Money Editor for NZ Herald

Bank manager by day, drag queen by night - meet Marcel and Marcella

In his day job Marcel Goulding wears a suit and manages a team of nine people who tend to the needs of ASB's wealthy customers.

But today Goulding will become Marcella the drag queen to lead the bank's float in the Auckland Pride Parade.

It is the first time the ASB has had its own float in the parade although the bank has been sponsoring the event for a number of years.

Goulding, who has been in the parade for four years, says he began dressing up as Marcella five years ago for charity fundraisers.

"I don't have any desire to become a woman."

"You can just get away with a whole lot more in drag."

Goulding, who has been with the bank just on a year, says before he started in the job he was nervous about how his team would react to his performance personality.

"That was something I was nervous about prior to coming to ASB.

"But they had already googled me and on the second day a team member asked if there was something I wanted to tell them."

Now he says "they love it."

And the bank has also got on board with supporting Goulding asking him to perform at corporate events.

Last year he hosted its Wellington-based Christmas party.

Goulding says some customers also know about Marcella although he is not in a client-facing role.

"Some have had involvement with Marcella. She has done a lot of corporate gigs."

Goulding says the reactions are usually surprise and delight.

"I haven't really had any negative feedback in terms of my drag personality. With my role I am dealing with a number of professional people.

"There is a genuine interest."

He says it's great being able to be himself at work.

"ASB embrace it so publicly for me I am comfortable with who I am at work. My productivity and success doesn't have any hurdles."

Marcel in business dress. Photo / Supplied
Marcel in business dress. Photo / Supplied

But not all of his past employers have been so supportive.

"Yes I have had a hard time with certain employers. And if you head back to my school days I received a lot of ribbing because it was really obvious I'm part of the LGBT community when you meet me."

"There have also been issues with other team members at previous employers," he says.

But he says the recognition and support he gets at the bank gives him a voice.

"It normalises who we are within the community. We have families, pay mortgages - at the end of the day we just want to be seen as everyone else."

While Goulding sees his drag queen alter-ego as a lot of fun it is also a lot of hard work.

It takes three hours to make the transformation doing hair, make-up and a bit of corseting although at a pinch he once had to do it in 45 minutes.

"There is an awful lot of work to get Marcel into Marcella."

He says high heels are the biggest challenge.

The Auckland Pride Parade starts at 7.30pm on Ponsonby Rd.

- NZ Herald

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