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The longer I do this podcast the more I’m learning about a real and very serious affliction on our community – and that is ‘lesbian drama’… a few guests have now talked to me about this phenomenon, and at first I brushed it off, but the more I heard about it the more I wanted to know… Now, if you google ‘lesbian drama’ you’ll probably find a list of films to watch on Netflix, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find the Urbandictionary.com (ah, Urbandictionary!) definition, which is: “Drama caused by lesbians in their community because they don’t know how to behave like adults” Now, it’s probably a little more nuanced than that, but that gives us a bit of a flavour of what we’ll be covering in today’s episode! I’m delighted to be joined by the TV presenter, actor and media personality Sade Giliberti, who is taking Lost Spaces on its very first trip to South Africa. We caught up to talk all about the Johannnesburg bar Ramp Divas, and, in the course of our conversation, I got to find out all about Sade’s past life as a child beauty queen, what it felt like to be outed in the press, and, of course, navigating that tricky, tricky lesbian drama….
Sade Giliberti 00:00
Hello, have you heard of lesbian drama?
K Anderson 00:02
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. Now the more conversations that I’m having for this podcast, the more I hear about a very real and very serious affliction on our community, and that is lesbian drama. A few guests have now talked to me all about this phenomenon, and at first, I brushed it off, but the more I heard about it, the more I wanted to know. I googled lesbian drama, and all it threw up was a list of films that I should watch on Netflix. But after digging a little bit deeper, I found the urban dictionary definition, which is drama caused by lesbians in their community, because they don’t know how to behave like adults. Now, it’s probably a little more nuanced than that, but that gives us a bit of a flavour of what we will be covering in today’s episode. I am delighted to have been joined by the TV presenter, actor and media personality shot a gala birdie, who is taking law spaces on his very first trip to South Africa. We caught up to talk all about the Johannesburg bar ramp, divas. And in the course of our conversation, I got to find out all about shot days past life as a child beauty queen, what it felt like to be outed in the media and navigating that tricky, tricky, lesbian drama.
Sade Giliberti 02:09
And also, I mean, I only came out when I was like, 19 I knew what was going on. I think I knew I mean, I was you know, young and you’re still trying to like navigate everything and figure things out and just figure out sexuality as a whole.
K Anderson 02:22
Yeah. So you knew like non heterosexual.
Sade Giliberti 02:25
Yeah, I knew that. But I mean, I didn’t I didn’t say or do anything about it until much later in my teens.
K Anderson 02:31
Ah, okay. That’s interesting, because I was gonna bring up childhood fame, if that’s okay. Yes.
Sade Giliberti 02:39
It’s a lesson. That’s the part of the package. So it’s really okay. Yeah. So
K Anderson 02:44
for anyone listening. You were a host.
Sade Giliberti 02:48
Yeah, I was a TV presenter. Yep. I started presenting when I was seven years old, for a Christian show. That was on TV for literally five minutes. So I think I was on telly for about 30 seconds at a time. And I did that until I was nine years old. And in between all of this, I was like a child model. So I used to do modelling.
K Anderson 03:12
Yeah. Strike a pose for me quickly.
Sade Giliberti 03:16
I said child’s model.
K Anderson 03:19
You must have some moves. Oh, yeah.
Sade Giliberti 03:21
You know, you got it. But yeah, so I did that I did modelling until I was about 11 years old. Because then I got to that awkward pubescent phase where you start growing, and then you don’t fit in 11 year old clothing. But you’re too young to model with the 16 year olds, so So I stopped I stopped modelling because it was just it just got weird, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. My mum always got me into pageants which I absolutely hated. So I’ve always had to I know a passion
K Anderson 03:53
cared. I am like thing. Yeah. Yeah, I just thought it was just America.
Sade Giliberti 04:01
No, I mean, I don’t know if it’s still the thing now but it was a thing in the 90s it was huge in the 90s and there was we had this very famous one called Miss Tinkerbell that all the kids wanted to be Miss Tinkerbell. Which I ended up hosting which was hilarious because I used to be in the pageant and then I became the host of the pageant
K Anderson 04:21
Tinkerbell values do you have to exhibit you
Sade Giliberti 04:25
have to be confident you have to have a skill now yeah, it was one of those Exactly. It was the basically like an American one to go I mean, can you back flip and be confident at the same time amazing. And then there was like Little Miss South Africa and different places all around the country had little pageants for like, they’re different things like there was more pageants and there was like, I don’t know, casino pageants, and they were just so many pageants.
K Anderson 04:50
So I get the sense that you think they’re gross. But looking back now, can you see the value in doing them?
