Dylan Bendall will certainly feel at home when he performs in Rockhampton this month.
In the guise of his drag persona Gayleen Tuckwood, Dylan is one of the star attractions at Club-Rok’s 9th birthday celebrations at Flamingo’s on Quay on Saturday, 12 March.
Gayleen will take to the stage along with schoolboy friend ShuShu Funtanna (David McKone), joining local drag queen talent Felisha Coppaload and resident Veronica Darling.
It all began for Dylan (Cathedral College) four years ago in the Yeppoon bedroom of best friend David (St Brendan’s) as they shared drag make-up tips.
“We used to hang out on weekends. We were best friends,” Dylan said. “That’s what got me started. We did it for fun. I didn’t think it would lead to anything.”
In actuality, it led them both to Brisbane two years ago where they have forged blossoming careers on the city’s drag circuit.
“I mainly perform at the Sporties, with other gigs in Ipswich,” Dylan said.
As testament to their success, ShuShu was crowned Miss Sportsman Hotel 2015 while Gayleen won the Miss Rising Star title at the same contest.
It’s a far cry from playing with lipstick and blushers in a Yeppoon bedroom.
“Rocky was the first place I performed,” Dylan said. “It was at Club-Rok and I was really quite bad. I’ve come a long way since then.”
And how did Gayleen Tuckwood become the persona?
“It’s a combination of my parents’ names, Gavin and Rayleen,” Dylan explained. “And, you know, you sort of have to tuck the wood away. It was designed to get people’s attention.”
Dylan said he was very fortunate to have supportive parents.
“They’re loving it. I think they’re my greatest fans.”
A hairdresser by day, Dylan spends most of his spare time sewing.
“I make all my own outfits – and some for ShuShu as well!” he said.
Some of those costumes will be on show when they return home for the Disney-themed birthday party at Club-Roc.
“I’ll be doing a few duets with ShuShu and we’re working with Veronica to stage a group performance,” Dylan said.
“I’m really looking forward to returning home for it.”
CLICK HERE to see one of Gayleen’s performances at the Sporties or watch the video below.