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Queen visits region

Taking her heels, hair, and a burly ute on the road with her, acclaimed drag performer Ivanna Drink made a couple of pit stops in Masterton on Saturday, reading at a ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ at Masterton District Library during the afternoon and hosting a ‘Drag Bingo Night’ in the evening.

Having starred in season three of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: Down Under’ and performed regularly in Auckland, the drag queen is no stranger to strutting her stuff in front of a rowdy crowd but hosting a kids story time was a different experience.

When Ivanna spoke with Times-Age before her visit, she said she was excited to host the story time and bingo night.

“It gives people an escape to enjoy life, and just smile and laugh,” she said.

Although the event attracted a few protesters, The Drag Queen Storytime at Masterton District Library was considered a raging success, with about 70 children and parents all joining in the fabulous, colourful fun.

Ivanna said the story time was an important event for children, with a focus on inclusivity and confidence.

She believes it is important to bring diversity to regional towns and show kids that you can be “happy, confident, and thriving” doing what you enjoy, even if it isn’t considered “the norm”.

“It’s really important to empower kids to be themselves,” she said, and to “see diversity and lots of different things.”

Children and Youth Services librarian Charlotte Algie was stoked with the turnout and said the council had been very supportive of the event.

“I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough afternoon tea for everyone,” she said.

Algie hopes to host another Rainbow Story Time and said to “watch this space”.

Masterton District Library has previously held events featuring Queen Olivia Lucretia-Bourgeois Connie St Redfern III, and Erika and Coco Flash.

The Drag Bingo night held on Saturday night at the Copthorne Hotel in Solway was very different to the child-friendly story time session, featuring content aimed at the 18-and-over crowd.

The idea for the Drag Bingo business came from across the ditch, where there’s a big culture of “going out and having fun”, Ivanna said.

She said she tries to help smaller businesses by hosting the bingo nights when it might usually be a quieter night.

“We only charge tickets, the businesses get all the profits from food and drinks,” she said.

Ivanna had no hesitation in coming to a provincial town and noted there is generally “a lot more love in regional parts of New Zealand”.

Although there’s sometimes apprehension and people who might not approve, Ivanna said she doesn’t let that stop her.

“I think as drag queens we’re really used to having to fight for things.”

See also the editorial on page six for related content.


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