When I moved to the UK, I found I had to be more proactive in meeting new people. So this is the story of how I went from being text friends with Helene on Instagram to us dancing on stage in the largest drag show in Europe in 2019.
Helene and I had been talking back and forth for a year or so. I think we started chatting before I left Australia, similar values, humour, and interests, once in the UK I decided to be proactive in meeting up.
Me: “Hey! I think we would make good friends, I think I’ll come to visit you in Aarhus” (in Denmark).
Helene: “Ha, I know right, sure sounds great.”
Me: “Hope you’re home this weekend, I’ve booked a ticket to come to visit you.”
Helene thought I was just joking about visiting, little did she know that I have mad follow through.
Don’t like to say I told you so, but let’s just say I was completely right. We spent a whole weekend together, getting to know each other in June 2019. We went for drinks and delicious foods in Aarhus, visited and looked after her brother’s four kids and ate both Australia/New Zealand and Danish foods, were interviewed and filmed by journalist students on body positivity. We did not stop talking the whole time. At one point, Helene had mentioned she had been invited to dance in a drag show for pride later that year – it was at the moment that I realised a dream I never knew I had. Helene said I should contact Brynhildr the Drag Queen and see if she needed more dancers – Brynhildr was totally on board!
It wasn’t until I arrived in Copenhagen in August and read a Pride brochure while waiting for luggage that it became apparent that we were dancing in the largest drag show in Europe. For some reason, I thought it was just in a club. Helene and I (and Glen my partner) danced as part of the backup for Brynhildr to Big Girl (You are Beautiful), sung by Mika. To say it was an incredible experience would be an understatement – it was overwhelming and exhilarating. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Helene and I were dancing to support Brynhildr (who is incredible) and have fun. What we didn’t consider was that we could have an impact on people. After dancing (and in the Pride Parade the next day), we had so many people come and talk to us about how they appreciated that we were embracing our bodies and that it was empowering for them. From those who had never worn a bikini, to those transitioning, and those that just liked seeing some diversity. (Our costumes were quite distinctive, so it wasn’t hard for people to find us!)
We have known each other (in-person) for only just over a year and have met up four times now. I visited Helene again in December just before Christmas, spending time with her father and his wife. Learning about awesome Danish traditions that usually revolve around delicious foods but also messed up Danish traditions (the Danish are dark). Just look up the tradition of Kagemand/Kagekone (cake man/cake woman) – it is where you have a birthday cake shaped as a person, and then the CHILD decapitates it – that’s right DECAPITATES while people “playfully” scream.
Helene then came to England in January. Corona has kept us apart for now, but I am very much looking forward to our new adventures. It is always strange to reflect on where a text message can take you when you take a little risk!