Sade Giliberti 04:56
No. Oh, okay. was a bit harsh there. I think there is an element of maybe that confidence of standing in front of people and performing in front of people that I think any kid could do with because it kind of breaks away a little bit of shyness, but I think the pressure behind it and what is expected of you from such a young age is ridiculous. I don’t think it is okay to this is gonna sound terrible taught your child up at the age of five to do something look unless they want to different school.
K Anderson 05:32
There’s a funny thing about consent. It is yeah,
Sade Giliberti 05:35
there is a funny thing about consent because also where does it come from? Really? Yeah, so I have I have a there’s a weird feeling inside of me when it comes to kid patterns like children pageants and Toddlers and Tiaras and all of that kind of stuff. I just don’t know how I feel about it. I I hated every minute of it, to be honest, but that was because I just wanted to be rollerblading, skateboarding, climbing trees. Playing having a good time. I didn’t want to be in some Frou Frou pink dress and high socks with my hair up in up do and pink lipstick on.
K Anderson 06:08
So follow up question. Did the socks have frills on them as well? Yes, they
Sade Giliberti 06:11
did. You know it?
K Anderson 06:15
I mean, I guess I probably don’t have a definitive opinion on it either. I think the biggest problem I have with it is that it promotes a certain type of being like you couldn’t have just rocked up and be like, Hey, I’m going to show you how rollerblade Yeah, cuz then you would have scored nothing. Exactly. And you couldn’t have gone out in a suit or whatever. You had to be a particular type of pretty young girl.
Sade Giliberti 06:38
Exactly. That’s where your answers had to be a particular way you were coached in how you spoke. And you were coached in how you answered questions. And you were coached in you know, when they say to you like what do you want to be when you grow up? You were coached into that. So you couldn’t even say what you really wanted to be you had to be like, oh, I want to save the world and be a doctor and I want to earn top, you know, property. And I want to say who wants
K Anderson 07:01
to do that?
Sade Giliberti 07:05
You know, that makes you go oh, yes, future Masada, Africa in our hands. That’s amazing. Which again, isn’t bad. But where’s the truth in at all, you know what I mean? So, but I went off there, so. So I did all of those things. And then when I was 11, I didn’t audition for one of the biggest youth shows in the country. And I worked on that show was called yo TV. And we had many different umbrellas and many different shows under that brand that we did. And I worked on there for 10 years. And that was my claim to fame. What age between between 10 and 11. I joined and I left when I was going
K Anderson 07:46
wow, what a formative time of your life. Sorry, that’s a really obvious thing to say. But did having the fame impact the way you processed your queerness?
Sade Giliberti 07:57
Not at all. Not at all because I just processed all of that internally. And what was lovely about yo TV and my producers and my directors and all of that is when we started off the show having like a little uniform like a little cute pyjamas that would wear and stuff like that and then we’ve got to just wear like normal civvies and normal clothes and that and when it got to that nobody turned around to me and said this is what you must wear. This is what you must look like. I was allowed to be myself from the get go and that was the tomboy. Always in T shirts, baggy T shirts. I had a cap on backwards. I had a skater shoes on I had my baggy shorts. And I was just allowed to be myself. And in allowing me to be myself also allowed me to, I think in essence process who I was and process so many questions that I was having. Because you know I ended up going to an all girls high school and being in an all girls high school when you go out with your mates on the weekend or you go like clubbing or for drinks or whatever the story is. I couldn’t be myself. I couldn’t be this tomboyish girl and the t shirt and a cat backwards because all my friends were like pricy girls, so I had to mould myself into this prissy world. But then on on yo TV, I could absolutely be myself. So I was living like this double life, which was very confusing for me. Because obviously being on TV, I’m having makeup put on me almost every single day and you kind of see elements of oh, okay, that’s quite nice. So I like this. I like that. So obviously I started playing with makeup in general. But when it came to clothing, all I ever wanted to be was just be myself and just be this tomboy. But being in the school, school and all of my friends being girly girls and all of that always I always felt that I could never be myself with them. So I had to mould into this live up to the standard to live up to the standards of being this young growing lady, this woman This person who wore platform shoes and whatever the story is,
K Anderson 10:04
but did no one ever notice the disconnect between those two sides? Because one of them is very public and visible?
Sade Giliberti 10:11
Um, no, not really. I think it was just a case of, well, we’re going out now. So we dress up to go out, you wouldn’t go out in sneakers and
K Anderson 10:21
shorts. You were doing this in high school. Where were you going?
Sade Giliberti 10:25
Yeah, we had places okay. No, I had a lot of friends who had older brothers. So they would get us into a lot of places. And most of my friends brothers were like, DJs, or into that kind of stuff. So we would find out ways into places we shouldn’t have been in.
K Anderson 10:41
So you kind of you had a civilian life at the same time as having their fame. So you had a sense of not norm. I never say it right. normalcy. Normal normality. Nirvana? See?
Sade Giliberti 10:52
It’s normal. Normal normality.
