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c romwell youth were given a sprinkling of the diversity rainbow as Taranaki drag queens CoCo and Erika visited The Hangout youth centre last week.

The pair from New Plymouth have been touring the country, meeting groups and sharing their message of love and acceptance.

The aim of the tour is to ‘‘spread some fabulosity’’, CoCo said.
It could be hard for people who might be ‘‘a little different’’ to feel like it was OK to be different, she said.
‘‘So it is about acceptance, it is about self-confidence, it is about being your unique self and embracing it.’’

CoCo was a cisgender female, meaning she was assigned a female sex at birth, but that didn’t stop her from being a drag queen.
Anyone could be a drag king or drag queen, she said. Drag ‘‘is for everybody’’.

For Erika, her journey in drag began by taking part in musical theatre.
‘‘That is where my love for drag was actually created.’’

She had taken part in musical productions including Kinky Boots and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and was involved in a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
‘‘Those kinds of camp aspects of theatre really struck a chord with me.
‘‘Why not do drag? It is fun, it is for everyone, it is not hurting anyone, and it just adds a little bit more sparkle to your life.’’

The pair decided to visit rural and semi-rural areas in their tour ‘‘because we are from a small town ourselves, and you really don’t get access to colourful characters, people who are different, outwardly different and confident about it, like you do in the cities’’, Erika said. The aim was to show smaller communities that there were many ways to be yourselves, she said.

About two dozen young people met the drag queens, asking a range of questions, including where the drag queens found their dresses, and how tall they were in heels.
‘‘If you are tall like me and you do drag, watch out for doors,’’ Erika said.

The discussion also included more serious topics, including sexuality and acceptance.
The pair encouraged people to get advice from others around them and to take time.
‘‘I know families where somebody has come out as gay and the family have been a bit shocked at first, but gradually, with time, it has got somewhere,’’ Erika said.
‘‘I think slow and steady wins the race.’’