Drew-Elizabeth Johnstone started out as a hairdresser in Auckland and, 20 years later, is the head of wigs, hair and makeup for the musical Jersey Boys. She has performed in clubs here and across the Tasman. One News reader Wendy Petrie was a back-up dancer to Drew-Elizabeth's performance of Tina Turner on a tour of New Zealand about a decade ago. Drew-Elizabeth performed with Les Girls in Kings Cross and toured Australia. She started on Jersey Boys at the beginning of an 18-month run which kicked off in Sydney.
What's the hardest makeup job you've ever done?
The hardest job was also humbling. It was late last year when I made up and dressed Carmen for her final journey. She was a very dear friend and I have a lot of respect for her groundwork for the transsexual, gay and lesbian communities.
Who would play you in the musical of your life?
I think I'd have to totally see who wanted to audition before I could answer that and I'm not old enough to have Meryl Streep play me yet.
There's also a fine line with men dressed up playing transsexuals too. It's kind of like an Englishman playing an Asian ... leave that back in the 50s.
What makes you good at your job?
I have very high standards, which can drive others crazy at times. You have to have an eye for detail. I think in my world it's best to have solutions to problems and not be the fault-finder all the time. There's too many of them around.
What single thing would improve life for you?
Equality for all.
What would you change about your childhood?
I grew up in Milford on one of the biggest sections on Lake Pupuke, so I had a boat, a raft and a possum. There were ducks and swans. My parents had a Honda dealership so a motorbike was always on hand and my father always took care of the bike/go-cart/ midget/skateboard situation.
My parents belonged to many car clubs and had great collections so I saw a lot of New Zealand from beautiful open vintage cars. I also went to Takapuna Grammar, which embraced difference. So I can't really complain.
How was your first kiss?
It wasn't like a movie scene. It was a dare and I felt empty and ripped off. Thank goodness no money was exchanged. I would've had to ask for a refund.
What quality do you look for in a man?
Honesty, loyalty and kindness.
In a woman?
Who would you like to say sorry to?
The Aboriginal people. I don't celebrate Australia Day. Sorry is so hard for some people to say. I wish they had the respect the Maori do here.
Describe your sartorial style.
I love my shoes. I adore a great cut in a suit.
At the moment it's all about thick black tights, boots and dresses and I'm rocking animal print and love a good scarf and jacket. Summer to me is strappy heels and a girly dress.
Who or what do you lust after?
Describe how love feels.
Love ... I think the feeling changes as you age. It's a satisfying warmth if it's good. But it's a horrible thing to lose.By Sarah Daniell