Image courtesy of Natasha Jynel
I sat down with Natasha at my favourite coffee spot- Starbucks, to have a quick chat about her exciting new show. Read all about it here:
The Australia Times (TAT): Hi Natasha, just to start off with a bit of background about you… where did you grow up?
Natasha Jynel: That’s a very complex story but my parents are from Barbados. I grew up in Boston, Maryland, Florida, and New York a tiny bit. I moved to Melbourne the day after I turned 20.
TAT: How would you describe yourself in three words?
NJ: Tenacious, loyal and brave.
TAT: Have you studied?
NJ: My last high school was a performing arts high school. I went to Emerson College in Boston and studied film and photography , then I decided to move to the other side of the world. I’m a qualified primary school teacher.
TAT: How do you spend your time?
NJ: I play with my cat- her name is Kiki, aside from that it is very rare that I have free time. I lay in bed and catch up on TV shows.
TAT: Do you speak any other languages?
NJ: Spanish- really badly. Alot of my friends are Colombian.
TAT: What inspires you creatively?
NJ: The desire to connect, and to find the ways to celebrate the different journeys we’ve taken and finding the commonalities.
TAT: When did you start performing?
NJ: It depends on your definition. I’ve pretty much been performing since I was two, I remember my mum told me not to steal the limelight when I was going to my friends party at age six. When I was sixteen I started acting at the Boston Arts Academy. I did acting but also got interested is set design, lighting design and stage management. We wrote our own pieces to perform.
TAT: Tell us about the show- Auto Bio Queen, what’s it about?
NJ: Auto Bio Queen is a project Ive been working on since I was eighteen. I have had an interesting, complicated, difficult life, but somehow not letting my past limit the future.I have two tattoos on my hand- one says ‘hope’, one says ‘prey’, it means everything I touch in life I touch with hope and I remember those who are vulnerable. Hope for the prey.
I have borderline personality disorder- I’ve had to take the time to deal with that. But I love being able to move from screen and stage- turning a private experience into a performance that would give people an experience of my journey. I didn’t want to do a one woman show, I wanted others to tell a certain part of my story. This is my story yes but in a way its everybody’s story. At the end of the day we are all human beings- we experience loss and drama, and question who we are. And if you haven’t experience any of that get ready cause it will be fun.
TAT: So after reading a bit about the show, I’m interested to know why you love the idea of being a female drag queen?
NJ: I never wanted to be pretty or girly- I wanted to either be in trackpants and hoodies or I want to be in the highest heels possible. The people that I was most attracted to were Tina Turner, Cher, Michael Jackson and obviously Prince. I was really attracted to the people who were just bigger than life- but I wasn’t interested in being a singer but there was something about them being on stage that I wanted to do.
When I was sixteen my best friends were all drag queens so I used to go with them to the gay clubs. Everytime I looked at a drag queen I thought that’s who I wanted to be. I think people in life make assumptions, and assume I’m not queer because I look like this. It doesn’t matter what you look like- it’s how you feel. What I feel is I would like the opportunity to bring everyone love and spread that around.
TAT: Would you call the show a comedy?
NJ: It’s a laugh, cry show. I think it’s difficult to say what another person is going to find funny or sad, it comes down to the individual.
TAT: What has been your greatest accomplishment?
NJ: Becoming an Australia citizen. As soon as I got citizenship I was so happy. My excitement was more about the idea of- if I stick to something, no matter how long and tiring, if I actually stick to it and have conviction behind it then I will achieve it.
TAT: Lastly, why should people see the show?
NJ: Because you haven’t seen anything like it before, and may not ever.
You can see Natasha’s show:
When: 26th-31st July
Where: The Butterfly Club (Carson pl off Little Collins)
Information: Butterfly Club members get $1 off all drinks, regular offers of discounted (or free) tickets, access to members-only events and a pretty card that fits right in your wallet.