Singer Ngaire Joseph’s – known on stage as Ngaiire (pronounced “Nah-ri”) – work uniform matches her voice: dazzling and incandescent. She chats with us from her tour.
Broadsheet: Describe your style, on and off stage?
Ngaire Joseph: Off stage I obviously don’t get around in pink fur jackets, it would be too hot! But on stage my stylist has been dressing me in quite edgy stuff, it usually changes with what my hair’s doing.
BS: Pray tell?
NJ: I change my hair quite a lot, so it’s easier for her to match my hair. It depends what space I’m in at that time of promoting the record. Head space, hair space … I get bored. For me, it’s like painting your nails a different colour. My last look was a blonde ‘fro. I think I’m due to change soon.
BS: Where does your hair inspiration come from?
NJ: I think from the culture I’m from. Papua New Guineans are known for colourful headdresses and bird plumage; it’s quite extravagant. In PNG it’s not just a celebration of culture, it’s like going to war, which is weird in some senses because they’re so colourful and vibrant, but it says who you are and where you come from. So it’s a bit of homage, but also an extension of myself.
BS: Do you have a favourite costume?
NJ: I think the costume I wore at Splendour recently was definitely a favourite. There were dragon heads on my shoulders. Melaine [Knight], my stylist, 3D-printed them with a mate of hers – she pretty much custom-made the whole thing. I felt like, who’s that chick from Game of Thrones? With the dragons?
BS: Are you inspired by anything specifically, or person, when it comes to your style?
NJ: I know what would suit my body type. So [I like] whatever makes me feel comfortable and sexy and is easy for me to move around in on stage, so leotards are great.
BS: Have you always been into fashion?
NJ: Yeah, I’m always on the lookout for things to wear because there’s always something that I’m doing and I don’t like to wear the same thing twice. Sometimes I can’t avoid it, though, because I run out of time. But at home I’m probably the biggest dag. I wear nanna slippers and just a T-shirt, and probably no pants! Haha! Because I grew up in Papua New Guinea [where] the aim was to detract attention from your body, when I moved to Australia it took me a while to feel comfortable enough to wear things that revealed parts of my body. Now the band make fun of me and say “Ngaiire, where are your pants?!”