‘The Boy, The Queen & Everything In Between’ creator Ramon Te Wake talks about living authentically as a trans woman in a changing culture and sharing queer stories with evolving audiences.

TVNZ’s new local series, ‘The Boy, The Queen & Everything In Between,’ revisits 90’s K road with a gaggle of well-known drag queens and some family drama thrown in. Jacob is fresh out of jail with two weeks to find a job or be placed back behind bars. He begrudgingly turns to his father Max, (played by Wellington drag diva Amanda LaWhore), the owner of the fictional K Road gay club The Golden Hour. 

Ramon tells us what inspired her to write ‘The Boy, The Queen & Everything In Between.


They always say write what you know, so I guess I just started there. Everything I create is connected to my bones, so I just tapped into that when creating the series.

Its about families, relationships, sisterhood and community – things that formed who I was when I was growing up as a young showgirl on the K Road scene in the ’90s.

I was surrounded by all these incredible drag acts and artists and performers. There was a real sense of artistry and excitement in the air. So it was inspired by that era and what it meant to a lot of people.

Behind the scenes of The Boy The Queen & Everything In Between

Why should all YOUR ex readers be streaming it?

We spend our entire lives dealing with relationships, whether its with others or ourselves, and this is a series that demonstrates the importance of leaning into that and how we can heal ourselves when we do. We always say, when you find your people, you will be ok, and theres a lot of that communicated in the show. Our community can relate to that.

Listen, if my mum can watch all six episodes and laugh at all of my filthy jokes and cry when its sad and say, Oh, what happens next?’ when it finishes – I think it has universal appeal!

Which of the characters do you most identify with? Are we seeing you on screen?

The characters are about everyone in my life somehow, and yet no one in particular. I see pieces of myself in a lot of them. I do enjoy it when people ask me if a character is based on them. Thats a buzz. I reckon we have a bit of queen in all of us. If you see yourself in any of these characters, thats great! And, yes, I do make a cameo. She was heaps of fun.

Take us through the casting process. Had you written the roles with actors in mind?

The cast is incredible. I cant deal with how we wrangled that miracle in such a short amount of time! We cast all people with lived experience to play the queens and takatāpui characters. It was mostly a Māori and Pasifika cast, which was also important to us. I knew I wanted Awa Puna to play Hope. I stalked her months in advance, just hoping shed say yes and that shed have some time in her busy schedule to hang with us. Lucky for us, she did.

There are a few first-time TV actors on screen. Why did you decide to take a chance on them?

It was more important to us to cast people who had lived experience as performers and artists. They had to have an authentic connection to the characters in a way that perhaps a trained actor might not necessarily have been able to fully access. It was a gamble, for sure, but it paid off. The cast was made up of screen actors and stage performers, and they all just supported each other. It was super respectful, and everyone just shared their knowledge and skills. That was the real payoff, and it shows on screen.

The premise of the story involves Jacob being released from prison on the basis that he finds full-time employment within 14 days, getting no help from authorities to find this employment. Was that based on any real-life situations?

I didnt have any other real-situs around the premise. When youre creating stories, you throw it all on the table and then decide what is most correct to the tone and the story, considering the reasons why the relationship between Max and Jacob might have compounding tension. We started there and ended up where we did.

Do you think a show like this would have been commissioned 10 years ago?

Probably not. The world has moved on considerably in the last decade. Its grown into a crazy vortex of wonderment and bafflement. We seem far more visible these days, but at the same time, were seeing equal amounts of danger and violence towards LGBTIQ+ people, especially trans people.

We are in an era now where we are telling these stories, some of them for the first time, and we have to continue to push the industry to embrace our stories. We need to make sure that the right people are in positions of power to bring these stories to life. We have a seat at the table, baby – that is the biggest change!

How have you personally found that living openly as a trans woman has changed in that time?

I dont give a shit about what other people think of me anymore. Thats the biggest thing. You see people for who they are the older you get, and Im not interested in all that bullshit and chaos. I like my joy, and Im gonna hold on to it over here, if you dont mind. Im in my give zero fucks’ era!

The Boy, The Queen & Everything In Between is screening on TVNZ+ now.