By Barbara Hollands
EAST London’s newly crowned Miss Gay Diva South may be delicate and ultra feminine in appearance, but even tough guys know not to mess with Ashton “Ashtonia” Joubert.
Joubert, who won the title at the Arts Theatre earlier this month after beating 14 other contestants from around the country, once drew on sheer muscle power when he beat up a classmate in a class fracas.
“I am nice and friendly to everybody – even the gangsters in my community – but people in Parkside know they can’t mess with gay men,” Joubert said. “Gangsters know that just because we look like women doesn’t mean we can’t fight back.”
Joubert works as a receptionist at a glitzy Quigney hairdresser and beauty parlour. “I grew up with my grandparents and remember always playing with the girls. They’d give me presents like cars and guns but I would let my boy cousin have them and rather play with the girls’ Barbies.”
A committed Christian who once worked for Youth for Christ and counselled schoolchildren, Joubert said he was used to dispelling misconceptions about his sexuality.
“Sometimes I would hear negative comments; people would say, ‘What can a gay person teach our children about morals?’ But I ignored them and when they saw the impact I had on the kids they would call me back to the school.”
Now as an ambassador for Indra Productions’ Miss Gay Diva South title, he is looking forward to helping his community again. “I want to help poor people who are hungry,” said Joubert, who typically wears women’s pants and cardies and “just a little powder and eyeliner”. “But when I’m on stage I like to wear stilettos.”
Joubert, who also sings in a band called Stilettos, is no stranger to the catwalk, but his role models are not the Beyonces of this world. “My role model is Evita Bezuidenhout – she is a real woman.”
This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in the print edition of Weekend Post on Saturday March 10, 2012.