• Nova Gina walks the runway of the inaugural Miss First Nation drag pageant in Darwin, 2017 (Joseph Mayers)Source: Joseph Mayers
Organisers hope the competition will raise the profile of Indigenous drag queens and sistagirls from around the country.
Alyssa Braithwaite

28 Mar 2017 - 9:50 AM  UPDATED 1 Mar 2018 - 12:50 PM

A new competition for Indigenous drag queens and sistagirls will highlight and celebrate the beauty of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTI community, says organiser Ben Graetz.

Miss First Nation is a county-wide competition for all "First Nation divas", and will be held over five days in Darwin, in late September.

"I'm just really passionate about making the Indigenous drag community really visible, because it's really invisible nationally," Graetz tells NITV.

"What's been so heartwarming for me is to see that there are so many drag and sistagirls out there, and that just fills me with so much pride, because then I can show the rest of Australia that we are there, and we are fabulous and we are just as good as everyone else, if not better."

Graetz, aka Miss Ellaneous, says the original Darwin drag competition was called Queens of the Galaxy, which was run three times before organiser Mon Cherie retired it.

Now Graetz and company Departure Lounge are re-launching it as Queens - the Ultimate Drag Crown in Darwin, where there is strong support for the LGBTI community, and widespread acceptance and celebration of drag, he says.

Graetz felt it was only right to kick off things with Miss First Nation because "it's important to start from the start" with Indigenous queens.

"Within our community we do celebrate our sistagirls and brotherboys and particularly with my character, Miss Ellaneous, I know how popular she is within the community - particularly with the Elders," he says.

"The Elders love it, and I just love that we're able to bring so much joy and happiness to our community, that is sometimes filled with so much grief and sadness and loss. It's a real celebration."  

Launched on March 20, Graetz says there's already been an "overwhelming response" to Miss First Nation.

One person who has already working on their entry is 22-year-old Izaak Field. He spends his working week as a government payroll officer in Darwin, but on the weekend he becomes Isla Fukyah. 

"My interest in drag started around a year ago while I was working as a bartender at Throb Nightclub, which is the prominent LGBTI venue here in Darwin, and I formed close relationships with many of the drag queens who worked there," Field tells NITV.

"The idea of trying drag was becoming bigger and bigger in my mind. Then in may last year Vogue MegaQueen held a competition in Darwin for brand new drag queens (baby queens) and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

"I found that coming out and being a drag queen was a terrifying experience at first - I was very worried about being accepted by my friends and family and the community as a whole. It definitely takes a lot of balls - not literally - to be a queen. But I haven't looked back since."

Now Field hopes to make his mark in Miss First Nation. 

"I have a few surprises planned for my audition but I'm really looking to showcase my own brand of creativity as well as incorporate the Darwin lifestyle to try and bring something unique to the table that will really catch the judges attention," Field says.