K Anderson 10:55
You had average childhood?
Sade Giliberti 10:59
Yeah, I did. I did.
K Anderson 11:01
So you didn’t have like, this feeling of expectation of behaving a certain way? Oh, no, there
Sade Giliberti 11:09
was definitely that. I mean, we used to get lectured all the time by our producers and directors about the fact that at the end of the day, when kids see us out there, we’re still kids doesn’t matter if we feel that we’re growing up faster, because of the fact that we’re surrounded by adults and living a very different life. So in element, we were growing up faster than just your average kids who were making money before a lot of people, a lot of our peers were making money. And we have this massive responsibility on our shoulders of when we’re out in public, we were told to remember that it doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what your story is, it doesn’t matter who this child is, that comes up to you and asks for an autograph, it doesn’t matter where they come from. To them, you’re their friend, and vice versa. So never think that you’re above other people. Basically, we were we were humbled, we were taught from the get go to just remain humble of who we are and the positions that we have in this platform that we have. And also we were reminded that we could be replaced like that.
K Anderson 12:04
So that’s not so nice.
Sade Giliberti 12:06
No, well, no.
K Anderson 12:08
But that’s sure.
Sade Giliberti 12:10
That’s showbiz. So automatically, you’re made aware of your surroundings, you’re made aware of the people that you hang out with, you’re made aware of so many things, because we don’t have a paparazzi system, like in the UK. I mean, like in the States, or even in the UK. But there was still that fear of if somebody saw me doing something, it could still end up in the papers or in the magazine. So we would, you know, try to behave.
K Anderson 12:36
And so not that I’m equating queerness with misbehaving, but then did you feel a pressure to not be queer?
Sade Giliberti 12:44
Yes. 100% again, also into a girls school. So
K Anderson 12:48
hang on, shouldn’t that mean that you’ve got more? You’ve got more used?
Sade Giliberti 12:52
You know, you think so? You think so? But not at all
K Anderson 12:56
way. So there was no like late night experimenting? No, man.
Sade Giliberti 13:01
No, there was. But it was all hush hush. You know what I mean? Like nobody ever spoke about it. It was all hush hush. And if it did come out, it was ill gross, disgusting. Oh, my gosh. And then you were teased and mocked and all that one’s a lesbian, you know, and I heard how people spoke about other girls who possibly may have been queer or weren’t even at all. And I just heard, like, how people spoke about it. And I just thought, oh, gosh, that’s horrible. And I really don’t want to be on the on the end of that. Yeah. So I just kept it to myself, and the odd few that I think there was one or two people by the time I got to the end of high school who knew that I was within school. I mean, who knew that I was gay, but everyone else I just really kept it quiet. And I tried to live this heteronormative lifestyle, boyfriends and all of that thing. And yeah, I was only after I finished high school once I’d graduated high school that I told everyone. Once I graduated school, I just did. I just did me. I didn’t have to. And you know, once I told everyone that I needed to tell, I didn’t care anymore. So I just I just lived my life. I didn’t come out to the public until much later, actually. Yeah, I didn’t even get to come out to the public. I was out in a magazine. What happened? I was going to host the South African version of So You Think You could dance in 2008. And I did an interview with a woman from magazine and journalists from a magazine who herself was lesbian. And I knew of her and I’d seen her at the odd, you know, bar or whatever the story is. And the interview had nothing to do with my sexuality. It had to do with the show. It was it was a you know, obviously it’s a massive concept that comes to South Africa. I was going to host it. And she just randomly threw in a question about my sexuality in there. And I was like, this has got nothing to do with anything. It’s like oh, no, no, no, no, don’t worry. It’s kind of off the record. but it wasn’t. And it ended up being in in the article. And it caused a bit of a stir in the sense that like Nigel Lythgoe, who stopped, you know, who creates this, I think you can dance like I had had to have a meeting with him because he was like, are you talking about your personal life? And I was like, I didn’t talk about my personal life, like, you know, and he was like, Look, nobody cares like about your sexuality, but like, try and keep it out, blah, blah, blah, because the whole point of the article was to boost this new show. Yes, yeah. My dad was in tears about it, because he was just like, so worried about my safety and about me losing work, because South Africa just wasn’t there yet. With regards to like, fully accepting lesbian people. We were having major hate crimes against lesbians, especially in the townships and in the more rural areas. And my dad was like, people know you, you can’t walk the streets without anybody stopping you. Like this could be bad. So he was really worried. And he was like, what if you don’t get any more work? Thankfully, nothing happened. Everything was fine. But for me, personally, I was upset about the fact that somebody took the soapbox away from me to be able to stand and say, Hey, guys, I’m gay. Yeah, a lot of a lot of people were like, yeah, we’ve known You’re the reason I’m gay. Because Hello. And then because the Gay Agenda like Hello, like gaydar, like I saw you. And I saw me and I thought, hey, we’re one in the same. That’s amazing. Look at her being gay on TV. And I didn’t realise all of this started coming up. And then all of a sudden, I was like, one of the big gay icons of the country. And I had no idea that I had so much support from so many people within the community. But that’s because I kind of kept this to myself, You know what I mean?
