This lucky drag queen says he’s finally arrived, after winning a R5 000 makeover from the Cape Flats’ own Fairy Godmother, Laylah Zokufa Khan.
Marco van Wyk, 24, aka McKenzie Fox, couldn’t contain her tears and squeals of joy when Laylah called her last week to say she’d won a makeover ahead of the Miss Pestova pageant next week.
McKenzie, who lives in the poverty-stricken Egoli informal settlement in Lotus River with her parents and four siblings, says she entered the makeover competition on a wing and a prayer.
She already started jazzing up an old dress which she picked up outside her house when she got Laylah’s call.
But she says winning the makeover is about more than looking pretty for one night.
McKenzie’s road to freedom was not easy. Not only did her pastor dad shun her, but she was then raped on three occasions.
“I tried to get a sponsorship for the pageant because I’ve never worn anything new in my life,” she tells the Daily Voice.
“I really didn’t expect to win because I am very conscious about my low self-esteem and appearance. I used to hate myself because I thought I was ugly, worthless, and better off dead.”
McKenzie was 19 years old in 2011 when she came out of the closet.
“I remember fighting with myself because of my identity. I moved out of the house because of the tension and nobody talking to me, it was hard living like that. I attempted suicide more than once.”
She reunited with her family three years later after learning her mother had fallen ill.
Sheila van Wyk, 47, says she has accepted her son’s lifestyle.
“At first, I was really upset because we are leaders of our own church in our home, my husband is a pastor,” says the mom.
“But now we enjoy it when he models for us in the house, wearing the little clothes he sews for himself.”
Talking about the sexual assaults is hard for McKenzie.
On all three occasions, it was men whom she did not know.
The last attack happened two years ago, after walking a friend home.
It was about 1am, and two men followed her back home.
“I turned around, and the one punched me on my eye, I got beaten up badly and they raped me.”
McKenzie says she is now ready to make her drag debut properly.
“To know that I still have the courage to be on stage in front of all those people is a milestone for me.”
Laylah says after interviewing McKenzie over the phone and hearing her tragic life story, she knew she had a winner.
“I’m doing this project because it’s dear to me to help a sister going on stage, you don’t just want to look pretty, you want to feel the part,” she says.
The pageant takes place on Saturday, September 3, at 7.30pm at De Wavern School hall, Huguenot street, Ruyterwacht. Entry is R60.