On the Couch with Kikki Temple

Kikki-Temple-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Kikki Temple?
I am Maori trans woman from NZ. An artist, playwright and actress living and loving in Melbourne, having chased the dream to live in a city that was named most liveable. Melbourne was where my transition begun. Where I realised who I truly was.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I don’t think I’d do anything differently to be completely honest. Although, more shopping trips wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Who inspires you and why?
Apart from the amazing team I am working with on Burgerz, I’m inspired by many people. Pasifika leaders and creators like Mama Latoya Heog (a transgender elder who has been instrumental in establishing safe spaces for trans women and sex workers, giving them dignity and advocacy), DJ and friend Miss Katalyna who is a co creator of Trans Pride March Melbourne, artists Veisinia Tonga, Kween Kong (Drag Race Down Under) and my biggest inspiration is the late drag artist Carmen. It’s leaders like this, artists, whose art and lives are a true representation of who we are as people. Polynesian. Warriors. Strong willed and determined. Who aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right and true and who are willing to take others with them. They inspire me and anyone else who carry’s this same heart.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe I am making a difference in the world right now. With kindness. Sounds cliche, but I think being kind to one another is one of the biggest ways to change the world. Just try and not be a douche bag and smile a whole bunch. Compliment someone. Pay it forward. That kind of thing. It may not seem like a lot but you never know how a small gesture can affect someone’s day. Aside from that, I would hope my writing would make a difference one day. Sharing my stories or inhabiting others stories on stage and screen.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’m a big fan of Croatia. The people and culture are just like my own. They love food and being hospitable. Like my culture. They love family like mine. Also, it’s beautiful.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Melbourne nightlife. There are few places in the world that celebrates diversity as much as Melbourne does and this can be seen in our clubs and bars. Independent theatre companies and restaurants. It’s a melting pot of culture, lifestyles and communities.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Dune. When I was younger the book series seemed way too intimidating. But after watching the movie (which I actually enjoyed despite the reviews) I had to read what was next.

What are you currently listening to?
Working on Burgerz, my director Kitan Petkovski has me listening to all types of music as inspiration for the character I play. He’s got me listening to Beyoncé, Todrick Hall, Ariana Grande and Sugarbabes! It’s a good thing I’m into all of them and have their music scattered amongst my playlists.

Happiness is?
I think happiness is subjective. It’s different for everyone and can change from one moment to another. I’ve known moments of what I thought were happiness that were then over taken by moments that I believed surpassed the former. These moments have always been while I was alone. Creating art, writing, creating worlds for the stage. Eating the sweetest fruit, listening to my favourite song. Sleeping in. Little things like that.

What does the future hold for you?
I feel in this time in my life that the world is just opening up to me. It took me a while to realise who I was, a woman, an artist, a storyteller. Someone who has stories to tell that so many people need to hear for healing, for education. Stories for understanding. I don’t know how long I have left on this earth, but I know that the time I have left will be used to tell stories.

Kikki can be seen in Burgerz by travis alabanza – which will be presented at Theatre Works, as part of the 2023 Midsumma Festival from 8 February. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Kikki Temple (supplied)