Stock up on glit­ter, throw on your bright­est out­fit and lace up the danc­ing shoes be­cause the 2017 an­nual Mardi Gras is this week­end and it’s go­ing to be fab­u­lous

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - SALLY COATES

What bet­ter way to prove a point than by throw­ing a mas­sive party? That’s what Faustina Agol­ley, who will host Aus­tralia’s big­gest cel­e­bra­tion of LGBTQI cul­ture this week­end, reck­ons about the Syd­ney Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras.

“The gays have al­ways been quite clever about in­clu­sion and mak­ing a point with­out blud­geon­ing peo­ple over the head with it,” she says.

“Mardi Gras is a nice wel­com­ing door into a com­mu­nity of ac­cep­tance and cel­e­brat­ing di­ver­sity and I think it’s good for peo­ple strug­gling with their sex­u­al­ity to see so many peo­ple who are own­ing theirs.

“It’s a nice pos­i­tive ap­proach rather than lec­tur­ing peo­ple or giv­ing a speech.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to do it – with glit­ter, colours, cos­tumes and love.”

Al­though this is Faustina’s sec­ond year host­ing the cel­e­bra­tions, prior to that she felt “too clos­eted” to at­tend, so never did.

“I came out just shy of two years ago, on my birth­day,” she re­counts.

“I thought it was bizarre that I’d never been be­fore, I hadn’t been to pride par­ties.

“I was just that un­know­ing of my own self that I didn’t even know I was liv­ing in the gay mecca of Aus­tralia and that it even ap­plied to me.

“Then I moved to LA and still didn’t re­alise I was liv­ing in the gay mecca of the world.

“So many missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

It was her an­nounce­ment that led to SBS of­fer­ing Faustina the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time, and they must have been pumped to sud­denly have such a per­fect am­bas­sador.

“When I came out I put it on In­sta­gram and it was just so won­der­fully re­ceived,” she says.

“I didn’t know what to ex­pect from fol­low­ers or the pub­lic in gen­eral then it turned into this news thing.

“I just wanted to share a pos­i­tive mes­sage of the strug­gles of com­ing out.

“When SBS asked if I wanted to host Mardi Gras luck­ily I had about a year to pre­pare, if I’d had to do it straight away I don’t think I could have done it.

“But it was a year later so it gave me a chance for the gay­ness to mar­i­nate on me.”

Now she couldn’t be more ex­cited for the big event, and as a host she’ll have one of the best seats in the house.

“We’ll be spend­ing the evening on Ox­ford Street at a cool van­tage point and cap­tur­ing most of the floats that pass by and just over 12,000 peo­ple march­ing,” she ex­plains.

“I know the theme this year is cre­at­ing equal­ity.

“Joel Creasey and Em Rus­ciano are both new this year and they’re very chatty co­me­di­ans, there’ll be lots of riff raff, so I’ll hold down the fort and lay down some knowl­edge.

“I’ll be there giv­ing cud­dles and hand­ing out rain­bow stick­ers.”

While the rain­bow stick­ers are ob­vi­ously cru­cial, there’s also a se­ri­ous side to the event, steered by Pa­trick Ab­boud.

“One of the dis­tinct dif­fer­ences this year is that we’ll be talk­ing to each of the float leaders about what their float means to them,” she says.

“There’ll also be some sto­ries in be­tween, more in depth sto­ries di­rected by Pa­trick Ab­boud, an SBS jour­nal­ist who in­vented the show The Feed – he’s a re­ally bright guy.

“He’s spent months work­ing on in depth sto­ries of fam­ily mem­bers com­ing out, peo­ple parad­ing for the first time – peo­ple with awe­some sto­ries.”

For Faustina, she’ll be keep­ing her eye out for a cou­ple of per­sonal favourite floats dur­ing the pa­rade .

“I’m re­ally ex­cited be­cause there’s two Ge­orge Michael floats, it’ll be quite poignant and a stark re­minder of a great mu­si­cal le­gend.

“I also sug­gested to Streets that there should be a Golden Gay­time float, it seems log­i­cal to me.

“That’s my dream, I’ll do what­ever they want if they pay me in Golden Gay­times.”

The Syd­ney Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras airs on SBS at 7.30pm QLD time, Sun­day March 5.

Joel Creasey and Em Rus­ciano join Faustina Agol­ley and Pa­trick Ab­boud to host the Syd­ney Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras on SBS.

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