Forget what you think you know about the world of drag – a new documentary goes beneath the fanciful frocks and enormous eyebrows to find the real stories of men who dress up as women.
Wellington director Andy Boreham was chosen to shoot a documentary after entering the BBC Young Producers competition. Andy, who has dabbled in drag before as part of The Glamazons, says he wanted to focus on something that would stick out to the competition’s judges; Beneath The Wigs was born (trailer below).
“I knew it was safe to bet that there probably wouldn’t be another entry like mine; I thought the subject matter increased my chances of success. After I won and started meeting with potential subjects I realised the film would be so much deeper than I ever expected. All three of the guys in the film are friends from Wellington who I already knew prior to shooting. I found out so much more than I already knew by the end of the process.”
Beneath The Wigs features interviews with three capital city Queens – Daniel “Lady Trenyce” Williams, Brendan “Ellie Kat” Goudswaard and Adam “Amanda La Whore” DeHaar. All three are interviewed by accomplished GLBT interviewer and photographer Gareth Watkins.
“Gareth and I had a few long coffee sessions before shooting to decide in a general line of questioning,” says Andy. “We also agreed that our interview technique shouldn’t be rigid, and we often found the guys would come up with subjects we hadn’t ever expected. I think that’s how it should be, because documentary making is, after all, a process of discovery. Gareth is a great interviewer and really has a feel for where to go and what to ask.”
The film delves deep into the lives of the three men and no stone is left unturned – each speaks frankly about coming out, growing up, getting into drag and meeting men who are less than receptive towards their life on stage.
“There is so much about these guys that I never knew,” says Andy. “There are many layers that make up who these men are today and that comes across in their drag alter-ego. You might see a drag queen performing at a bar on Saturday night and think there isn’t much to her, but trust me when I say that the guy underneath it all has story you could never imagine.”
“I hope people watch Beneath the Wigs with the realisation that there is another person underneath all the glitter and foundation – a person that has their own life, their own stories and their own unique and multi-faceted personality, which mostly happens away from the spotlights. Drag is just one part of that person – you really should get to know the rest.”
| Hannah Jennings-Voykovich
Beneath the Wigs will screen for the first time on New Zealand television at 9.30pm, Monday 03 December and then throughout 2013 on BBC Knowledge. Check your TV listings for dates and times. Visit the website for more information: www.beneaththewigs.co.nz.
Photos | Main – Brendan Goudswaard and alter ego Ellie Kat; left - Daniel “Lady Trenyce” Williams; right - director Andy Boreham.