It mightn't have done much for the Spanish women's football team, but Palmerston North is quite alright in the eyes of drag queen Miss Geena.
“The people of Palmerston North are just so down to earth and love to celebrate the good things. Drag makes people feel happy so they welcome us with open arms,” says the Aucklander when asked why she thinks the unassuming city has embraced the art form so fully.
Along with a cast of drag talent from both sides of the Tasman (Art Simone, Kita Mean, Hugo Grrrl and Anita Wigl'it to name a few), Miss Geena is heading to the Manawatu on October 7 for Palmy Drag Fest – and in her luggage when she lands will be a selection of carefully maintained wigs. In addition to aiding creativity and storytelling, wigs are relied upon in the drag world as tool crucial for cultural and gender expression.
Known for her violet head of hair, Miss Geena kindly let us in on how she tends to the hair she pays top dollar for, and why that level of care doesn't quite extend to her own tresses.
Your wigs are fabulous, can you tell us about your collection?
I have somewhere between 20 and 30 wigs. Some are expensive, around the $500 mark, for corporate gigs. These are well styled by professionals. I have wigs from Styled by Esther, The Final Touch and some I’ve styled myself.
Some are just cheap wigs for when I’m doing a performance that involves dancing. I have a lot of purple ones as it's my favourite colour.
What goes into keeping them looking their best before and after shows?
I look after them by making sure every single wig I own is always placed back on a goal head, to keep its style.
My drag sister Kita Mean gave me cleaning tips. I clean the spirit gum off the lace by soaking it in methylated spirits and scrubbing with a toothbrush to keep them clean and looking good.
Do you have a signature hairstyle?
Purple is my colour. With some height – no flat wigs allowed.
Do you have a favourite wig moment from pop culture?
Lady Gaga during a performance of Hair. She had it attached to a mini Eiffel Tower.
What’s the worst thing you can do to a wig?
Throw a styled wig into a bag and not use a foam head.
You have incredible hair under your wigs as well. How would you describe your natural hair?
A boring shade of brown and kind of thick, I prefer wigs haha…
How do you care for it?
I need to work on that.
Who ‘does’ it?
Myself, coz I’m cheap.
What has your relationship with your hair been like over the course of your life?
Being assigned male at birth and growing up in the 90s, there was a conformed idea of what a boy had to look like. I always wanted to grow my hair long, but my mum would tell me off and say it looks “girlie” and forced me to get a short haircut. I used to hate getting my haircut because I loved the feel and look of long hair. I always associated long hair with being female. I was always trans.
What do you think your hair says about you?
Like Gaga said, “I am my Hair”.