Miss First Nation Grand Finale

Reviewed by: anonymous (peer review)

The night of Miss First Nations grand final began with about as much drama as one would expect from a Drag Queen competition, especially a blackfulla one.

As guests began to meander into the beautifully designed outdoor setting at Malthouse theatre’s courtyard, it looked like everything going smoothly. Gorgeous gigantic queens in extravagantly adorned outfits swanned through the crowds, greeting one another with love and excitement, as well many a snappy remark followed by bellowing cackles. They were tonight’s royalty and boy did they look it!

As this year’s contestants made their runway walk to the stage, a whisper began to buzz through the venue. A group of our queens (a handful of our guest judges and last year’s reigning champion Chocolate Boxx) were stuck in an elevator, the drama was almost too good to be true. As the minutes ticked by, first 10, then 15, then 20 the guests started to become restless and rowdy (this was coupled with the extra drinks downed in the wait we suspect, shhh). So, in swoops our hosts and creators for the evening Miscellaneous and Marzipan. Sharp, witty, and incredibly charismatic, our hosts direct all attention towards the big screen and up pops a video of our trapped queens, appearing to be in good spirits and rearing to go once freed.

FINALLY, our night begins. As this competition is run across a number of nights, we are given a recap of the previous heats.

Heat 1, Best National Costume & Miss Talent
Heat 2, Lyp Sync Superstar
Heat 3, Miss Photogenic (a day photoshoot at the Victorian Tunnel Centre)

And introduced to our guest judges for this evening. Over 40 judges were a part of the overall competition in order for the process to remain fair and impartial.

After a rundown of the generous companies contributing to the sizeable prize pool that our contestants can snatch up this year, we are reminded about what is at the core of this community. We are played a clip from ‘Black Divaz (2018)’, a beautiful reminder of how it all started, of the power of this community of Queens. That whilst this is a competition, it is first and foremost a place of safety, solidarity, and sisterhood, where individuals already existing in a marginalized community can come together and unapologetically celebrate the f**k out of each other!

Taking out the top prize this year was Cerulean (Merium/Erub) our Miss First Nations 2021.

Their performance was absolutely eclectic! A sophisticated amalgamation of spoken word and snippets of songs that told an entire story within their allotted time. It was fierce, it was bold, it was everything you ever wanted in a Drag performance, and more. Put blankly, we want more! Let’s hope they build it into an entire show in the future.

Stone Motherless Cold (Arrernte) was our 1st Runner Up.
Wearing a color palette of electric greens and white go-go boots. Stone Motherless Cold’s lithe limbs and waifish appearance is captivating on their own. When their song begins to play, Shirley Bassey’s ‘Where do I begin, you simply can’t take your eyes off them.

Estelle (Arrernte/Gurinji) was our 2nd Runner Up.
Estelle’s performance was a quintessential high-energy Queen moment, dips and all. A highlight for many an audience member was when they threw party-sized packets of twisties into the crowd (one queen in the audience actually ran up to the stage in order to secure hers). Not to forget our other contestants, Lady Gargles (Dunghutti/Anaiwan) performing a ballad by Queen Beyonce, Peaches (TSI) performing a Mariah Carey classic, and Karma Bites (Wiradjuri) who all also performed spectacularly and gave our three winners a run for their money and took out many a title for themselves.

All in all, this night was a wild, extravagant celebration of creativity, passion, and vigor. Which begs another question this writer would like to through into the mix. With such world-class, innovative performances’ being given by our beautiful First Nations Queens how was there ever any room for all the controversy surrounding the mediocre choices made in this year’s selection at Ru Paul’s Drag Race down under (involving queens whose highest form of creativity was stooping to cultural appropriation and blatant racism). Miss First Nations competition proves there is BIGGER, BLACKER, and BETTER out here, ready to snatch your crown.

Image credit: Midsumma Festival and Suzanne Balding