ManCrush: Niko Wirachman
Before the world shut down, Niko Wirachman was appearing in the West End production of The Prince of Egypt.
We caught up with him for a behind-the-scenes look at the production.
How did it feel to land a part in the West End production of The Prince of Egypt?
I couldn’t believe it when I got the call from my agent. I fought really hard at the auditions – I really wanted to be part of this incredible creation.
The Prince of Egypt, the movie, ran on repeat at home when I was younger and I love the story and its songs. It’s a timeless story. To this day, we can still learn from it. It’s about hope and it underlines that tradition and legality aren’t guidelines for morality, which has been proven throughout human history.
I also can’t believe I am working with such a legendary creative team as the Academy Award-winning lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz whose lyrics for Wicked, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – and so many more – are simply breath-taking. Along with the one and only Sean Cheesman who has danced and choreographed for Michael and Janet Jackson, Prince, Britney Spears, and So You Think You Can Dance. Even to be standing in the same room as them is an honour, but I’m actually working with them!
I’ve been in other big productions before, including a West End show, but this is the first time that I’m part of an original cast – that’s a dream for every performer. You’re not learning a fixed routine or staging, you’re work-shopping it with the creators – you’re helping create magic and make the director’s and choreographer’s visions come to life.
When You Believe is such an iconic song – do you ever get sick of hearing that or does it still give you goosebumps?
My mum and family were huge fans of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. This song truly reminds me of my childhood. But there is a difference between listening to it as a pop song and seeing it in context of a story. What makes this song so special is the lead up to it.
This song is about hope – hope for change, hope for love, hope for the greater good, hope to just be happy.
Have you been getting a lot of Drag Race love since your appearance in the Brit Crew?
Being part of the Brit Crew has been an incredible experience. I wasn’t really that familiar with the Drag world, so it was an eye-opener to see how incredibly difficult the art form is. You need to be an entertainer, a designer, wiggie, hairdresser, make-up artist, and you need to have a tremendous imagination and vision – a true jack-of-all-trades.
RuPaul gives Queens the platform to share their story, and it teaches people about the art-form and makes them appreciate and understand it more. I truly am glad to be part of RuPaul’s family and the Drag world.
In the Drag world, rather than being judged, you’re celebrated for being different – that’s what I love the most.
Your Instagram game is really strong. What’s the goal with your social media?
I never planned to have such a big following – I’m truly grateful to my followers who enjoy my posts. For me, my Instagram posts are more my work and art, while my Instagram Stories are about my life. I also think that anyone who has a platform should use it for the good. I do often try to send out messages and spread love.
I was badly bullied when I was in school and was always made fun of for being feminine and for my love of dance. To this day, I suffer from insecurities because of it. If it hadn’t been for my mum, I probably would have given up on school and dance. She always made me feel loved and supported me in every way. She could see that I loved dancing, but the pressure from others broke me. She would have taken five jobs to support my passion. She truly means the world to me and – because of her – I’m now dancing in front of thousands of people in a West End Show every day.
I’ve talked about my past life on my Instagram a few times, and I hope to also inspire the next generation to be kind to one another and to help each other. I hope to show people that we’re all different and unique. No matter what skin colour, religion, gender, who we love, or whatever. We should cherish diversity and learn to love the colourful world we live in.
I also hope that I’ve shown through my Instagram stories the reason why I’ve chosen to be vegetarian, and I hope to have inspired people to also think about where their meat comes from.
I try to use my social media to spread positivity and love. Hopefully I can inspire others with my messages.