Ben Mitchell, actor
1. I hear you don't like bossy women. What's wrong with them?
I don't like bossy people. Men or women. But a bossy man is much easier to deal with than a bossy woman. You'd tell a man to chill out or you'd punch him in the head. Clearly, you can't do that to a woman, nor would you want to. A bossy woman reminds a man of a nagging mum. Not cool. If a woman is bossy to me I think she wants to [sleep with me]. It's a masculine trait. It's not in a woman's inherent state. Underneath bossiness is people wanting to influence and there are other ways - charm, wit, humour. Oh yeah, I can be quite bossy too. I'm a typical guy. Two sets of rules.
2. TK [in Shortland Street] has had a brilliant, turbulent and very active love-life. Is yours as active?
Art imitating life you reckon?! That's an understatement for my love life and life in general. All my 36 years there have been connections with women. But only two women have had the privilege of meeting my mother. And there's been a lot [of others]. Every man is looking for the good woman behind the successful man, aren't they? Yeah, I'll marry one day. I look for loyalty, a woman who makes me feel powerful, doesn't take my shit too seriously and empowers me physically, spiritually and emotionally. It's not that hard. Ha!
Geeling Ching, restaurateur and star of David Bowie's China Girl music video
3. What did your mum think of (your relationship with Bowie)?
I think she was a bit dumbfounded. It was all so far removed from real life. The video was banned in New Zealand and she called me to ask why. I just said "I don't know". Even now it's a bit unnerving when I have staff who say "I Googled your video last night". I'm like, "Great, so you've seen me naked, let's move on". Actually, I was underneath David (in the video) so I wasn't really that naked. It was his bum on top not mine.
Brian Le Gros, strip club owner
4. Where did you learn about business?
From the school of hard knocks. I left school at 15, but when I was 19, I was going with a girl whose stepdad was the Mr Big of Wellington. He was building massage parlours - the very first ones - and I helped him build them. He asked me to take over the Hole in the Wall club which wasn't doing very well. I hadn't even been in a strip club really - massage parlours, yes, but this was different. I thought I would clean it up, make it more profitable. I always put my main effort into the toilets because that's where people decide if it's tacky or not.
Max Currie, film-maker
5. Did you always know you were gay?
There wasn't a word for it but yeah, since a very young age I felt different. I'd write a lot of stories about sensitive boys who couldn't hang with the gang. I remember one I wrote about a boy whose mates went hunting and he went to protect the fawn from the arrows and was shot. I told my parents when I was 19 and Mum cried and Dad laughed. Mum said later that she could see I was suffering with this and it was this big release that we could finally get there as a family.
Tanu Gago, artist
6. What is the most hidden aspect of Samoan life in New Zealand?
I don't know about hidden but there are things that are just not talked about. Sex and sexuality are two of those things. I was lucky in that my mother was very liberal and supportive about me coming out. She just asked me when I was about 18 whether I liked boys or girls, and I said boys. And the second question was "Do you know what sex is" and I was like "Stop right there". I was lucky not to have the pressure or shame that so many young Pacific people do. In Samoan culture, fa'afafine is an accepted identity, embedded in the culture, but there is no discussion of being a queer man or woman. There are no words for it. That's worse than any kind of derogatory terms for homosexuality. It's like they just don't exist.
Leilani Tamu, poet and writer
7. What line in prose or poetry are you most proud of having written?
Writing the blog Let's Talk About Sex is one of the hardest things I've ever done and I'm proud of myself for having the guts to share it with others. It starts: "This is a blog about sex. The ugly side of sex. Sexual assault. Sexual abuse. Rape. The things we don't talk about often enough." It was around the time I was 13 and I was hanging out with a group of kids at St Lukes. There was a guy there I really liked and he asked me to go for a walk with him. He had a little pocket knife and he took me to where a group of about 10 other boys were and they watched and I was really scared. As worldly as I thought I was I didn't really comprehend what was happening. I hadn't lost my virginity until then. Afterwards I just felt dirty and ashamed.
8. Did you tell your parents?
I just felt I couldn't. Mum was just in a new relationship and things weren't good between us. They were already so angry at me for the things I was doing that I just thought I couldn't tell them. Then the boys started spreading horrible rumours and at school girls called me a slut. It all made me rebel more. I started seeing 18-year-old guys. I haven't ever really spoken about it before. I've never had counselling or anything. But when I heard about the Roast Busters I felt compelled to write.
Labretta Suede, singer
9. What's the difference between a Kiwi chick and a New York mama, in your opinion?
Kiwi chicks are brave, courageous, independent, not very girly in the broader sense of the term, strong, kind, will answer back, don't use their sexuality much, are fairly equal with men. New York mamas can be very girlie and complex, competitive, unsure, extreme, emotional and game players. But street-smart, loud and hilarious too. Sluttier, maybe, and they mother their men. It's probably due to there being one male for every five women in New York City.
John Rowles, singer
10. What does it feel like being up on stage?
Anxiety is bad with me. I get very, very bad anxiety before I perform. I always try to get everything right and I have got millions of lyrics in my brain. Once I'm up there and afterwards I'm a different person. What does that feel like? Like having sex, it feels so relaxing and beautiful. Well, that's a weird way to explain it I suppose. I don't have that [anxiety] problem before sex.
Victor Rodger, writer
11. Could you describe your most hedonistic night out?
Never. Not as long as my mother is alive. Well, let's just say it involved the Cannes film festival, four other people, including an Afro-Italian who kept singing the same refrain of Volare over and over again, an awful lot of alcohol, a hotel room in Antibes and a line that I later used in a Shortland Street script.
Dame Cath Tizard, former Auckland mayor and Governor-General
12. You and Bob divorced in 1980: have you been happier in a partnership, or alone?
Bob and I just outgrew each other. We still ring one another from time to time and we had his 90th birthday party here recently. I have been happy both ways [together and apart]. I've had a pretty happy life. I had a love affair once too, when I was mayor. Neither of us was married but we were together for seven or eight years. We really loved one another, I think. Everybody knew about it but I'm not telling you his name. And I had some happy times with Bob. I would never want to live with anyone else now, though. I'm never lonely.