Comedy / Interview

Art Simone: self-confidence and developing your brand

We were lucky enough to be joined by Melbourne’s Premier Drag Queen Art Simone to chat all things self-confidence and building your personal brand.

Art Simone is an absolute force.

For the last almost-decade she has built her empire, and now not only does she wear the crown of Melbourne’s Premier Drag Queen, but she also travels around the world showing international audiences just how fabulous we are Down Under.

Maybe best known in the general public for her appearance in the most recent AAMI Insurance campaign, or for that viral Coles Mini Collectables headpiece, Art has spent the last decade as a chameleon.

You’d be hard pressed to find her repeating a wig, outfit, or makeup look – but her brand doesn’t rely on remembering her costumes – not when she is this fabulous and hilarious.


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As part of our We Nation* series we recently sat down with Art to discuss all things self-confidence and how she built her personal brand.

Art on feeling self-conscious

I don’t struggle with self-confidence in the drag world at all – you could say whatever to me, I don’t care. I’m still probably a bit self-conscious out of drag, I think that’s also because all of my social interactions these days have been me in drag.

I don’t go out not dressed like this anymore, so there’s probably a little bit of doubt. It’s not a personality thing, I’m not embarrassed about who I am, it’s just you get so used to one thing that now [not being in drag] has become the weird thing to me. I’m like ‘How do I hold myself?’ because I get self-conscious because I’ve been doing this for so long.

The traits that I’ve gained in drag, they don’t fit with me as a boy, that’s where the self-consciousness comes from. You overthink things a bit, but I’m not self-conscious about who I am.


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Art on finding self-confidence

Stay true to who you are. Find out who you are, find out what makes you you, and be proud of that. Yes, you can slather yourself in makeup and accessories and look confident, but it always comes from within. You might think it’s easier for me to be self-confident because I’m wearing all this, but it’s 1000 times harder because I know what’s right underneath as well.

It’s about being true to who you are and knowing who you are and not being ashamed of that. Don’t jump in the deep end. Get confident around the right groups of people, find your tribe, find people who celebrate who you are, so you can be confident around them.

But there’s nothing wrong with being self-conscious, that’s a very human trait and it’s nothing to be ashamed about at all. You’re allowed to be shy, you’re allowed to be nervous, no one walks out there being fully “I’ve got this.” There’s still internal dialogue and nervousness and I don’t think that’s something we should ever try to eliminate fully.

Being self-conscious or not being fully self-confident is an okay thing. Everyone’s like, “You’ve got to be confident,” but you don’t always have to be and I don’t think that’s said enough.


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Art on finding your brand

I was a weird kid in that I was [thinking about my personal brand] right from the beginning, I was trying to look at longevity, and I was looking at what made me different from other people that were working at the time and how I could do what they were doing but do it better or different.

I have been really conscious of self-branding right from the beginning. And that brand has developed and changed, I’m definitely completely different from what I was selling eight years ago. I started as this gothic punk kid. I wasn’t really doing drag, I was doing performance art and serious performances and making people feel things, and then I slowly developed and evolved and broadened.

It was very cathartic to perform like that, it was really great for me, but it really niched me for the audiences that I could perform for, so I definitely developed over the years and have become a very well-rounded performer and person.

But I still stuck true because I’ve always been a bit kooky, I’ve always been a bit left of centre, I’ve always been really into makeup. It was hard to brand myself by looking different, that’s a really hard image to sell and my brand is that I always look different, but it’s what I’ve become known for now. I used to be so serious as well, that was my brand, but now my brand is that I’m a complete clown, I’m not ashamed of that.


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*WE Nation is one of Live Nation Entertainment’s ERGs (Employee Resource Groups). WE Nation’s mission is to connect and inspire the women of Live Nation globally by providing guidance and support to their efforts to attain fulfilling careers, balance work and life and address issues affecting women.

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