Mardi Gras’ Sissy Ball, Australia’s Biggest Vogue Contest, Is Returning In 2019


Sissy Ball at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2019

Australia’s biggest vogue competition, Sissy Ball, is returning to the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to celebrate Asia-Pacific’s LGBTQIA+ community.

Inspired by New York’s iconic vogue ballroom scene, the event brings people together for a night of dance, music, and expressive freedom and celebrates ballroom’s endurance in queer culture.

Sissy Ball made its sold-out debut at this year’s 40th anniversary Mardi Gras and is returning to Sydney’s Carriageworks on February 23.

Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist and House of Slé mother, Bhenji Ra again curates Sissy Ball, inviting back US vogue icons Leiomy Maldonado (pictured) and Dashaun Wesley as entrants battle it out on the Sissy Ball runway.

Acclaimed NYC choreographer Leiomy Maldonado will wear the crown of head judge on the night, with fellow New Yorker and Dashaun Wesley helping Leiomy with play-by-play commentary.

Local houses House of Slé, House of Luna, and House of IMAN will be among those taking to the stage to celebrate the Asia Pacific’s burgeoning vogue scene.

Stepping onto the catwalk is House of Slé, led by Sissy Ball curator and house mother Bhenji Ra and featuring Western Sydney-based artists who all belong to the greater Asia Pacific diaspora.

They walk alongside the newly formed House of IMAN, headed by house mother Jaycee Baybee, as well Sydney’s newest house, House of Luna led by overall mother Karlee Misipeka.

Co-founder of Fafswag, TAMATOA will represent Auckland’s LGBQTIA+ arts community, helping them explore ideas of urban Pacific queer identity.

Houses and individual entrants are all competing to win Sissy Ball’s Grand Prize, following in the footsteps of House of Amazon’s Yovana Banks’ win earlier this year.

The 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival will kick off on February 15 and run for two weeks through to March 3, culminating with the annual parade and official Mardi Gras Party.

Announcing the lineup, organisers said the 2019 festival theme “Fearless” honours the LGBTIQ activism of the past, as well as a call to action to march fearlessly into the future.

Tickets for the 2019 Sissy Ball, presented Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Red Bull Music, are available now, and you can explore the entire 2019 Mardi Gras lineup here.