K Anderson 16:35
So let’s just take one step back, did you make that conscious decision, I am not gonna come out in my professional life.
Sade Giliberti 16:42
I felt like it wasn’t important. Okay. At the time, I just thought it’s not important for me to do so. Those who No, no, those who see me at gay clubs know, what I do at work is different to anything else. That’s, that’s my job, that it’s my livelihood. And I love it. And I enjoy being on screen. But it’s also just, it’s also just my job. And until somebody makes it about my sexuality, I have no reason to bring it up.
K Anderson 17:07
Do you still feel that way?
Sade Giliberti 17:09
No, because now own it completely. Do you know what I mean? I’m not. That was almost 12 years ago. I’ve grown up so much since then. And I completely own who I am. That if if you don’t know and you want to know, I will tell you and if it’s going to be the reason you’re not going to high me, shame on you. And I’ll move on with my life.
K Anderson 17:33
So shall we talk about being out at the club? Okay, let’s do it. And talk about ramp divas. Oh, my God. Yeah. So first of all, what is this name? I don’t really understand.
Sade Giliberti 17:45
I don’t I don’t understand it, either. But let me give you some context on it. The place used to be called ramps, like,
K Anderson 17:51
like, so ramp is like a person or no, this is there. Is there a ramp to go in?
Sade Giliberti 17:59
There isn’t luck. This place was in the dodgy side of the east of Johannesburg. I can’t give you a reason as to why it was called anything. But basically, it used to be a like a normal heterosexual club that people
K Anderson 18:12
used to. Let’s not equate normal with heterosexual. Oh,
Sade Giliberti 18:16
yes. They’re not sorry. Yeah, all right. Okay, you’re right.
K Anderson 18:21
This would be this weird heterosexual.
Sade Giliberti 18:25
Normal in inverted commas. Okay, no, let me stop that again. So it used to be just a straight up intersexual place that people used to go to when I was in high school, and I think it was called ramps, or maybe just ramp or the ramp. I can’t remember. tramps. That’s what it was called. Is this. Yes. That was that. That was the name it was called tramps.
K Anderson 18:51
So did the T drop off the sign and they just were like Alice’s go with it. Yeah, probably.
Sade Giliberti 18:55
Honestly, it probably did. So they got rid of the T and then they just added Davis. So became ramped, divas. Okay. Okay. They just Yeah, they were like, We’re not gonna buy a new sign. We’re just gonna spend money on a small little sign. That’s gonna be the Divas. Pretty funny. And that’s what they did. And I actually used to go to tramps when I was in high school and sneak in past the bouncer who always used to catch me out and carry me out. It was always embarrassing, but I always snuck back in I don’t know why I put myself through that but I did it. And then ramp divas became a thing. And it was known as I mean, honestly, if I had to explain to you where this club was, it was like, on the side of the motorway would like this dodgy dusty parking lot. And it was just this warehouse. Like, there there it was,
K Anderson 19:48
boom, this warehouse and were there other buildings around it or was it
Sade Giliberti 19:53
it was like a mini industrial area. And honestly remedy was became a haven for so Many people because Johannesburg just didn’t have a lot of places to go to and, and the ones that did pop up wouldn’t last very long. And then they’d like slowly dissipate, or like, you know, there’d be pop up bars or pop up parties, but like, ramps was there, it was like it wasn’t going anywhere. It was this warehouse. It was there. And it was dodgy and dingy and dirty. And fabulous.
K Anderson 20:25
So then, you’ve talked about going there when it was filthy as a heterosexual place? Do you remember the first time you went there after it became ramped? Davis?
Sade Giliberti 20:35
I do you remember? And I mean, I say I say I do remember probably vaguely, I mean, you know, there’s a little bit of a memory there,
K Anderson 20:42
you can embellish, it’s fine.
Sade Giliberti 20:43
We’re afraid it was it was exactly the same setup that when they literally did not change anything, they just kind of took over the old club. And you know, like the diva sticker, it got rid of the T and we’re like Burma, it’s a new place. So they didn’t they didn’t do anything to it for a very long time. It was just this dingy place and tramps was dingy already. So that’s all it was. And they used to play hardcore techno music. And it was like, you could only actually enjoy ramps, if you had a little bit of liquor in you. Otherwise, it was just, it was just hardcore. You know what I mean? You’re just like, I can’t dance. This music. It’s so hardcore. And in the beginning, it was a lot of topless, sweaty gay men, as is most places. And slowly but surely, the lesbians were like, No, we we can party here too. You know what I mean? We don’t have anywhere else to go. So it just became a full on LGBT club. But everyone was invited. It didn’t matter what your background was, what your creed was, what your colour was, whether you were gay, whether you were straight, nobody cared. Everyone came to rams to party and it would stay open until the sun came up. And that’s what everybody loved the most.
