Betty will drag you along on a trip

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTER

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.

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