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Kita Mean Talks ‘Drag Race Down Under’ & Life Lessons In Her Memoir “Life In Lashes”

From Down Under nightlife maven to being crowned ‘Down Under’s First Drag Superstar’, the road to RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under has been filled with highs and lows for Kita Mean. After a life filled with this many trials, tribulations, and ultimately victories, Kita has poured these life lessons into her new book Life In Lashes: The Story Of A Drag Superstar. I sat down with this New Zealand dynamo to talk about what it was like putting her story into a memoir, the Drag Race Down Under journey, and if she would ever hit the Drag Race runway for an All Stars season…

Michael Cook: Based on your new book Life In Lashes: The Story Of A Drag Superstar, your childhood definitely had its more colorful moments; how much of those times influences Kita Mean now? 

Kita Mean: Every single moment in anyone’s history moulds them in one way or another. Writing this memoir of my life was equal parts celebratory, but also therapy. For so much of my life, I just accepted what had been and where I was and where I might or might not go. When I sat down to reflect on my life with the intention to share those memories with the world, it forced me to dissect them intricately and piece things together in a way that I hadn’t done before. Kita Mean as a drag queen is quirky, camp and chaotic-just like my life has been. My drag is the product of my life and I am so proud of it.

MC: Tell us about your earlier days in drag; when did you realize that it would truly be the path and passion that you would follow in life? 

When I discovered drag I instantly fell in love with it. So many things about me and my personality finally started to make sense. I felt a sense of belonging like I had never felt EVER. From day one, I knew I would be doing drag forever and I would turn it into a career no matter what it took. 

MC: You and Anita Wigl’it own and operate the iconic Caluzzi Cabaret and Phoenix Venue in Auckland. What was the key to succeeding in nightlife, which is notoriously a challenging industry? 

KM: I love the nightlife, I love to boogie! After working for years in the nightlife and hospitality industry, I knew that I was at home. My skill set is naturally aligned to making people happy and that is what the hospitality industry is all about! As long as we are producing a good product geared to make people enjoy themselves, then we are away sailing! My business arrangement with Anita works beautifully because we are best friends with very similar goals and outlooks in life. Our skill sets compliment each other perfectly and together we share a ferocious love for the world of DRAG! With all of that combined, we are so proud to be a couple of queer kiwi entrepreneurs making the most of it!

MC: For those of us who have not gotten to experience the world of drag down under, how do you see it differing from US drag? 

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Kita Mean Talks 'Drag Race Down Under' & Life Lessons In Her Memoir "Life In Lashes" 5

KM: Drag Down Under is very welcoming. Around the world, drag artists are seen as a gloriously untouchable entity, whereas Drag Down Under feels very community based. Everyone is welcome to get involved and have some fun. 

MC: You won the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under; what are your rose and thorn, your highest point and lowest point, from that experience? 

KM: My thorn was having to see my sisters have their hearts broken. In the moment during filming, it really feels like your life’s on the line and I know how much being a part of that first season meant to us all. The rose was obviously making it to the end and getting a chance to call my mother and break down in tears to tell her, “Ma, I made it” I still get emotional to this day thinking about it. I’ve never felt so drained and proud in my entire life.

MC: Anita completed on Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs. The World’; is there a world where we could see you on a “vs The World” or an All Winners All Stars season? 

KM: I am an obsessed fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. If I was given the opportunity to compete on any season of RuPaul’s Drag Race again, I would absolutely jump at it. I have got a lot more up my sleeve and I would love to represent Australia and New Zealand in an international competition!

MC: Weight is a thread that travels through your whole life in your memoir and you discussed it on Drag Race Down Under; have you conquered that demon or does it remain a daily challenge for you? 

KM: My weight will be a demon that I will live alongside forever. I love bad food and I hate exercising-Period (laughs)! But, being healthier has been the beginning of a much happier and productive era of my life so while it’s hard, it’s SO worth it!

MC: Your memoir was extremely honest; what do you want fans to take away from your book once they finish reading it? 

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Kita Mean Talks 'Drag Race Down Under' & Life Lessons In Her Memoir "Life In Lashes" 5

KM: We all go through some lame times in life but even the dark times have a lesson that can work in our favour if we can find the strength to see it. Energy is kinetic and we can either take it and use it or give it away. Own your power and swing the hammer!

MC: In a world where drag is becoming so incredibly polarizing, what can we each do to support drag performers? 

KM: Honestly, just love your neighbour. If we all focus on showing love and understanding to the person next to us it will filter down to the people that need it most. If you ever catch yourself being judgemental, ask yourself, how could I be more loving and understanding in this moment. It’s a game changer. Also… tickets to my show!

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