K Anderson 21:56
And so this thing about their clientele shifting over time. Was that a conscious effort from the owners? Or was it the lesbian mafia, or again,
Sade Giliberti 22:05
I think it was probably the lesbian mafia. But I also think it was just word of mouth, because like I said, we didn’t have a lot of places to go to. And it was the one place again, that you you know, if you went out for a couple of drinks at a bar, you could always go to ramps for that end of the night. We’re gonna dance until three o’clock in the morning, cuz I don’t want to go home. And yeah, I’ve had a couple of tequilas, and I feel good, let’s go there. It was just like this amazing Haven it like I said, it was dodgy. There was drugs, there was fights was a lot of crazy things going on. But if you looked, aside from all of that, it was just a good time.
K Anderson 22:43
So I’ve just written down fights, and I’ve just written down drugs. And I’m gonna be asking follow up questions. The thing I wanted to ask though, I am fascinated by the fact that certain clubs just become the place to go to. And it doesn’t seem like by design, it seems to be by accident. And it seems to be like this magic in the bricks. Do you have any insights? Like what were the special ingredients at ramped events that made it feel that way? It made it feel like home, everyone
Sade Giliberti 23:18
always had a good time there. The drinks were relatively cheap. So you could go out and have a good time without having to fork out an insane amount of money going to some bougie club. The fact that there was an element of dodginess is what attracted a lot of people, because people could just arrive as they were, and just have a good time and not feel like they had to look and be present in a specific way just so that they could enter because there’s there were a lot of clubs and they asked a lot of clubs in South Africa that like and you have them here to No sneakers No, this can’t come in like that. You can’t do that. Whereas ramps was just like, Come as you are like if you came in your pyjamas like people didn’t care. You know what I mean? I come as you are come and have a good time.
K Anderson 24:02
And so just a quick clarifying question about the word dodgy. Do you mean like, skanky as opposed to dangerous?
Sade Giliberti 24:09
I mean, skanky as opposed. It wasn’t a dangerous place was just swept up and off the walls. People grinding up on each other with this random warehouse on the sand. You know, parking lot, just off the motorway. It’s dodgy. It’s janky.
K Anderson 24:30
So okay, so the things on my list talking about dangerous fights. Did you get into any fights?
Sade Giliberti 24:36
Um, I was pulled into fights.
K Anderson 24:40
Just it was never me. It was
Sade Giliberti 24:45
honest to God, I’m such a wimp. I’m such a wuss. I can’t fight like say hi. Oh, God. Hello. Have you heard of lesbian drama? Do you know lesbians? Do you know what they do?
K Anderson 24:58
I get I get told about lesbian drunk. Every time I talk to a lesbian,
Sade Giliberti 25:01
do you know what happens when lesbians go out and drink? Oh my god, it’s just absolute carnage.
K Anderson 25:07
Okay, but so getting called into a fight, do you mean that you’ve gone to intervene or like someone’s actually been like you need to help me
Sade Giliberti 25:16
know, there’s been there’s been moments where I’ve tried to intervene because maybe it’s a friend or whatever the story is, and I’m trying to calm people down. But somebody did attempt to beat me up one day. And that was their own weird, it was weird. It was like they had this hot this conversation in their head with themselves about me, and their reality and rolled roped me into their made up reality. And next thing you know, I’m being shoved into a toilet and a girl has got my head in between my legs. And then two minutes later, she’s trying to make out with me, it was bizarre.
K Anderson 25:53
That’s very kinky.
Sade Giliberti 25:54
So it wasn’t for me.
K Anderson 25:59
The idea that she had in your head based on her interactions with you in the club, or based on you as a TV personality?
