In the first of the “TBS Ten” interview series, The Hon. Trevor Ashley, First Lady of Oxford Street tells us about that “sitch” with Julie Bishop…
TBS: What do you think the key factor is in you ending up where you are today, career wise?
Trevor Ashley: I think, more than anything, it’s self belief. I’ve taken a lot of risks, both artistically and financially, and they’ve (thankfully) paid off. I’m not a big one for manifestations and all that crap… I just think you set goals and do everything in your power to achieve them yourself, not wait around for “the universe” to hand it to you.
TBS: Who is your celebrity/political crush and why?
Trevor: I’m a huge fan of Alex Greenwich. I think he’s doing a great job for Sydney, and I think his agenda truly represents that of his electorate, which is a rare thing in modern politics. He once referred to me, when introducing dignitaries at a function, as The Hon. Trevor Ashley, First Lady of Oxford Street. That, and the fact he’s a spunk who looks fabulous in a suit also helps.
TBS: What is the worst way for a person to try and get your attention?
Trevor: Annoying tweets. “Please follow me! I love you!” “Follow back??” “I want to send you a private message, so can you follow me?”. Fuck off.
TBS: What is your most annoying habit?
Trevor: My most annoying habit to me is the fact that I bite my nails. Always have… and it’s not something I’ve ever felt the need to stop. So that’s annoying also. If you asked other people, they’ll probably say my voice, although it’s not a habit as such. But my voice talking can really piss people off after a while.
TBS: What advice would you give a 15 year old Trevor Ashley?
Trevor: You’re gay!! For God’s sake!! Don’t put those poor girlfriends through the trauma of you working yourself out. If you were 15 at school in twenty years time, it’d be totally fine. I get that the year is 1995 and it’s not totally accepted yet, but hold on. Your instinct to watch your classmates playing shirtless on the field is not a bad one… just enjoy it! Once you get older, it will become totally unacceptable to watch schoolboys…
TBS: Tell us something NO-ONE knows about you..until now…
Trevor: I don’t know if there’s anything left. I think I’ve aired all my dirty laundry in my shows or in my columns… Sadly, I’m an open book, and if there are any chapters that haven’t already been read, they’re probably the ones that no one should read. Ever.
TBS: What is your favourite pretentious word to say? Mine is dichotomy, in unrelated situations.
Trevor: I’m a big fan of totalitarianism. Not the movement. Just the word.
TBS: What is the one gift you pretty much always will re-gift
Trevor: Chardonnay. I’m a sauv blanc girl, look I don’t even mind a decent riesling, but not a fan of the chardy. It’s one I take along to other people’s houses as a thank you to the host. It also helps that I don’t then drink my gift.
TBS: What is your favourite inspirational quote or person, as cliched as it may be?
Trevor: Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, drink like nobody’s counting. At least I think that’s how it goes.
TBS: And finally, you recently refused to have your photo taken with Julie Bishop. You’ve been applauded all over the country for this – can you tell us what prompted you to refuse to have the photo taken?
Trevor: Look, it’s a tough situation. Often those of us in entertainment are put into situations where the political and showbiz circles meet. Ms Bishop was in attendance at the opening night of Les Mis in Perth, and wanted a photo with the principal cast. I didn’t agree to do it, as I think that what this government are doing to the Arts in this country is disgusting. I don’t think Ms Bishop should be applauded or promoted for showing up to an opening night on a free ticket, until she and the government are willing to put their money where their mouths are and actually pump more funding into my industry. Just taking away the tax breaks of the large mining corporations and putting that into film finance, theatre companies, touring, and of course the ABC would make a massive difference to so many people’s livelihood and enrich our culture at the same time. When she fights to have the Arts expanded rather than cut, then I’ll happily have my photo taken with her.
Trevor Ashley is currently appearing as Monsieur Thenadier
in the Australian production of Les Misérables.