Drag queen takes on Mr World Singapore title
Fairul Edham Hirdayat wants to change mindsets, is 'no stranger to the stage'
This professional drag queen is looking to add another feather in his crown, by taking part in Mr World Singapore 2020.
Mr Fairul Edham Hirdayat goes by the moniker Farrah Shamrock under local drag group House Of Miss Joaquim, and the 33-year-old is one of the 24 finalists of the annual pageant, which is slated to take place in December.
Even though he was initially filled with doubt about auditioning for Mr World Singapore, he decided to take a risk and reveal his profession during the interview process to stand out from other contestants and be remembered by the competition's organiser, Beam Artistes.
Mr Fairul, who is 1.7m tall and weighs 61kg, said: "I was afraid they would not accept me. That was a big obstacle and I asked myself, 'What if they don't want someone like me to represent?'"
The former full-time performer and cheerleading coach, who started his drag career in 2018 and is also working as a restaurant supervisor, believes it is "time for a change".
He is unconcerned by how the public perceives him, especially as he has already gained the acceptance of his 60-year-old mother.
He is also heartened that he has not received backlash for joining Mr World Singapore, perhaps because people are "more exposed to and more educated about" what was previously considered a "taboo topic".
Recalling his initial drag queen days when he received negative comments online from people calling him a "disgrace", he said: "It is more sad (for) them, while I am happy with what I am doing.
"(People think) that we sell our bodies or we are cross-dressers. They fail to realise that drag is a performing art."
Mr Fairul added: "(But) given the requirements of (this) competition, of course I have to man up and act manly."
However, he feels his career choice gives him an advantage because he is "no stranger to the stage" and performing drag solo numbers has taught him to "command the audience's attention alone".
And through his Mr World Singapore journey, Mr Fairul has learnt to embrace his purpose and not hold himself back.
He said: "If I were to win without being myself, I wouldn't be happy with it."
He is now emboldened to challenge gender stereotypes, break limits and push boundaries.
"I want to give a voice to the LGBTQ community... If Mr World Singapore can accept me for me, the opportunities and platforms are endless for us."
He added: "(We should) put ourselves out there for our stories to be heard. Whether the outcome is good or bad, it is better to be heard than not heard at all."