Drag Race Down Under’s Maxi Shield on uplifting Indigenous voices

Maxi Shield was recently eliminated from Drag Race Down Under (Picture: BBC)

After RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under was marred by blackface controversies, eliminated star Maxi Shield has shared the importance of supporting Indigenous performers.

Scarlet Adams, who is part of the first-ever line-up of the Australian and New Zealand spin-off, was called out for wearing blackface, brownface and mocking multiple ethnicities in her old routines in unearthed photos.

Felicia Foxx, an Aboriginal queen, posted a string of photos on Instagram showing Scarlet in racially inappropriate costumes, including images dressed as a Japanese geisha, wearing a native American headdress, and mocking Aboriginals by wearing blacked-out teeth. 

Talking to Metro.co.uk, Maxi explained how situations like this highlight how important it is that we bring attention to the voices of Aboriginal performers.

‘I’m a cis white male, and I think the world has had enough of cis white males. We have so many incredible Indigenous performers in Australia, please engage with them and listen to their voices,’ they said.

Drag Race Down Under cast

This is the first season of Drag Race Down Under (Picture: BBC/World of Wonder)

She added that it’s important that people use their platform to help shine a light on these queens.

Referring to the two Indigenous contestants on the show, Jojo Zaho and Coco Jumbo, Maxi said they are ‘incredible people’ before going on to name other talented performers.

‘Miss Ellaneous is an incredible drag queen and advocate from Darwin and in Sydney, we have a Gadigal elder, Nana Miss Koori, and she’s absolutely incredible,’ Maxi shared.

For those who don’t know, Sydney is Gadigal land. Gadigal refers to a group of Indigenous people whose traditional lands are located in Gadi, on Eora country, which is otherwise known as Sydney.

Maxi wants to shine a light on Indigenous queens (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Engage with Jojo, Coco, Miss Ellaneous and Nana Miss Koori. Their voices are more important than my voice and we need to lift them up,’ Maxi said.

Viewers of the Australian and New Zealand version of Drag Race have blasted its ‘messy’ editing, saying it’s difficult to keep up with the storyline. After 13 seasons and multiple spin-offs, some fans of the franchise have even labelled it the ‘worst season ever’.

Maxi implored viewers to continue watching, as this is one way to help support drag queens.

‘Definitely support local drag queens and support shows like this. If you’re saying “It’s sh*t”, “It’s dreadful”, “It’s not like this” and “It’s not like that” then it is less likely that there’s going to be a season two, and less likely that your favourite will be lifted up to an international platform.’

On her elimination, Maxi said she knew it came down to all of the tiny details.

‘Once you’re standing up there for your critique, Michelle (Visage) would say the back of your bra is showing, “Oh s**t I know that” or the hair didn’t go around to the back of the neck, “I know that”,’ she explained.

‘But because you’re in such a pressure cooker of an environment, morning till night, and they’re throwing you all of this craziness, the details you forget.

‘It was bittersweet, I wanted to be the first plus-size old girl to take the crown but I got to go home and see my partner and two dogs.’

Looking back now, the performer said she knows she could have improved when it came to preparation.

She explained that Karen From Finance and Art Simone had every single look itemised, unlike herself.

Scarlet Adams was called out for blackface (Picture: BBC)

‘Each look had a colour palette and earrings whereas I put my looks together [on the day]. I didn’t have a face chart of the makeup I was going to do, I went in front of the mirror and said “Ok we’re doing this today”.

‘Maybe I’d go back and change those little things. I do like to go into things prepared but also natural and organic, so maybe that’s where that kind of experience helped me.’

As for whether she knows who will win? She said Drag Race Down Under is as secretive as the Oscars.

‘We know absolutely nothing. Oh but we do know that RuPaul was there, she wasn’t a green screen.’

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under airs Sundays on BBC iPlayer.

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