Lyall Hakaria

If there’s anyone who can see the Pride Festival off in style it’s Lyall Hakaraia. Lyall lives in London where he runs events, DJs and owns his own nightclub. He’s also a talented fashion designer whose clothes have been worn by (Queen) Beyoncé and are often featured in the glossy pages of Vogue. While Lyall left NZ two decades ago, we’re lucky enough to have him back on our shores for the Pride Festival.

I’m a tranny but I’m also a Dad.

My day usually begins with an act of sheer bloody mindedness – I swim every morning in an outdoor pool and believe its good for me even though it may be snowing and minus 4. Why do we believe that good things come from hardship?  And my day ends with falling sleep in a mink coat on the sofa. Snore. Oh, and dreading the swim in the morning…

Name your three favourite places in Auckland to eat, drink and play.
Eat – Fish’n’chups from Helensville as I will be eating them with very good friends.
Drink – SPQR as it is a time warp back to Auckland 20 years ago.
Play – The beach on Waiheke Island where the woman in the silicon mermaid tail swims daily. Magic!

Tell us something we’d be surprised to know about you.
I won a competition as a child and had my recipes published by the NZ Egg Board. I remember never wanting to cook again after that. Howling shame!

Pick a book and a park you’d like to read it in, anywhere in the world.
Angela Carter Nights at the Circus in the Madrid park Jardines del Buen Retiro with its surreal topiary and outdoor life. It also has the Prado on its edge stuffed with Goyas.

Tell us a little bit about what’s planned for the PROUD party…
Just upping the ante, MUCH! With more killer international DJs: from the UK we have Disco Smack, from the US we have LA’s Cub leader Victor Rodriguez and the Queen of Queer from Oz Djay Sveta. We have a great theme this year to get the crowd involved: Gods and Monsters. There will also be hosting and performances from local royalty to include Buck Wheat and Tess, Kneel Halt, Mika Haka, Ribena  – the list of super fabulous artists, installations and participants we have this year goes on and on! We want people to come and create MAGIC with us!

What’s been your proudest career moment to date?
Hearing my daughter telling her friends I was a slag for dressing as Beyoncé! The thrill of being denigrated by your offspring in an off-handed way is a mark of honour in my books.

What’s your favourite city in the world and why?
Austin, Texas. It is the richest city in the US and really supports its artists with the most amazing arts programming year round, plus the weather is great and the booze is cheap. I am going to SXSW after Proud and really looking forward to going to my favourite festival Gay Bi Gay Gay. Aces high!

What other else are you looking forward to at the Pride Festival?
I am working with a friend on the ‘Manu Project’ and we are getting an art totem ready for the parade. I have made similar ones for Glastonbury festival and had a performance at the Barbican. We are going to be working with queer youth and really looking forward to creating some energy and love for the parade.

If everyone in the world had a theme song that played when they walked into a room, what would yours be and why?
Hildegard Knef’s From Here on it Got Rough a joyless ditty about the trails and tribulations of life, fame and fortune BUT delivered with great humour and insight.

I love this song because life is never what it seems at first and you have to stay with it to get the most out of it! As they would say in London ‘You have to risk it to get the biscuit’. Have a listen, there is a lesson or two in here for all.

Lyall’s directing the Proud Party at Victoria Park Market on Saturday the 28th February as part of the Auckland Pride Festival.