7 minutes ago
To read aloud
BACKGROUND – In Veur de Drood, well-known Achterhoekers answer infernal positions. He who answers exposes his soul. Today Michiel Wopereis alias drag queen Mary Miracle from Lievelde. “My alter ego dies before me.”
By André Valkeman
1) My mental mood is:
“Tired but satisfied. Yesterday I had my last drag queen show of the season. Mary is a nice hysterical act. I lip sync songs. In other words: I playback. I had an inflatable banana yesterday and sang Chiquitita from ABBA, among other things, at a private party. I finally waved that thing and the whole hut was turned upside down. Delicious.”
2) I am most like ‘mien va/mo’:
“I answer like Mary Miracle and I am obviously my mother. A diva who never left without make-up and who also used to have high up hair.
My parents have never had a problem with my act or with me being gay. They always said and say: ‘Ah, our Michiel, dene is just like that.’
I remember well that my cousin came out and my aunt thought that was an issue. My mother said, and that signifies her, “Be glad that your son is healthy and happy.” My parents are so non-judgmental and tolerant.
In character, the entrepreneurial pacesetter in me is my father. I like to connect people, that’s my mother.”
3) I prefer to be Mary Miracle every day:
“No. It’s an exaggeration of my exuberant extroverted side. Mary taught me that I may be. Only a withdrawn boy lives in my soul. Someone who wants to read a book on the couch. Mary does not know that peace.
Mary is also a real drag queen. A common mistake is that all drag queens would like to be women. With a drag queen, it’s all about the show! I don’t wear women’s clothes at home.
For Mary, I shave my legs and chin, but when a series of shows is over, I let everything run wild, I want a beard and feel like a real man again.”
4) After death there is:
“A next life. I once experienced a so-called reading session, which made me believe in reincarnation. I was able to speak French fluently very early on and seem to preach French when I speak aloud in dreams. From that reading it came out that I was a French man in a past life. Things just fell into place. Who knows, in the next life I may be a woman.”
5) This is my biggest fear:
“Freethinking is under threat and I fear it will get worse. I am the initiator of the Achterhoek Pride and there are still currents that get fierce and almost angry, because: is that necessary?! Yes, this is necessary because there are minorities who do not dare to express themselves, because they do not find themselves in the streets of the Achterhoek. Through Pride we want to show that the Achterhoek also has that diversity of inhabitants, so that it gives minorities the power to be themselves 365 days of the year.
6) I can live outside the Achterhoek:
“Secure. I lived in Nijmegen for thirteen years where I worked as a primary school teacher. When I started teaching, there were few teaching jobs in the Achterhoek. Yet that region was always attractive and I returned.
What is typical of the Achterhoek? I think if you compare us with locals like Tukkers and Sallanders that the Achterhoeker has a little more profiling urge.”
7) This was my last brawl:
“No, I never hit myself. Mmm, but I’ve been targeted many times. I have been bullied for over eleven years. A sad part of my past that you carry with you.
The deeper layer of my drag queen is that boy who didn’t dare to show himself and who finally can and dares. The suffering has been processed, although that boy still occasionally returns. For example, if I see a bully from the past. It grabs me by the throat for a moment, then I get palpitations for a while.”
8) Then I was happiest:
“Travelling with my husband, like our trip to New York, quite recently.”
9) People with an accent are:
“Beautiful… Yesterday I also spoke flat at the party where I performed. For people here, that’s ‘coming home’. I like it when you can hear where someone comes from.”
10) Here’s what it comes down to on my rock:
“Not much. Michiel wants to be strewn in Provence, France. Mary will die sooner. In my old age I don’t see myself being a drag queen. I sometimes think of Mary’s funeral, which will be hysterical.
Maybe Mary will get this on her rock: ‘I was what I was’. The past tense to Gloria Gaynor’s I am what I am.”