Queer Kiwis Surviving Self-Isolation: Zakk d’Larte

Zakk d'Larte

Why didn’t Designer and Auckland Pride Board Member Zakk d’Larte get his roots done before he went into Lockdown?! He talks to us about small regrets, digital drag and questionable homemade soy mochas. 

Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you? Who’s in your bubble? And what are you doing to keep your mental health in check?
I’m at home in Grey Lynn with both my boyfriend and also my very new flatmate — whose move-in we had to rush forward once we heard the Level 3 announcement.

I’m grateful that, as a freelancer, I am quite accustomed and well-adapted to working from home, so it hasn’t been a huge shock to the system. I am also thankful to have rarely struggled with my mental health – takes a lot to get this bitch down! – but going into my home beauty room and doing my makeup with music is always therapeutic and calming for me.

What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation? I’d say that for those struggling with self-isolation, giving yourself a list of things to achieve – no matter how small. Doing this will create a feeling of productivity and help make it seem like you’re still accomplishing things while remaining in your home bubble.

I also find that I cope better with stress when my life has structure – by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, as well as showering, eating and allocating time to watch entertainment, I’ve created a new makeshift routine which has been beneficial to me; give it a try!

What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far? Something unexpected that has come out of this has been the #TeddyInTheWindow movement! During my walks around Cox’s Bay and West Lynn, it’s been so refreshing seeing everyone get involved and joining the bear hunt.

I’m also grateful for platforms like Zoom and Houseparty (R.I.P Skype) to stay connected with my groups. I don’t think I realised how used to seeing them every weekend I had become accustomed to. Being able to continue our weekend hangouts through video has been such a relief.

What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
I am finally finishing so many shows and series that I started and never completed! I have also been lapping up the rise of the online drag performance — I loved seeing my sister, Kita Mean, on Biqtch Puddin’s Digital Drag Show Twitch stream and this weekend’s Werq the World digital benefit! 

What are you missing most about ‘normal life’?
This probably sounds dramatic and superficial, but I wish I’d got a haircut and my roots bleached before going into lockdown. Mama is looking rough!

I’m also missing barista-made coffee – my soy mochas taste… questionable.

What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes?
I thrive off people’s energies and love being in big groups, so I can’t wait to go out and resume brunches with my group – there’s something special about eating, drinking and laughing together in real life that you can’t quite get through a screen. 

Moving forward, is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
In the future, I hope to remind myself to allow time in my schedule to appreciate the moment and let myself recharge, rather than just go, go, go all the time. I’m grateful to be booked, blessed and busy, but I’ve really loved spending so much time with my partner and just enjoying the now.

Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTQI+ community?
I think it’s important to remember that if you’re feeling anxious or lonely at this time that you’re absolutely not alone, and we are all going through this together. Physical isolation doesn’t equate to social isolation. Make sure you stay digitally connected with the people who are important to you.

He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together.