Sade Giliberti 26:05
No, well, probably a bit of both. So she was actually dating a close friend of mine at the time, but also had a huge crush on me that everyone knew about, but we also knew that she was a little bit, just a little bit. And then yeah, she just basically came up to me this one night, and we hadn’t been speaking because I basically said to my friend, y’all are crazy. So I’m just gonna, I’m gonna do me and you do you and we good. But because we always frequent at the same club, we saw each other. And yeah, and then she just came up to me the one night she got all my mouthy with me in the club. And I was just like, Listen, I don’t have time for this. I just come to have a good time leave me alone. And then I went to the loo like hours later, he like followed me in and started like swinging me about and I was just like, What is even happening here
K Anderson 26:57
swinging around, like grabbing you in Yeah, like me and like shaking me about
Sade Giliberti 27:01
and swinging me about and stuff and then like had my hair in her hand and like had me in like a headlock and to my own legs. And I was just like, What is even going on? Like I don’t understand. And she was basically waffling on about something about she’d won and as i What did you win? What’s been happening? What’s what will be competing? And she was like, I got her and you’ve lost her talking about my friend now I see. And I went okay, I’m really glad I’m not competing with you over her like a really do not care. Like that’s my friend your her girlfriend carry on with life and then got angry because I wasn’t reciprocating whatever mumbo jumbo. She was going on going on about Caroline shaking me about and then tried to kiss me. And then I was just like
K Anderson 27:50
Sade Giliberti 27:52
So I yeah, I pushed her off me and I was just like, girl, you batshit I gotta go. Like, this is crazy.
K Anderson 27:58
And so where did you go for your second day?
Sade Giliberti 28:03
We just went out to the cops
Sade Giliberti 28:10
so that was probably one of the one of the biggest and first fight have ever been in and I still to this day don’t understand.
K Anderson 28:16
I hate when people start dating someone and then they want you to meet them.
Sade Giliberti 28:22
Right? And this competition, I mean, come on.
K Anderson 28:27
Not having to being in a situation where you’re forced to be friends with someone who you wouldn’t be friends with because they’re dating someone that you know. I’m such a bit. It’s just so selfish. But like, yeah,
Sade Giliberti 28:38
it’s like, you’re so no, you’re absolutely spot on. You know what I mean? And there was my friends dating this crazy person. And then the worst part is that the whole time that the stuff is happening, my friend is standing outside the door. And she’s not intervening. She’s just like, just standing there.
K Anderson 28:54
But wait, so were you in a cubicle? Okay, and she, right? She like holding her bag or something? To this
Sade Giliberti 29:02
day? I still don’t know. So weird. I still don’t know. And then it gets better. A week later, I was in a car accident. So I had
K Anderson 29:10
and it was nicer. Yeah, yeah. Well,
Sade Giliberti 29:13
I had two black eyes. And she told people that she beat me up. And and that’s why two black guys. I’ve never laughed so much in my entire life. Honestly, it was the best story ever.
K Anderson 29:29
So let’s maybe not. Yeah, maybe let’s not talk about her for too long.
Sade Giliberti 29:32
Oh, no, no, no, that’s done now. Please. Can we move on?
K Anderson 29:35
Okay, so we’re not naming and shaming her? Nah, sorry. Okay. So in this period of time when you’d come out but you’d not come out in the public eye and you’re going to ramp divas. How did people respond to you?
Sade Giliberti 29:49
People knew me so people were very happy to see me and excited to see me and it was just you know, I never got any flack or backlash or anything like that there was always thoughtless. It was like, my girlfriends are in love with you, you cause problems in my life. And I was just like, cool. I don’t know, you or your boyfriend, I’m so sorry. But but at the same time, it was just always great because I just had so many people who just told me how much I meant to them. And if it wasn’t for me being on telly, and just being authentically myself, they probably would have never been authentically themselves, and accepted who they were, and come out and gone on the journey. And they were just like, you know, so having having those moments and having those conversations were always just great for me. So people always just accepted me for who I am. And we’re always thrilled to see me it’s as you know, there’s always photographs and all of that kind of stuff. And it was great. I was crunk half the time. So you know, 2122 23
K Anderson 30:50
how it evolved? Did your bullshit detector become like, were there people who were only interested in you because of the fame? Oh, 100%.
Sade Giliberti 30:58
Yeah, 100%. But I didn’t let them into my friendship circle.
K Anderson 31:03
But how do you like what are the signs, I
Sade Giliberti 31:06
am just a very intuitive person. I can just tell immediately from a person demeanour, how they speak to me, and how they speak about me to others, that this person is just in it for who I am. And then there are people who are authentic. And I’ve, luckily enough, only attracted authentic people. So I’ve never actually had to deal with fakery in my circles and going oh, gosh, it’s been six months. And I’ve just realised how fake you are. And you’re only just here because of who I am. I’ve not had that.
K Anderson 31:38
Oh, that’s good. Just mean this less stories for this podcast, though.
Sade Giliberti 31:42
Oh, I’m so sorry. I just don’t have time for I never had time for them. And I just don’t have time for it now. And you know what I mean? Like you either like me for who I am. And if you’re with me, because of who I am in a public sphere, then we’re not meant to be friends.
K Anderson 31:55
Oh, yeah. But like, people’s motivations are never that black and white, first of all, and also, there are different grades of ambition around that kind of thing, isn’t there?
