/ 13 October 2006

Queen of the night

Since the death of Granny Lee, The Leoness and the hapless Rachel, Baronness Coral von Reefenhausen is, arguably, South Africa’s reigning drag queen. That’s if one accepts that Evita Bezuidenhout is only a theatre character.Now the Baroness has her own late-night TV show, Below the Belt, billed as ‘an adult variety show with a difference”. The series is a hot contender to the B-grade soft-porn features shown in the wee hours on e.tv. With her muscled black bodyguard Gino, the Baroness cavorts in a stretch limousine and makes the acquaintance of porn stars, sex workers and upmarket celebrities who’ll share in the obsessions of this outspoken drag.

Who is your favourite author?

I don’t read anymore. I simply don’t have the time.

What are you so busy doing?


You’re so busy having sex that you don’t have the time to read?

Of course.

Obviously you can’t read and have sex at the same time. Then let’s move on to fine art: any favourites in that department?

David Hockney. Absolutely adore him. Got to meet him in London, got to know him quite well. Somebody once said art should not be called art unless it has an immediate reaction. I look at a David Hockney and I have an immediate reaction. I own two, by the way.

Well done. So that’s what art is supposed to be?

Art must communicate immediately. If you look at something and you’ve got to stand back and think about it, then I don’t think you can call it art.

That’s what I find so fabulous about Tretchikoff. I look at it and I find it the most revolting thing I’ve ever looked at, and yet I know millions absolutely adore it and that he holds the Guinness record for having the most prints in hotel rooms in the world. Tretchikoff was giving an interview once and he was asked about the critics of his work. He said, ‘All I can say to the critics is that if you’re looking at my painting and you don’t like it, please move on because there are 20 people waiting to see it. The same as dance, for example. The Nederlands Dans Theater was here and I went to see something. We saw two old women sitting on a row of chairs moving to a Libyan lullabye sung to accompanying drums or something, and I thought this isn’t art. For me it was just a load of indulgent nonsense.That’s why this particular series is a work of art. It’s rich to look at, it communicates, it’s going to stir, it’s going to cause aggression, it’s going to ruffle people’s sexual psyches.

If you met Evita Bezuidenhout, what would you say to her?

I’d ask her about her sex life — because she’s never revealed it.

That’s good for my next question: do you think that there is any subject that’s off-limits when you are interviewing celebrities?

No. They were warned that I was not going to talk about their career or the break in their career or their new CD or their latest publication. I want to know what we all want to know. What do you do in bed? What turns you on, what fantasy is not being fulfilled? What fantasy has been fulfilled? Are you a size queen?

Are you a size queen?


So, the size of a man’s genitals doesn’t really make a difference to the man?

No, not really. Ultimately it’s the motion, not the meat. But I say if there’s no meat with the motion, then where’s the merriment in that?

So you are a size queen.

I’m a closet size queen in that case. I just like people to tease. I like people to talk dirty. I’m not a romantic when it comes to the bedroom, I never have been.

Are you a romantic on the park bench?

Oh yes. I look at the autumn leaves fluttering down and I get sentimental and I think of the passing years, oh God. But no, not a lot. I am just saying and I’m repeating myself, but not when it comes to the bedroom. I’ve had two husbands. One was German, he was the Baron. I always say that German sex was very ‘Beethovian” with its heavy chords and lots of climaxes. But they have no sense of humour, the Germans. The second one, Fabrizio del Castalo, was an Italian. I met him on the rebound, I think. He died rather tragically — a little light aircraft accident. So I was a signora for a while.

Do you think that the size of male celebrities’ genitals is an appropriate subject for television?

Yes. Undoubtably. You see, somebody else would say to me, ‘What a piece of absolute triviality; who the hell wants to know?” And I say, for everyone who doesn’t there’s a million who do. For some reason or another, I don’t know what it is, people are fascinated by it.

Let’s look at groups. Which group do you think is more preoccupied with the size of men’s genitals between — and we’ll leave lesbians out — straight women, gay men and straight men?

They all fit into one category. Straight men have what I call male assessment issues. Males assess each other. ‘What’s he got that I haven’t got, and how do I measure up to him and am I doing all right?” Gay men are by nature size queens. I’ve looked at gay porn. The average American gay porn doesn’t do anything for me because it is the epitome of what you want it to be — perfect body, perfect shape, the big dick. Show me French amateur porn, and its pimples on the butt with its no shaved pubic hair. It has a rawness about it. And straight women? Of course women like it. Very few women say it, except Dawn Lindberg. In our interview she came right out with it.

Are lesbians at all interested?

No. My experience of lesbianism is limited. I don’t understand lesbian people very well.

Below the Belt starts on SABC3 on July 1 at 10pm