Kylie Minogue’s return to the charts takes Joe Pakai back to his Whangarei childhood, when hearing the pop icon’s music promised better days were ahead. Here he pays tribute to gay men and their divas.

Most gay men have THEIR diva, and mine is Kylie. Although, actually, I’ve always thought that Kylie is about as far from the typical ‘diva’ persona as you can get, and that’s surely part of her enduring appeal.

Kylie is undeniably one of the most iconic figures in the music industry. With a career spanning five decades (yup, that includes a UK Number One album in the 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s, and 20s), she has managed to maintain her relevance and captivate audiences worldwide. There are lots of reasons for this, from her versatility as an artist to her willingness to reinvent herself time and time again, but also her ability to make her fans feel that they have a personal connection to her.


My relationship with Kylie started all the way back in 1987, when I was a 12-year-old boy in Whangarei. Neighbours wasn’t even on the telly then, but the first time I saw the video to ‘Locomotion’ on Ready to Roll, that was it. Stock Aitken Waterman-produced Kylie became the soundtrack to my traumatic high school years. God only knows how I would have got through them without ‘Got to Be Certain’ and ‘Wouldn’t Change A Thing’! At times, she was like my best friend, and it’s a friendship that endures to this day.

Kylie’s genuine and down-to-earth personality has endeared her to fans around the world; she’s just so incredibly likeable. Despite her fame and success, she’s always remained humble and grateful for her supporters. Kylie’s authenticity and approachability have allowed her fans to feel a personal connection with her, and for me, that’s really been the secret to her continued success.

But of course, there is the music, and Kylie’s versatility as an artist has played a significant role in her longevity. She has navigated various musical genres throughout her career, from the early pop classics to the indie Kylie of the mid-90s, from Light Years camp to the super cool Fever, right up to her recent pandemic-saving Disco. Her catchy melodies, infectious hooks, and relatable lyrics have transcended language barriers and cultural boundaries, making her a global superstar.

Not to mention Kylie the performer. Her live shows are known for their high energy and flawless execution, and her willingness to go the extra mile to deliver a memorable show has earned her a reputation as a true entertainer. Case in point: when she opened World Pride 2023 in Sydney with a surprise guest appearance from sister Dannii, it was the gay icon moment of the decade!

The release of her new single ‘Padam Padam’ has post-pandemic Kylie wisely taking us all back to the dance floor. With promises of a world tour to follow the release of her forthcoming album Tension, I look forward to my diva giving us many more iconic moments and memories to come.

Kylie’s new single ‘Padam Padam’ is out now.

Joe Pakai.

On weekdays, Joe Pakai is a serious IT specialist, but on weekends, you can find him brunching in Ponsonby, Prosecco in hand, or searching for rare vinyl records and obsessing over Eurovision. He’s handsome, single, and ready to mingle, so be sure to say ‘hi’.