Hannah Conda drag queen Sydney feature

Meet the drag queen: Hannah Conda

As he walked through a shopping centre in York WA, dressed in a tutu, purple Diana Ross afro wig and a pair of plastic high heels he so affectionately dubbed ‘clip-clop’ shoes, it was obvious this young boy was meant for something different.

Fast-forward about 20 years and the fully-fledged, full-time creative drag performer and artist in Sydney known as Hannah Conda has taken his place. Suffice it to say, everyone knew it was coming.

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The drag alter ego of Christopher Collins, Hannah Conda is the quietly confident, theatrically well-versed drag scene personality and entertainer that has so quickly won the hearts of many Sydney locals.

Through her impressive make-up artistry, vivacious outfits and camp matter-of-fact humour through a lot of what she does, Hannah has quickly carved a name for herself from meagre beginnings on Australia’s west coast.

It was only a matter of time before she relocated to Sydney to chase the career she’s been working toward for six years and now, couldn’t be happier.

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“I was lucky to have been brought up in Perth and harbour my art form,” she said. “Perth is a great breeding ground because there’s nothing else to do there. So many successful actors are from Perth and they have such amazing talent; much like the drag performers on the drag scene who’re all really great.”

Hannah’s talent as a drag artist and entertainer is one of homegrown variety she created all herself.

“For me, drag is an endless pool of possibility. There’s so much you can do and the opportunities to take it wherever you want to are endless,” she said.

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From the days of old when she’d traipse in the early hours of the morning from club to club in Perth, dressed up in a face of make-up painted by her mentors, Hannah’s journey has been a quick graduation into stardom.

Though as determined as she was, never in her life would she have thought she’d take the plunge and become a professional working drag artist, replacing her regular working weeks in retail and theatre.

“I used to enter into the amateur drag competition nights at The Court Hotel in Perth and it really clicked with me to the point I knew wanted to do it more,” she said. “Eight months later I was running the nights and taking frequent trips to Sydney where I’d perform spot shows.”

It was during this period Hannah met her drag colleagues and ‘sisters’, entered into the Diva Awards Australia – the drag industry’s variety awards – and found an even more deep-seeded determination.

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Thankfully for Hannah it all worked out. Never being one to allow failure or defeat get in her way, she was always willing and made herself able to perform and practise, opening her up to taking her skills in drag further.

“If someone tells me I can’t do something, I make it my mission to try it and do it well. I’m always up for trying something different and left of centre and if some things don’t work, that’s fine, I move onto the next one,” she said.

However, as much of an outgoing personality as Hannah has adopted and a diverse repertoire of on and off stage mannerisms she’s crafted for herself, drag is still a very expressive and personal form of self-identification for her.

“When I’m on stage or working a show, I want it to represent something I am passionate about or something that’s personal that I can express,” she said. “It’s worked for me so far and the regulars who watch my shows enjoy it, too.”

With no end in sight and no other life path that has ever fitted with Christopher quite as well as the one Hannah Conda has granted him, the future is looking bright for the performer.

“Everything has been a risk so far and it’s paid off for me, evidently. In the time I’ve been in Sydney, I’ve ticked off more things from my list than I ever thought possible and going forward, it’s about maintaining what I’ve done and taking it further.”

With goals for the future that involve taking another leap of faith for the US and entering into the world of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hannah knows it’s cocky, but as she sees it; possible.

You can catch Hannah Conda’s performances around Sydney and see more at her Facebook page,  or Instagram

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