Felicity Frockaccino is one of Sydney’s few full time drag queens. In 2005, Shay Evan’s birthed Felicity in Wellington, New Zealand with a blue ruffled dress and black eyeliner that ran from the eyelid to the eyebrow. Now, freshly contoured and wigged, she is a Queen famous for her quick tongue, bingo nights and even wedding performances. Sleep Pile caught up with Felicity to learn what it takes to be a Drag Queen in 2016.
So you’ve been in Sydney 5 years?
Yep! A one way ticket, a suitcase, a wig and a dream!
How would you describe the famous Felicity Frockaccino?
Felicity is supposed to be the opposite of me, she is really hectic, full on and busy all the time. I like that. She is my alter-ego. I’m a gay man, but I like to be by myself and just chill out. She wears lots of colour and is all about being really gay and fabulous. Felicity is just like TA-DAAAA. All eyes on her kind of thing… Like oh God! She pisses me off sometimes!
Do you find you ever get into her character when you are not performing?
Totally, it crosses over so much. I call it the Felicity guard. I tend to put it up if the person knows me as Shay, not as Felicity. I’ll just put my walls up to protect myself.
What do you have to protect yourself from?
I call it the drag queen curse. In terms of meeting guys, I have a wall up. I think, I don’t know you, I don’t trust you yet and this stops me from giving my whole self to someone.
So do you avoid saying that you do drag?
I don’t mention it at the start. I don’t say HI! I’m Shay! I’m a Drag Queen! I just say I’m an artist. Drag is totally art. It’s totally changed in the last 20 years, back then people just thought you were a hooker as well. Now it’s like wow you are an artist, or a performance artist. It has this recognition about it that it never used to have. It’s almost mainstream but it’s not.
What do you think of Oxford Street and ARQ today?
Oh my god, it’s a lot of dancing. I don’t think drag should be the entire drag show. I’m very much all about the visual and the performance. I’d rather tell a story than do a box step.
What is learning the ‘art’ of being a Drag Queen?
Learning how to perfect your makeup and your style. NZ had a lot of fluidity and hand movements where as here the moves are a lot more abrasive. Sydney drag is very clean lines, it is very polished. It is the best in the world without a doubt.
How are the other drag queens in Sydney?
I came from a huge sisterhood where everyone looked out for each other, even if you didn’t like them, you still had their back. It is a lot less forgiving in Sydney because there is a lot more competition.
Do you know anyone that has been exiled?
I feel this way myself, largely due to my big opinions. I don’t stand for liars.
Can you give me an example?
I was accused of undercutting a few years ago. Drag is a competition so it unfair if you are undercutting (charging less than everyone else to get the work). The wrong thing to do in Sydney is to undercut. You don’t want to be that person that they’ll book cos you are a dollar! You are supposed to be a professional.
How often do you work?
Recently, seven nights a week. Starting at midday on the weekends. But normally 5 nights a week. Felicity has been my full time job for 2 years now. Sometimes I work at the Priscilla community to help out other drag queens. I’m very lucky, there are maybe 8 or 9 that work full time in Sydney. I pay taxes!
What makes up the main bulk of your work?
A range of things! I do weddings, hens nights, club performances, pubs nights, bingo.. and a lot of bingo! I’m normally contracted for around 6 months. Some weekends I work over 12 hours, starting at noon and going way later than midnight!
Did the lockout change things?
Oh yes, we couldn’t do 1:30 shows, 2:30 even 3:30 anymore. Definitely cut our work because no one was there. The clubs really saw that and saved a lot of money hiring us. We saw a lot of closures. I even went to go and do a gig and they wouldn’t let me in because I came after lockout. They’ve sorted through those issues now.
Are there any areas that you would like to move into?
I’d love to see Felicity as a plus side model, for fashion. I’d love for people to see that Felicity because she’s artistically beautiful.. I am! It would be cool to see a drag queen. Ta-da! I’m wearing real girl clothes. You don’t have to be afraid. There is no limit on drag. I’d love for someone to get me to do a campaign. I’d love to be common knowledge. Like there’s Felicity! Walking down the street! That’s why I do the Kmart. I go to K-mart every Wednesday just to f*** around. I go live on Facebook and people laugh and ask me questions.
Do you have any fans?
I have fan art that is featured on my website and I got fan mail the other day! I’ll show you! It’s a popcorn bag and I think I’ll make a whole costume from it…
Would you say drag Queens have a retirement age?
Yes. I mean it depends on how well you are received but I’ve been told 20 years, Tessticle said that. But keep your attitude in check and don’t be a diva. If you are a diva, you’ll last 2 seconds.