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THINGS I'VE LEARNT IN HONG KONG (BY SIDNEY BLACKBURN)

After a two-and-a-half-year stint in Hong Kong, Sidney Blackburn has packed himself (and his alter ego Disney Chanel) into two cases for his next adventure. He moved to HK hoping to find himself, a good party and a cute local guy. Now he’s leaving, happily satisfied after only finding two... Here's some of the things we learnt along the way.

During his time here in Hong Kong, Sidney has taught drama classes to cover the bills for his ‘cosy’ studio, which he adds has no space for his growing collection of size 43 heels. He has also needed funds to cover his explorations of the city and trips around Asia, something captured so beautifully in his photography collection. But he has more than just a day job, Sidney moonlights as a drag queen, going by the name of Disney Chanel, an alter ego he has had for five years now. This alter ego was stumbled upon in the basement of London’s Bethnal Green’s working men’s club. Since then the Disney Chanel brand has continued to grow as you can see scrolling through Disney’s many looks via her Instagram. Now with a 'been there conquered that' attitude, plus with a newly found artistic direction, Sidney and Disney plan to elope to Europe (eager on Barcelona) to pursue a career in the creative field…and I’m sure to make a few club appearances in a slinky dress along the way. I managed to lock Sidney down for a chat over a sassy mince pie before he jetted off. I wanted to find out what he has learnt during his time here in Hong Kong.

Things that I have learnt as a party person in Hong Kong

"Escape the expat bubble, there is more to Hong Kong than Lan Kwai Fong. The best soirées I have been to have been the impromptu parties in beautiful settings with HK’s finest DJs. Disclaimer, a strappy heel is not the best choice of footwear for the beach … but still looks cute".

Things I have learnt as a natural redhead in Hong Kong

"Factor 50 is your friend. Don’t let the polluted haze fool you, Hong Kong's sun rays are strong! Lather up and be creamy and proud in front of the crowd. Your older, less wrinkly, future self will thank you later".

Things I have learnt as a Drag Queen in Hong Kong

"Don’t hold back – shock people. Hong Kong may not be the most creative platform but that just means you will be one of a kind. So, luckily for me there has been no competitive hecklers chanting Disney Chanel go to hell here! Celebrate being a unique and a beautiful individual, you only have one life so live it!"

Things I have learnt as a Drama Teacher in Hong Kong

"Fake it till you make it. I don’t have a formal degree in drama so I just mimic Mr. G. And now I’m the self-proclaimed best drama facilitator in Hong Kong…. hair flick".

Things I have learnt as a Vegetarian in Hong Kong

"Eyes are bigger than your belly is usually frowned upon but not in this case. Never trust a simple ‘veg friend rice’ dish, there is always a meaty surprise hiding somewhere in there. So yes, I don’t eat fucking pork ok? Nor do I eat shrimp, or beef, or chicken…. And yes, that also includes fish balls!"

You can follow Disney’s adventures via her Instagram @missdisneychanel And Sidney’s beautiful photography at sidneyblackburn.com

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