Reigning queen after new crown

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Email Carly Laden
Ayleesha Tryed.
Camera IconAyleesha Tryed. Credit: Carly Laden

A local drag queen is set to make “her-story” when she takes to the national stage as the first WA contestant in a pageant dedicated to indigenous drag queens.

Ayleesha Tryed, the reigning Kimberley Queen, will be looking to add another crown to her collection when she travels to Melbourne next month to vie for the Miss First Nation title.

Originally from Port Hedland, Ayleesha is considered a fresh face on the drag scene, having performed for just a year.

She is the first finalist to hail from WA as the Miss First Nation pageant enters its third year.

Ayleesha is the brainchild of Thomas Lockyer, who started by performing for friends and family.

“I heard about the Kimberley Queen contest that takes place during Broome Mardi Gras so I thought I’d give it a go,” he said.

“I wasn’t very polished back then — I only had a wig, fake eyelashes and a friend’s dress.

“Moving to Broome from Port Hedland pushed me to pursue drag even further.

“I entered the Kimberley Queen contest again in March, and I ended up winning.”

Mr Lockyer said it felt amazing to be the Kimberley Queen and he was excited to take his drag further to Miss First Nation.

“I feel like this year is my year now that I have a bit more experience,” he said.

On finding out he was Miss First Nation’s first WA finalist, Mr Lockyer said it felt “really rewarding” to be able to represent WA as well as the Kimberley and Pilbara.

“I’ve had people from all over Australia send me messages saying I’m fabulous and they hope I can take the crown, so I would really like to make them proud,” he said.

“I’ve always had a passion for the issue of indigenous suicide, especially in the LGBTI community, so I would like to use this new platform I have to advocate for not only WA’s North West but for the whole of Australia.

“I want to help break the cycle of shame that impacts on the indigenous community.

“I want people to know there is no shame in talking to someone and asking for help.”

Mr Lockyer said he was very excited to compete in the four-day pageant and meet the other finalists also vying for the crown.

“Queens like Jojo Zaho and Nana Miss Koori are pretty much my idols and they’re well established in the indigenous drag community, so to be competing alongside them is a fantastic feeling,” he said.

The pageant also has a photography competition and national costume contest.

For those who would like to support Mr Lockyer’s journey to Miss First Nation, he has set up a Go Fund Me page.

Visit bit.ly/2KtTqlV to make a donation.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails