Tyler Leach walked into his parents’ lounge room one day thinking, “Gee, I look pretty” – and that was it. He wanted to feel pretty again and drag made him feel that way. Welcome Miss Ovary Action! This charming, creative and intelligent young man who prides himself on being a voice for those who have not yet found it leaves no room for anyone to question who he is. Head high and smile wide, he’s come through the eye of the COVID virtual learning storm to live another day. The future looks bright with no clouds in sight for this 2020 Dromana Secondary College school captain who will take the lessons he’s learnt over the past 12 months into the years ahead and forge on with style and grace.
But it ain’t been easy. Tyler explains: “My school captaincy didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it would and we were all so sick of lockdown and virtual learning in the end. I was elected at the end of 2019 and had only given two speeches at assembly by the time we started remote learning. The reason I wanted to be in a leadership role was to be the voice for people throughout Year 12 – and that was even without COVID. Lots of people were struggling so I became the connection between teachers and the students via my Facebook page. Students could ask questions and voice concerns. There was some connection. Then there was the impact of studying for exams by yourself.”
Sounds like adaptation was the name of the game to getting through the ‘virtual’ Year 12 in one piece. He continues: “It was a real test of self-discipline. Being physically at school means you have teachers and friends to help you keep motivated, but remote learning, even though the teachers continue to support you, means you’ve really got to do so much of it yourself. You just have to do it. Rip the Band-Aid off. I wrote myself sticky notes and stuck them everywhere. I even wrote them to remind myself to get out of bed and have breakfast because sometimes the temptation to stay in bed and forget about everything was just too great. I had to keep some form of routine and tell myself to stop overthinking things. Just take one day at a time. Walk down to the beach and look up at the sky. You’ve got the rest of your life to make memories.”
And survive Tyler – aka Miss Ovary Action – did. With a move to Melbourne early in the year to begin his Diploma in Specialist Makeup at the Masters Institute of Creative Education in Spring St and a scholarship secured to study fashion at the same institute in 2022, this vibrant young artist with his head screwed on ‘straight’ is keen to forge connections with like-minded creatives. The city life is calling. He continues: “I’ve been on the Peninsula my whole life and am such a country mouse. I’m nervous but excited at the same time. I can’t wait to get up on stage and start performing drag in Melbourne. I love making costumes and doing the whole make-up thing. I did studio arts and drama in VCE and my VCE solos were based around characters who were drag queens. I also made tribute costumes for English and studio arts. Apologies to Joan London, who wrote The Golden Age: I turned that book into a suit.”
No apologies needed, Ovary. Just turn the page and rewrite history. Happy travels and lead on.