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She's engaged to be married. She sends money home to her mother in Thailand. And she's one of the Ladyboy Superstars turning heads on Australia's east coast. What will Newcastle make of this? Published May 13, Reading time: 11 minutes. A festive big top — sky blue and canary yellow — rears from the busy highway corner of Richardson Park, Newcastle. Inside the tent, perched high on the stage scaffolding like birds in a bower, a few workmen peer down at the scene backstage.
Standing before me, resplendent in an ice-green tank top, tiny tortoiseshell patterned shorts, and long bare legs terminating in a pair of scuffed high-heeled boots, is the reason for this sudden linguistic enthusiasm. Her name is Suki. Suki has big, almond-shaped eyes, a full, beautifully defined mouth, and more curves than the Great Ocean Road.
The show has been put together by circus owner Damian Syred. Suki, 27, picks up a top hat decorated with disco mirror panes, plants it slightly askew on her head, and smiles. She is every inch a performer. L-R from top: the Richardson Park venue; a costume headdress; Suki in dressing rooms and doing make-up; mobile dressing rooms.
When I ask her to write out her formal Thai name, I note that she signs herself, disconcertingly, with the masculine honorific.
Despite appearances to the contrary, she remains, in one corner of her mind, Mr Nutchapa Punyawalgiwang. I look at the name she has written on my notepad, look up at her quizzically, and she smiles.