Photo credit: Carol Muller
Kiki Fetch shared her story at the sell-out premiere of My Drag Story at Mardi Gras 2021. Hear from a brand spanking, glittering, new lineup at the Pride Weekender edition of My Drag Story on June 19. Details HERE.
I was born and raised in the Philippines and at an early age, I knew I was different from the other kids.
Most of my childhood was spent playing with dolls and I would pretend to be Dyesebel, a little mermaid character in my country. I used to wrap from my waist down with a blanket and pretend that I had a mermaid’s tail.
I was 16 years old when our parents sat with us one evening to tell us that we were migrating to Australia.
It took one year to process the papers and our visas, and it was the end of 2002, just before Christmas, when we flew to Australia.
As the plane took off, I remember bursting into tears. It was the realisation that we had just left behind our life, friends and others for a new beginning.
When I arrived in Australia, my experience wasn’t what I expected. In high school everybody knew I was gay. I was bullied and made fun of. In the classroom, no one would sit next to or talk to me.
I had never felt that kind of rejection in my life. I felt like I was such a loser.
Despite everybody in school knowing I was gay, back home, I had to hide my true self and pretend I was straight.
A year later, I began to adapt to my new life. I was confident enough to start conversations with other people and made new friends.
The first ever friend I had was a Pilipina trans woman who was transitioning at the time. She was about the same age as me. We used to hang out and talk about life.
She introduced me to straight clubbing - she loved going to clubs every Saturday night and talking to straight boys. Then, one Saturday night, she told me that we were going to a gay club on Oxford Street. I was so excited.
That night was the first time I saw a drag show.
I was amazed and mesmerised by their beauty and seeing them made me want to be a drag queen.
Months later, I met my first boyfriend. He would become my first long-term relationship. I had told him that I wanted to become a Drag Queen so he helped me build my drag career. When I was starting out, I remember him being so supportive.
He even bought my first makeup kit.
And with that kit, Ms. Kiki Fetch was born.
My first drag show appearance was at ARQ. It was one of those competitions where they were looking for someone to join a regular Thursday night show. I was brave enough to compete.
I remembered how nervous I was to perform in front of people. I was scared to be judged and laughed at.
But I just ignored those feelings. I jumped on the stage and did my number.
It wasn’t a great number and about halfway through I felt my wig slipping. One spin later and my whole wig came off!
I froze! I stood on stage looking back at the audience. I rushed off stage while my music was playing. Wig still in the middle of the stage.
On my way home, I told myself that I was done with drag.
My boyfriend forced me to do it again. He told me if I stopped drag then I had wasted his money on the makeup kit.
I decided to give it another go.
I went back to ARQ the following Thursday for a second chance.
I was determined to win the drag competition. I did the same number to a song called ‘Buttons’ by Pussycat Dolls. The difference this time was that I incorporated taking my wig off at the end.
It was a success!
Despite being a finalist, I was voted out of the competition. Yet I wasn’t sad. It gave me the determination I needed to work harder at perfecting my craft.
A year later I competed in a new drag competition called Australia’s Next Top Drag Queen at Midnight Shift.
In that year, I learned a lot and my perseverance paid off. Winning this competition opened many doors for me as a new drag queen. I even had my own show every Friday night at Midnight Shift and in 2006 I was nominated as a Diva Rising Star.
Drag helped me go from that shy, sad little kid that I was when I first moved to Australia to the confident performer and person I am today.