For Drag Race Down Under’s Pomara Fifth, her journey was cut short, but this bodacious babe has plenty left to show the viewers and her newfound fans. A favorite of Down Under audiences, Fifth had longtime relationships with her Down Under castmates (which may not have served her well in all cases). I sat down with Pomara post-elimination to talk about her journey to Drag Race Down Under, when she knew drag would be the path that she would follow, and we got personal on some very personal stories that Pomara didn’t get the chance to share with viewers.
Michael Cook: Tell me about your Drag Race Down Under experience. This is truly a massively talent-stacked cast!
Pomara Fifth: Absolutely. I think this season there was pressure after Season 1 for sure, and after watching this season back, I have said to myself “Wow this is a good season”! I love it, I had previously said that I wasn’t a massive watcher of Drag Race and had only seen two seasons of Drag Race in my life. I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in, and just said “all right, we’re gonna go do it”! That was my mentality, just go in and do it. That is my personality, drop me in a hornets nest and we’ll figure it out from there. I wanted to go in, do it and have fun and I did. I enjoyed every minute of it and I made great relationships with all the girls. We’re all great friends and we talk every single day. That is what I gained from this I think, awesome friendships. I was just trying to take in every moment, not trying to get into my head and think too strategic game-wise. I just wanted to get in there and spread my message, spread positivity, and share my story with the world. And what an amazing platform to do it!
MC: You obviously had relationships with some of the girls, so did it add another layer of stress to the competition knowing you knew some of the other competitors?
P: Going into the competition what people don’t see is that I have known and worked alongside people like Minnie, Hannah, & Faux for nine years. There is a lot of history there, a lot of working relationships. We have worked together and done bingo, I have driven Minnie home and we got lost in a car park (laughs). You do sort of gravitate towards the people you don’t know because you want to get to know them and you almost forget that there are relationships there. You can’t tell that on-camera because we aren’t interacting so much because we are already so used to each other, we are interacting with the ones that we don’t know. Because you know people, sometimes things can come back to the surface and there may be hidden resentments that you were not aware of.
MC: You were a very strong competitor, but didn’t seem to get a great deal of feedback from the judges on the main stage. Was that difficult to not get feedback that might have been useful in the future?
P: One hundred percent. I felt a little pushed to the side, that person that was just tagging along. It was like I was safe, safe then in the bottom; it was like “we love the dress, great hair, next”! Then it was like “you’re in the bottom, you’re going home, bye”! When you go there and you have blown so much money just to get there, I think that sort of needs to be taken into account. I know plenty of people who have gone in and not just spent a great deal of money, but had to walk away from a lot.
I had to walk away from my granddad dying from cancer. My mother said that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she didn’t want to take it away from me. She said that if something happens while I was there, she wasn’t going to tell me. So there is that added pressure and the entire time I’m there, I’m thinking “oh my God”...It goes for all of the other girls other, we had to walk away from a lot. I am not saying take pity on us, but for every Drag Race girl, we give up a lot and I think that should be taken into account. My Drag Race ride was very safe/minimal critique/you’re out and I just wish I got more. My goal going into Drag Race was to share my message and my personal experience and I had been through quite a bit in my twenty-nine years and wanted to share that with the Drag Race viewers.
MC: What is one thing that you didn’t get to share with the viewers that you wish you had had the opportunity to share?
P: One thing that didn’t make it was that I have survived cancer, I have been clinically dead twice. I’ve spent four and a half years diagnosed with HIV and didn’t know it and bordered on being diagnosed with AIDS. I was very sick and the struggle of trying to get back to health and unfortunately, I didn’t get to share that. It was perfect timing on the episode that I ended up leaving on, but it unfortunately didn’t make it.
MC: HIV still is something that still does happen in our community, and stories like that are essential to know about.
P: Absolutely. You don’t have to share it with the world and the laws here protect those with HIV; you don’t have to share your status with anyone, it is not a requirement. There is stigma around that, am I am trying to break down those stigmas and barriers. Going on Drag Race, that was another message that I wanted to get out. It didn’t make it and that is okay though.
MC: When did you know that drag would be so much more than a hobby and would be the passion that you would be following?
P: The moment I started. I have been performing since I was five. I got into dancing and then I went to performing arts school. I did acting, dancing, all of it; I went to regionals for dance aerobics! Then I left and continued on doing musicals and things like that. I was surrounded by so many straight females that didn’t want to go out gay clubbing and have been to our gay precinct in Sydney named Oxford Street. When I went with my gay friends to a place called Ark, I saw a drag show and suddenly thought that it encapsulates everything that I have been doing in my life; I have been dressing up since I was three. I used to put stockings on my head and tennis balls on the end and pretend that I was Sailor Moon; the creativity and ingenuity was already there!
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