With all the glitters, fancy dress-up costumes and feathers, it’s that time of year again for Mardi Gras.
As the highly-anticipated 40th anniversary parade kicks off in Sydney on Saturday, thousands of people are set to flaunt their glamorous alter egos.
But if you are still unsure where to start – look no further!
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, two professional drag queens shared their top tips to get yourself ready for the city’s biggest party of the year.
Here, Maxi Shield and Coco Jumbo reveal their ultimate guide to help you channel your inner diva.
Drag queens Maxi Shield (right) and Coco Jumbo (left) reveal their ultimate guide to help you channel your inner diva
As the highly-anticipated 40th anniversary parade kicks off in Sydney on Saturday, thousands of people are set to flaunt their glamorous alter egos (file image)
Maxi Shield, who has dressed as a professional drag queen for 18 years, said she usually takes at least an hour to completely transform herself head to toe.
‘This time of the year is really special for me. I know drag queens traditionally are timeless but this glittered duck loves getting older… and wiser,’ she said, laughing.
‘As I’ve been doing drag for a really long time I know how to beat my face in usually about an hour or hour and half.’
For Maxi, dressing as a professional drag queen for the special occasion usually ‘requires Olympic type prep’.
‘We have ordered new hair, had dress designs drawn up, been to Cabramatta adventure to get exclusive ‘fabulous fabric’ and get our fake nails painted about 150 times,’ Maxi said.
‘Once it is all systems go, we have a constant rotation of stockings and Spanx through the washing machine, and glittered face and make up residue that is worn through the whole Mardi Gras season.’
Meanwhile, Coco Jumbo, who has been a drag queen for eight years, said she usually gives herself at least three hours to get ready.
‘I like to leave more time than I need to get ready,’ she said.
‘Sometimes, I’ll give myself three hours to get ready – I’ll finish my face in an hour and then spend the rest of the time getting dressed and taking a couple of selfies.’
Coco Jumbo, who has been a drag queen for eight years, said she usually gives herself at least three hours to get ready
For first time Mardi Gras goers, Coco said: ‘If your aim is to be fabulous, don’t wear closed in heels… thank me later’
FOR FIRST TIME GOERS
For hair, make-up and outfit, Maxi said it was important to give yourself a lot of time to get ready.
‘Give yourself plenty of time for this – you can’t rush getting Mardi Gras ready,’ she said.
‘If it’s your first year and you’re in it for the long haul, dress comfortable and cool – less is better, and flat shoes are a must. Glitter is considered a piece of clothing, so if you’re considering dipping yourself in glitter, you’re set.’
Coco added: ‘If your aim is to be fabulous, don’t wear closed in heels… thank me later.’
TRENDS OF 2018
Besides the glitter, Maxi said she would love to see huge feather headdresses come back at this year’s event.
‘Many years ago, I remember seeing headdresses that almost needed support poles to be held up. It made the little drag queen in me tingle,’ she said.
‘Feathers, feathers and more feathers…. unless it rains. When it rains, stay away from feathers, they stain any part of your body and you end up with a blue or pink neck for about a month. I learnt that the hard way.’
Coco added: ‘I just hope I don’t see another glitter beard.’
Maxi Shield, who has dressed as a drag queen for 21 years, said she usually takes at least an hour to completely transform herself head to toe
‘I can’t live with out a sharp razor and a great shaving foam. I’m one of those ladies that have been blessed with a generous amount of gorgeous hair… all the way down my back, but none on my head,’ Maxi said.
‘In terms of make-up, I only use a chap stick and pinch my cheeks for colour. That’s about it.’
Coco said she couldn’t live without spirit gum [a quick-drying solution to attach false hair to face), duo lash glue and powder.
‘These are the necessities for drag,’ Coco said.
‘If the lace on your wig pops off, glue her back on with some spirit gum. If some shady queen comes for you and snatches your lash, glue it back on with some Duo glue. If you’re an oily girl like me, powder is your best friend.’
‘If you are want to watch the parade, get there early and bring a milk crate (to stand on),’ Maxi said.
‘Pack flat shoes in your handbag; band-aids if your heels are new or uncomfortable; a clear plastic poncho in case it rains.’
Coco added: ‘Flats, band-aids and a portable phone charger.’
To prepare your dance moves ahead of the weekend, Maxi said just dance like no one is watching
DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING
‘Many years ago, I used to be – what I call – ‘Kylie Minogue-ing’ (Kylie Minogue-ing, is ‘Spinning Around’) my a** off for hours,’ Maxi said.
‘But the older I got, the less Minogue-ing and the more Nowra shuffling I do, with lots of sit downs. It’s everyone’s Mardi Gras, so just let it all out. Dance like no one is looking, and everyone is looking all at the same time.’
Coco said her go-to dance move was: ‘All you need in life is a “kick ball change”, baby!’
‘It’s Mardi Gras… be fabulous, let everyone else be fabulous, celebrate equality and enjoy the colours of our community out in full storm,’ Coco said.
Maxi said: ‘It’s 40 years of Mardi Gras, it’s going to be fabulous, and being out amongst the celebrations is what’s going to make it even more fabulous.
She added: ‘If you see a fabulous drag queen, don’t grab their hair, dress, face or BOOBS, please. If you want to get a photo, be polite and say please and thank you.’
Maxi Shield and Coco Jumbo are two of the faces of the initiative – ‘We are Colourful’. The vibrant photographs, taken by Mat Baker, are being showcased at The Beresford in Sydney until the end of March.
Spirits brand Absolut has partnered with Merivale to celebrate pride through bringing a diverse range of people from the Sydney Gay and Lesbian community together to embrace diversity.
The alcohol label has revealed the first-ever official Mardi Gras cocktail Absolut Sparkle.