Sade Giliberti 32:07
No, of course. And I also think that you possibly can’t tell. But you know, we were all young. You know, this was this was a place I frequented in my early 20s. And some people just don’t have that maturity to hide it. So you can tell immediately that they literally just want to hang out with you because of who you are. And in essence with those people, I only ever saw them at the club. So they never really penetrated my personal life. So at the club, if they wanted to last
K Anderson 32:37
hearing the word penetrator. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Okay, carry on. They didn’t penetrate, you
Sade Giliberti 32:50
know. So, you know, it was just at the club, and if being around me made them feel better, or solid for like an hour or two at the club, or somebody was like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe you know, shot a call. I don’t have your number. We don’t hang out. We don’t take, we don’t go for coffee, fine.
K Anderson 33:08
But it’s so nice to hear that you didn’t feel any kind of pressure around that like behaving in a certain way or projecting a certain persona in order to maintain everyone’s expectations of you
Sade Giliberti 33:23
know, I really, I really did. And I remember meeting a fellow South African actress in one of the gay clubs, and eventually finding out that she was in fact gay, and being gobsmacked and being like, how does nobody know about this? Like, why? Why haven’t you said anything. And she literally said that she wouldn’t do it because it would ruin her career. And she behaved in such a way that never gave away that she was gay ever. She left the country went to the States and has come back. But I you know, to this day, I don’t know if she’s now living her truth. Or if she’s gone back into the closet and is living another life, you know, but I found that so sad, because I was still like, but here we are at a gay club, which anyone can be at. It doesn’t matter if it’s scary, because like I said to you, everyone goes to gay clubs. It doesn’t matter what your sexual preferences or not. I was like, but here we are. And you still feel that you? You can’t, like no. And I found that so sad. And I was like, I never I never want that for me. I never want to live my life like that. And I never want to
K Anderson 34:23
be like, what’s the point in going out to a club if you can’t let go? Right? Yeah, it’s really weird.
Sade Giliberti 34:29
So that was very sad for me. And it was it was that conversation with her that just made me go. I never want to do that. I never want to live that life. I just want to I just want to be able to be me. And if people can’t accept me, then they must accept me. So ramp divas. Yeah. So I absolutely loved it. And so many people didn’t understand why I loved it. But those who went there knew there was just that magic and there wasn’t a lot of places to go to. There was the odd pop up thing. We had this lesbian party that happened every first Friday of the month called First Friday. But it was only lesbians. So it was just drama.
K Anderson 35:06
Oh, so does that betray your feelings on female only spaces?
Sade Giliberti 35:11
No, no, not at all. I have no issues with female only spaces. But like, I think I went to almost every single First Friday for like, half a year. And and then I was like, I can’t do this. There’s just every every time I went, there was drama. And there was always a friend of another friend who was in some fight because somebody looked at somebody’s girlfriend or slept to somebody, his girlfriend or sanctimonious girlfriend or try to sleep with somebody, I was just like, why can’t we just come and dance and have a good time? You know, and I still feel that way about going to female only places just you walk in and a stagnant it was who you who you’re looking at. So you look at my girl, don’t look at my girl. And it’s just like, Oh my God, I’ve just come to have a drink with my own girl, if you don’t mind, and you just never feel like welcomed. I honestly feel like lesbians don’t have that welcoming feeling. They’re just like Hawkeye and trying to like make sure no one’s looking at their girl or their potential girl.
K Anderson 36:07
So it’s more of a protective vibe, rather than, like a heightened sexual tension.
Sade Giliberti 36:15
Yeah. Yeah. Which I think is just completely unnecessary. It’s just really unnecessary. If you walk into any LGBT space that is open to everybody. You don’t get that. Or when you walk into a lesbian only bar or lesbian only club or lesbian only pop up. It’s just intense. And I don’t I personally don’t like that. When I was single. When I’m in a relationship. I don’t care. I do not like it. I’m just like, Why is everything so tense?
K Anderson 36:44
So what? So what happens in male only spaces are watching? What does happen? Well, I think the only time I ever go to male only spaces is when there’s sex involved. Like there’s never any male only space that’s not about sex. Is there? That’s a good question. I didn’t think so. Because men don’t need to, like have men only space in the same way that women need women. That’s a mess. Yeah, sure.
Sade Giliberti 37:08
I mean, no, it is. But I mean, I but I also do understand why I mean, like, for example, with First Friday, heterosexual men were not allowed in at
K Anderson 37:17
all, what was the test?
Sade Giliberti 37:19
I have no idea. I don’t know if they judge them on how they dressed or what they said, or I have no idea. But gay men were allowed. And even then I was like, how do you know? Unless the person is super camp or is known within the community? And even then, I mean, you know, the odd gay man would come and be bored out of his eyes, like,
K Anderson 37:41
I see. For me. I love being in women. Heavy spaces. Women are really, yeah. Because it’s like, there’s no, I guess it’s going back to that thing about expectation, like there suddenly, no internal monologue about how I should be behaving or should be acting or should be doing because I’m like, No one gives a shit about me in here.
