Colloquium Close-Up: Becca D’Bus

In the countdown to our next Coconuts Colloquium — the “Anti-Manel” — happening at The Projector’s Intermission Bar this Thursday evening, we’d like to give a closer look into the experience and expertise of each of our featured panelists. It’s part origin story, part elucidation on why this person rocks (and can be counted on to serve some realness in our roundtable discussion).

Our next guest needs no introduction, we think — but here we go anyway.

Becca D’Bus is one of Singapore’s most prominent drag queens, not to mention an all-around arts and culture fiend who curates a cult queer film series at The Projector called The Glory Hoes Present (the newsletter blasts are truly delightful to read — we highly recommend them), and who participates in the annual IndigNation — the Pride season program of LGBT cultural events and conferences — as a co-organizer.

You could say Becca is a born performer. She began acting and exploring the art of live performance during her school years at Singapore’s Anglo Chinese School (ACS), where she was a member of the drama club.

In 2001, Becca left Singapore for Boston to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Communications, and Theater Studies from Emerson College. While there, she decided to dig deeper into her theatrical roots and join The Theater Offensive, a queer theater company that brings together LGBTQ performers to tell diverse stories on stage. It was during this exploratory period that the Becca D’Bus we see today first grew roots.

The many faces and fashions of Becca D’Bus. Photos: (top row) Sherman See-Tho, produced by Issue Magazine and 3Eighth; (bottom row) Moonrise Studio

When it came to choosing a drag name, Becca wanted to make sure that her moniker was one that felt meaningful to her. She went back and forth between a few names, and with a little help from her friends (apparently some of her initial ideas were too, ahem, basic for the drag world) — she decided on Becca D’Bus.

The name — “back of the bus” — is a reference to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, particularly as a nod to the African American activist Rosa Parks, who famously protested against racial segregation on public transportation by refusing to move (you guessed it) to the back of the bus. Becca felt that the name carried the right kind of political edge and sass that would become her signature style.

It didn’t take long for Becca D’Bus to become a big hit amongst Bostonians. Becca started out performing in drag shows alongside other drag queens, and after performing in group shows for a while, she eventually got her own show in Boston. As Becca D’Bus grew in popularity, she was able to travel to surrounding states on the East Coast to stage even more performances.

Becca D’Bus, pictured at right (and on screen), at the very first RIOT! in February 2015. Photo: Kairosnapshots

After living in the US for nine and a half years — five of which she spent doing drag — Becca decided to move back to Singapore, where she initially took on gigs in PR, marketing and editorial work.

During this time, Becca D’Bus made appearances in a handful of other drag shows around town, but in 2015, she bid goodbye to the white-collar world, took a leap of faith and founded a drag variety show called RIOT! (fun fact: the first production was held on Valentine’s Day 2015).

Today, RIOT! takes the stage on the second Saturday of each month, and is Singapore’s only regularly recurring drag show. Becca acts as a performer and host of each RIOT! show.

Read more:
Colloquium Close-Up: June Chua, founder of The T Project
Colloquium Close-Up: Pat Law, founder of GOODSTUPH

This article, Colloquium Close-Up: Becca D’Bus, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!