Sunshine Coast's famous bingo drag queen Matt Dunstan preparing to frock up.
Sunshine Coast's famous bingo drag queen Matt Dunstan preparing to frock up.

Man oh man, it’s not easy being Melony Brests

Behind every great drag queen there is a man just itching to unstrap the bra, ditch the false eyelashes and rouge, toss the wig and not go near the shaving mirror until the next outrageous gig.

That’s the take home message at least from Noosa’s own drag diva, Melony Brests, the always politically incorrect bingo caller who tonight will be leading the Noosa Rainbow River Festival frolics into full-on party mode.

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Ms Brests’ other half is actually a well-spoken, deep-voiced Matt Dunstan, a former Melbourne boy who struggled to find his way in his local gay scene until Melony strutted into his life.

Matt Dunstan loves to stay unshaven in-between Melony Brests' appearances.
Matt Dunstan loves to stay unshaven in-between Melony Brests' appearances.

“There’s a lot confusion around the differences between drag and transgender, and all of that,” Mr Dunstan said.

“People say to me ‘what’s it like living like that during the day’, and I go ‘well I’m a bloke during the day and I grow a beard between shows’.

“I do it for purely entertainment purposes – as soon as I get home I can’t wait to get out of it.”

Mr Dunstan, 47, this year celebrates three decades as the divine Ms Brests and recalls vividly how they first hooked up.

“Growing up in the gay community in Melbourne I found that if you did a drag show you could be the star of your own show – and 30 years later I’m still going strong,” Mr Dunstan said.

He said the drag queen bingo started in Melbourne 20 years ago.

“In the early days it was just a bar show and we gave people free bingo tickets and the greedy ones would take like 10 of them.

In the swing of the Noosa Rainbow River Festival are Geoff Marshman and Melony Brests.
In the swing of the Noosa Rainbow River Festival are Geoff Marshman and Melony Brests.

“I said you know what, you can all make a donation and give it to a charity and that’s how the fundraising began.”

Since 2004 when the Matt and Melony double act hit the Sunshine Coast – they have raised more than $600,000 for charities like the RSPCA and the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Mr Dunstan said sometimes just the thought of channelling his stage persona can be a drag.

“There’s some days I go, I don’t really feel like this, but I find as soon as the lights are on and I’m dressed up Melony comes out and tries to be at her absolute worst,” he said.

“I know I can still push boundaries, other people sort of can’t anymore.

“Slightly offbeat rude humour is still expected – even in the regionals they love it.”

Over the weekend Noosa’s Rainbow River Festival which celebrates the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras and the local LGBTI community, Ms Brests is at every event.

“They get a party crowd – it’s become a fun institution thing for Noosa in itself really,” he said.

At the last word comes from Ms Brests about her opening stance in tomorrow’s 2pm-5pm beach cricket match at Noosa Spit: “I’m sure it will be a ball-dropping good time.”


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