Victoria Anthony is the angel of Oxford Street. She’s a pillar of glittering sequins and a regular face in some of Sydney’s most iconic queer spaces. In the past few years she’s accrued residencies as a DJ in Palms, Stonewall, The Midnight Shift and the Beresford amongst many others, and graces any dancefloor under her spell with a dynamic mix of party anthems and contemporary house. As a performer she’s highly sought after, having DJ’d for Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour in 2015 as well as the official Mardi Gras Party in 2016 and 2017.
However, Ms Anthony is also a show girl and a beauty queen, placing as second runner up in the 2017 Miss Transsexual Australia competition. She is as passionate as she is glamourous, embracing all things feminine while advocating for the rights and recognition of Trans people in Australia.
This year we at Sydney Fringe had the pleasure of dressing Victoria up in one of Shaun McGrath’s fantastic wigs for an exciting photoshoot. We spoke to Victoria about beauty pageants, life as one of Sydney’s favourite DJs, and the political act of partying.
It’s been a big year for you coming not only 2nd runner up in Miss Transsexual Australia, but also winning Miss Photogenic and Best In Swimsuit. What has the competition meant for you?
Thank you so much. I initially just wanted to enter the competition for fun with one of my close friends, but I got a lot more out of it. I got to meet so many other transwomen, and all the organisers were so kind and amazing. Winning the awards was a bonus for me and it was all about the experience and having a good time with everyone. I’m also very grateful for all the love and support from the community.
How important do you think competitions like Miss Transsexual Australia are for transwomen in feeling accepted and recognised in their communities?
Overall, it has created a lot of positivity for the community. The pageant organisers create a family vibe for the girls involved. We were recognised in a positive way by the community because we were standing proud together and being who we are. It may seem like a competition might mean the girls would go against each other negatively but not in this pageant. We were taken on an amazing journey through Melbourne and got to hang out with so many other girls whom we had so much in common with. We are a small community, but we were out and proud all over Melbourne events throughout the weekend of the pageant. A gender transition can be very difficult. Being able to meet other girls in a similar situation can be very helpful to share tips and discuss issues we might have in regards to being transgender. It was amazing to come together.
What role do you think clothes and fashion have in helping people forge their own identities?
Clothes and fashion can help express who we are on the inside. It has definitely allowed me to express my feminine identity and embrace it. It has helped my transition greatly and allowed me to be free to express who I truly am. They can lift your spirits, make you feel great about yourself and can give you more confidence to live life to the fullest.
You’ve also performed alongside Maxi Shield in her iconic Stonewall residency Meals on Heels. What do you love most about performing in front of an audience?
I love Maxi Shield and Meals On Heels. Maxi is all about having a good time and having a laugh. She’s been so supportive of me. I love working with her. I get to dress in a cute waitress uniform two nights a week, play fun games with the crowd, give away prizes and be silly. I love being able to make people smile or laugh when I perform. It just makes me enjoy my night better. I love sharing my positive energy with others. Performing for me has always been so thrilling, and it can always make my night a lot better. I love it. In August, I am starting a brand new event every first Thursday of the month upstairs at Colombian Hotel called Trans Glamoré. Transgender performers and friends will have the opportunity to celebrate their love for performance with the crowd.
As a professional DJ what do you think is the recipe for a great night out?
Have a good time, do what you love, enjoy the music you play, smile, enjoy a beverage or three, take requests within reason. The crowd will love you for it. I always bring a variety of music to the club because I never know what to expect. Some DJs don’t take requests but if I like the song the partygoer requests, I will play it because it creates little bursts of energy and joy on the dancefloor. I tell the partygoer to scream and cheer when the song request comes on because the sound of the cheers reminds the other people on the dancefloor to let loose and have fun. It’s the icebreaker. Towards the end of the night if there are a lot of people still in the crowd that have been there for hours I try to come out for a minute or two and share a dance with them to thank them, and quickly run back to the DJ booth and mix the next song in. I know this is a little naughty but I got to have fun too.
Have you noticed any changes in the queer clubbing scene in Sydney since you first started working?
I arrived onto the scene when the lockout laws had just come into effect. I think the clubs have definitely suffered from the lesser amount of people coming out to party, and it has just pushed people to go out where the lockouts aren’t in effect. It has stopped people from partying all night until lunchtime the next day. You really have to play what will keep people in the venue if you want to last until drinks stop being served at 3am or 3:30am and still stay true to what you love to play on top of that. It’s really difficult some nights. You need to find a balance. Events have to run earlier nowadays, and this seems to be working to draw people into the venues. Drag queens are hosting bingo, trivia or doing Meals on Heels earlier in the night to adapt to the changes and it has definitely worked.
What more do you think Sydney can do to help foster a healthy nightlife for its LGBT folk?
I think LGBT folk need to support the venues that are still open because one day there might not be any left. You never know who you could meet there and what you could get out of the night out. There’s a lot of great things that are on throughout the week and on the weekend. I think venues that aren’t LGBT in Sydney should support the idea of having an event for the LGBT community every now and then. The LGBT community live openly and proudly all over the city. You never know what could come from an event run in a neighbourhood away from Oxford Street.
Why do you think clubbing has become such an integral part of queer culture?
For me, being able to come out to a place where you don’t have to hide who you are is very important. They create a safe place for you to hang out with your friends and maybe even make new friends. I recall a time in New York City back in 2013 when I was living there for a year. I DJed at an underground transgender club in Brooklyn and it was the first time I felt liberated, desired and beautiful as a transwoman. I didn’t have to hide who I was or have that awkward moment where you have to tell someone you are trans. I knew that the people there were going to be supportive and love the fact that I was trans. I was lucky to meet my partner there. If this space didn’t exist I may not have even met him. We are now about to celebrate our four-year anniversary in a few months. Support your venues. Go out, be free, meet new people, be positive, be open-minded, be safe and be around people who are going to be supportive of who you are and your art. That’s what clubbing and events will offer you and they will bring so much joy to your life.
Written by Michael Kennedy