NSW Hunter region-raised Indigenous drag queen Jojo Zaho is using her platform to share a powerful message.
Jojo Zaho is the stage name of John Ridgeway, a proud Biripi and Worimi man, who prefers to be referred to as she/her inside drag and he/him outside drag.
"The message I want to give to the queer and Indigenous community is, you're not not an outsider and you're very much welcome here," Jojo said.
"Be proud of who you are, embrace who you are and don't let others tell you who you need to be. The only person who knows who you need to be is you."
The Indigenous drag queen from Kurri Kurri will star in the Stan Original Series RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under, featuring ten queens from Australia and New Zealand.
"It's the world stage to showcase my culture on such a momentous level, and that's just not an opportunity given to queer or Indigenous people very often," Jojo said.
As an Indigenous Australian, Jojo, has faced her share of racial discrimination, especially as a child.
"One time in high school, I was walking to class, not really paying attention and I suddenly bumped into a girl and she got quite upset," she said.
"We exchanged words and she finished it with, 'go back to where you came from'. She's recently reached out to me and apologised. But yeah, it was one of those experiences as a teenager that was a slap in the face. But it's also like, are you stupid? I'm Indigenous, so technically I am where I'm from."
Jojo's drag career began as a political retaliation in 2015 when a Dubbo council member said homosexuality was not part of the Indigenous culture.
"I decided to wear a gorgeous dress I made with a friend of mine out of the Indigenous and gay pride flag at Dubbo's first pride march as a nice little 'up yours'," she said.
With RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under to air on Stan later this year, Jojo said she can't wait to see the drag baby boom unfold, especially from the Indigenous community.
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"I can't wait to watch other Indigenous queens take that stage and share their stories, because we all have such different stories to share," she said.
Newcastle comedian, Rhys Nicholson, who will also feature on the show as the Australian judge, said he was genuinely proud and excited for the world to see RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under.
Nicholson said if he wasn't a comedian, he would be a drag queen. It has been a dream of his since he was a child. He said he still admires drag queens today, and sees it as quite a dramatic and radical act of pure artistic expression.
"To be a person dressing up as the other gender is a pretty political thing to do. I just find it really incredible," Nicholson said.