MEN OF MARDI GRAS
Harbour Party is always my Mardi Gras standout event. The surroundings, the vibe and the people really showcase how we Australians live and party. I will never forget the feeling of the first time I attended. Being surrounded by my close mates, the sounds, the energy and the iconic landmarks of Sydney as the backdrop. The sun set behind the bridge and the music took off. The whole crowd came together, boys embraced and you couldn’t wipe the smile of excitement off anyone’s face. It was a moment and feeling that brings me back every year.
My Mardi Gras moment was in 2008 when I first moved to Sydney from Canada. I was still trying to meet people when some friends invited me to join a float for the Parade. It involved several rehearsals to nail our dance routine but when the big day came, it was surreal. I had never seen so many camera flashes or so many people screaming in delight watching us. The Parade went by so quickly I was left wanting more. Good thing we went to the Mardi Gras Party right afterwards to burn our excess energy!
Recently moving from London, my first exposure to Mardi Gras was being cast for The Party video as “Watermelon Boy”. I didn’t know what to expect. On arrival the door was opened by someone in an outlandish fox outfit and I entered into flashing lights, drag queens swapping heels, oiled muscle boys and the occasional fox! The shoot with Elvis Di Fazio was fun and sticky and everyone was extremely friendly… especially seeing I dropped my kit and got frisky with a watermelon!
Last year was an extra special for me. Not only was it a confidence boosting/testing day, being pushed up Oxford Street wearing a leather G string and being screamed at by thousands of people, it was also the first time my boyfriend said “I love you.” So that’s the reason I was smiling so much as Courtney Act and the amazing dancers were performing Marry The Night at Taylor Square. I will never forget it.
I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the making of the Mardi Gras Party video which turned out spectacular. I also made the acquaintance of many colourful, interesting, and fantastic individuals. I have had a number of noteworthy experiences with Mardi Gras over the past four years, including marching in the Parade, helping out in the medical tents and making the video. But the best moment happened this year when I found out my quiet and oftentimes infuriatingly conservative father shared the video on his Facebook wall when it was released. It almost brought a tear to my eye. Thank you, Dad!
I’ve grown up a few times in a few different cities in the world and faced trials in each of them. The past year in Sydney, I’ve struggled to find my place in the community. Through modelling for Mardi Gras I’ve unexpectedly found a family where I fit and have a place. We have come to know each other and respect each other’s craziness knowing that is what makes each of us unique and, after all, isn’t that what Mardi Gras is all about? If you’re new to the scene and it’s hard at first and you read this, know that it does get better. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that, too. So my Mardi Gras moment is meeting my Mardi Gras family. I’m fortunate to have had you all enter my life.
Left to right: Andreas, Anthony, Johnnie, Jeremy,Jake and (kneeling) Dale.