Icon, Diva, Personality; Dannii. You can’t say the name ‘Minogue’ anywhere in Australia, let alone and a GLBTIQA+ celebration without a giddy, star struck feeling sweeping the vicinity. The cultural impact of Minogue transcends generations; from her emergence on Young Talent Time, through Home And Away and her time on stage with Grease, to her club hit ‘All I Wanna Do’ and to X-Factor today.
As one of the most prominent entertainers connected with the Australian queer community, Dannii is more than simply an advocate or a supporter. “This is my tribe,” she smiles as she prepares to headline the annual Feast Festival celebrations here in Adelaide, beginning tonight. “People have been following me since they were kids, and are now coming to shows and bringing their children along. Different generations, it’s quite crazy but it’s a long, long romance that will continue and hopefully there will be a day when people don’t have to ‘come out’. Come out from what, you know?”
It’s something everyone knows. But while Minogue is not one to lead the conversation, her affinity with the community has inevitably framed her considered opinions coming into Feast, which have also mirrored the constant evolution of conversation nationally in the last 12 months.
“Even since my last performance in Mardi Gras in Sydney a lot has changed, in what you read in the news, what you hear on the radio and what people are talking about,” she says. “What’s amazing is that whether you’re in this community, or just listening to people, there are so many varied opinions. The community isn’t just following one opinion. It’s important for discussion to happen and for communication to take place. I did a really interesting interview last week with a guy called Kindred Spirit that went on social media. He was saying that he had to identify with his community that he was gay, but he said ‘I’m a homosapien. I’m a person.’ So much has to change where those labels aren’t implying that ‘everything else is normal and you’re not.’ It will be and amazing time and space to see that. Whenever I do festivals, Mardi Gras, Pride, Feast, it’s about bringing communities together to share love, joy, and people just being themselves.”
Admittedly, Adelaide isn’t a city Dannii gets to spend particularly much time in, but her connection with local designer Paolo Sebastian has given her an insight into the depth of talent and creativity oozing out of our city.
“Paul came to Sydney to fit some dresses and we were speaking about it. He’s able to run a global business from here, do consultations via Skype and his dresses never need any alterations when they arrive because he is a master. I think that if there’s a few people who are incredible in their field who stay here and show people that it can be done in Adelaide, and mentor people to follow them, then I think you’ll see more people staying to pursue their dreams. Aurelio Costarella in Perth was instrumental there in doing something similar. For me as an outsider, that seems to be the key to moving forward.”
Unfortunately though Dannii won’t be able to stick around to see the Paolo Sebastian runways on Sunday, or much else of Adelaide for that matter as she’ll be required to do the school run first thing Monday for her son, Ethan. Motherhood seems to fill Minogue with a glow as she talks about heading home, and after years traversing the world she’s thankful that she can now mostly work from a single location, affording her time to enjoy being at home.
“Being a mum brought a really good balance to my life. When you love what you do you tend to just work around the clock. That’s not the healthiest thing to do, and my parents would be screaming at me the whole time saying ‘you’ve got to put on some brakes’, but I’d see there was something else fun to do always coming up. Now, I pick and choose then what I make time for and I do very few performances. This is only my third or fourth show this year.”
Which makes Feast all the luckier to have Dannii at the helm of its entertainment for the coming fortnight and for the launch night, she’ll be firmly in the moment. “It’s nice when people come up and tell you their history with you and you can put the whole snapshot together. It’s a little harder when I have my mummy hat on, especially to explain to Ethan but the rest of the time I love having people coming up to me and having a conversation.”
No doubt, there will be plenty of fans eager to steal a moment this evening as the Feast Festival opens with a street party along Hyde St. To see the full Feast Festival Program, visit their website.