Sade Giliberti 38:04
Yeah, no, 100%. And the thing is, is that there were the odd guys who come who literally love coming there for that specific reason. They were like, it is my time, I am here to dance. I’m here to live my best life. Nobody’s looking at me. I don’t want nobody to look at, you know, I don’t care about them. They don’t care about me. It’s great. And I
K Anderson 38:21
can flirt with people without anyone thinking that it actually means something. Because you know, the thing. I hate it so much when you like, have a bit of a fun flirty thing with someone, and then they suddenly need to tell you that they have a partner and you’re like, I’m not interested. But I can’t I can’t now tell you that I’m not interested because it looks like I’m being defensive. So now I’m just gonna have to just take the fact that you’ve told me that you have a partner and you’re not interested in me, even though I was never interested in you in the first place. And this is you’ve just ruined everything.
Sade Giliberti 38:54
It’s all good. Thank you.
K Anderson 38:58
I’m sorry, in a female heavy space, I could do that. I can flirt with a woman and she’ll know that. Like, it’s not going anywhere. Yeah,
Sade Giliberti 39:05
yeah. No, I get that. I get that. So. Yeah, so like I said, I mean, I’ve seen I’ve seen gay men in females bases absolutely bored out of their minds, and I’ve always seen them go best night ever, like, honestly. So I think it depends. But for me, there’s only now, especially now, but back then it was getting to a point where I was like, Oh, I can only do this ever so often pinch of salt here. Pinch of salt there can’t do this all the time. It was just draining. It was just draining the intensity. The drama was just training. And sometimes I just wanted to go and dance and I could just never do that because somebody I knew was getting into a fight or somebody who I knew was this or somebody was looking at me fighting and I was just like off fucksakes And the thing about being a person in the media is the amount of rumours that gets spread around about you that are nowhere near the truth. I don’t know how many people’s girlfriends I’ve been with or how many people I mean, I’ve got baby daddies for days. And it’s just like, you know, so
K Anderson 40:06
but how can you what? Wait, how? Yeah,
Sade Giliberti 40:10
yeah. Yeah, no, I’ve, I’ve heard so many stories about
K Anderson 40:14
like, like, logistically, how could you have that many?
Sade Giliberti 40:18
This is the question I asked myself. Honestly, when people were like, oh, yeah, and I heard that you, you know, birth This one’s child, I was like I did. Who is this person even? And where’s this child that you speak of? Like, what’s going on? You know, then I’d have girls coming up to me and be like, yeah, so I know that you are with so and so. And I was like, Who is this person? You know, so people would make up that they were in relationships with me or had a one night stand with me or snuck me in some ball. And I have no idea who these people were. So it’s
K Anderson 40:49
just because you’ve got a bad memory.
Sade Giliberti 40:55
Good question. No, it’s definitely not.
K Anderson 40:59
Because I haven’t seen me all the time. Oh, yeah. Listen, I do I know to find out you from Grindr, or do I know you?
Sade Giliberti 41:08
I do generally have a terrible memory. But in those cases, not all untrue stories. And
K Anderson 41:17
so let’s forget about First Fridays. Let’s go back to rap divas. Yes. What I wanted to ask was, what did that venue teach you about yourself?
Sade Giliberti 41:27
Oh, that is such a good question. It taught me how open I was. It showed me how open it was. It didn’t even teach me that it showed me how open I was because I met phenomenal, incredible people there that I don’t think I would have met or genuinely been friends with if I’ve just seen them on the streets. I was friends with people who were, you know, completely out there completely comfortable with who they work with taught me so much about just being comfortable with who you are. I met people who were so unbelievably shy. But this was a little safe haven that they could come to you and just be themselves but like, could not hold a conversation with other people or look them in the eye because that’s how shy they were. Yet they still came to this place filled with people and sweaty bodies almost every weekend. And it showed me how colourful and amazing our community is, how layered and complex our community is. And it opened me up to all of that and all the different stories that are out there about our community because like I said to you brought in so many people from all over with so many different backgrounds, stories and issues, not to say that I knew any of them, or all of them, maybe just a handful of them, but you could just see, you could just see and it just opened me up completely to our community, to our people and to myself. In all honesty, I just learned so much about just being true to who you are, but also how important it was to find your tribe.
K Anderson 43:19
Do you have any memories of RAM divas or clubbing from your own cuisine that you want to share? Well, if you do please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to low spaces podcast.com and find the section Sherry last space and tell me all about what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as last spaces apart. Find Shadi on instagram and twitter handle on both platforms is SHA de Geer. Liberty. Law spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there and we’ll be releasing songs over the next year. You can hear the first single well groomed boys which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform of choice or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces