the meshing of her drag and Aboriginal culture.
The final place-getter was the legendary Redfern-based Gadigal queen Nana Miss Koori. Softly spoken, Nana has some pretty amazing stories to tell about growing up gay and Blak in Sydney. Her performance was one of the most emotional and powerful of the night, with a lip-sync to Yvonne Fair’s version of It Should Have Been Me.