Betty will drag you along on a trip
A NEW reality TV show aimed at changing perceptions of drag queens is about to hit South Africa’s screens in the form of Betty Bangles en die Drie Dossers, led by one of the country’s most popular drag artists, Betty Bangles.
With a stroke of lip liner, the tightening of a corset and the careful teasing of his latest wig, Johannesburg hairstylist Bernard Buys, 37, transforms himself into the fabulous and daring Betty Bangles. The show comes to SA screens on July 7, on Via!, channel 147 on DStv at 9pm and there are eight episodes. It’s edgy and exciting, a first of its kind on SA TV and is sure to raise a few eyebrows among the more conservative citizens.
“We are a channel that celebrates and depicts lifestyle choices, including from unique communities that form the South African social kaleidoscope, and so we chose to commission this out-of-the-box new reality show starring Betty Bangles,” said Pat van Heerden, head of content at Via!
The Afrikaans reality show will be based on everything drag. Betty Bangles, one of South Africa’s top drag artists and the presenter and personality of the show, is on a mission to find her top three contestants to give them a chance to win the title of Miss Gay Mardi Gras Southern Africa.
But first, she goes through a process of elimination to find her top three, improve their craft and send them on a trip to the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival in Knysna.
“Filming Betty Bangles en die Drie Dossers was filled with lots of laughs, tears and surprises,” said Hermi King, the show’s executive producer. “The show is the journey of three new-to-the-scene drag artists who get coached and polished by Betty Bangles.
Betty Bangles calls on a few of her fabulous celebrity friends to help judge and inspire the contestants. “The goal is to see if one of the three apprentices can win the Miss Gay Mardi Gras Southern Africa 2017 in Knysna. It has been an incredible journey to meet these wonderful people. I have such respect for their efforts and dedication,” said Betty.
The show also follows the reality of Betty and Bernard’s daily life. “There was a drag show and I remember how mesmerised I was by those drag queens on stage. I just thought to myself how fabulous it will be to continue my love for acting with sequins and feathers,” said Betty.
Getting to know Bernard Buys, one finds a friendly and easy-going guy with a heart of gold. He grew up in conservative Potgietersrus – now Mokopane – in Limpopo and works as a hairdresser for a salon in Clearwater Mall, west of Johannesburg.
Betty Bangles is the star.