A very happy accident
Four months ago, this townhouse in Merewether welcomed a new occupant…or should I say, occupants. If houses had feelings, I have no doubt this property would be feeling complete and utter joy. Its walls are now home to Timothy Jackson, perhaps better known as his alter ego, the fabulously flamboyant wearer of sky-high heels and sequins, Drag Queen, Timberlina.
Downstairs, in the garage turned Drag Room is where Timberlina works her magic. It’s home to racks of bejewelled, feathered, sequined, colourful costumes; shelves of heels; over 40 coiffured wigs and of course, a mirrored make-up station where the transformation from Tim to Timberlina occurs.
Timberlina rarely goes upstairs. Upstairs is home to Tim where he’s quite rarely ‘off-duty’ and where he unwinds on his favourite sofa in front of the TV catching up on episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
I begin my interview with Tim, mid-way into his transition into Timberlina. It was a first for me…I’ve never turned up to an interview before where the interviewee is wearing nothing but fishnets, Spanx and a strapless bra! Tim has a way about him though, that puts you completely at ease. Somehow it all felt totally normal and the conversation flowed effortlessly.
Standing in the Drag Room, I ask Tim how long he’s lived here,
“I moved in four months ago. I was living in a place on The Hill and wanted to move on. I rented this place completely by accident!”
How do you rent a place by accident?
“I saw it online and applied for it but didn’t think for a moment that I’d get it. I got a phone call saying it was mine while I was on a flight to Darwin. I came back from Darwin, got the keys, and thought, Wow! This is a really nice place! It was the first time I’d actually stepped foot inside it.”
“It’s the perfect space. I’ve done it so it’s work, fun, and flamboyancy down here and a space to relax upstairs, with just a touch of flamboyancy.”
Whether I’m talking to Tim or Timberlina, there is one attribute that shines through, and that is an overwhelming generosity of spirit.
Upstairs in his living room is a joyous and quirky Mitch Revs original sculpture. It’s a rainbow with a little man suspended on a swing.
Tim first saw it at a Mitch Revs exhibition and desperately wanted it to be a part of his life, but it wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t for sale. It sat in the gallery window and continued to bring joy to passers-by.
“I then went to the opening of his latest exhibition and it was for sale! Of course, I just had to have it. When Mitch saw the little red sticker on it, marking it as sold, his face fell. He asked who bought it and when he found out it was me he was delighted and said he couldn’t think of a better person to have it.”
“I haven’t told Mitch this, but I’m planning on leaving it to his kids. Something this special needs to stay in the family”
So for now, Tim is the custodian of this delightful piece of art. And Mitch, if you’re reading this, in time, your children will be the beneficiaries of your work from a very happy fan.
What an absolute legend!!
The Drag Room is impeccably well organized, thanks to her very close friends and parents’ help. Timberlina’s costumes are arranged on professional shopfront racks and everything has its place.
Looking at the costume-lined wall that is an explosion of theatrical costume magnificence, I ask Tim if the search for new costumes will ever end.
“My collection is ever-growing. I have some costumes made, some I find online, others from designers and there are even hand-me-downs.”
Do you ever have designers approach you asking you to wear their clothes?
“No, but that would be a dream. A massive goal!”
“I have over 40 wigs which I purchase online and get styled by wig stylists. I work with Victoria Mykles on the Central Coast, Styled By Esther in Melbourne, and Wigged Out in Sydney.”
I leave Tim to complete his transformation into Timberlina and go to explore upstairs. The change in the décor between upstairs and downstairs is as great as the change between Tim and his alter-ego. The downstairs extravagance and flamboyancy only appear in subtle touches in the light-filled, calm, and serene upstairs interior.
The white-painted walls, soaring cathedral ceilings, light timber floors, and large windows create a feeling of relaxation and space. The original wood veneer cupboard doors and original door knobs add to the retro vibe of the house.
As I’m taking it all in, Timberlina dances up the stairs in a statement white mini dress, accessorized with hot pink stilettos, a coordinating pink wig, and earrings. She’s in full character mode and dazzles us with her energy.
On the dining room wall sits a large photographic portrait of Timberlina taken recently at 48 Watt Street by local photographer, Brad Black Creative.
“After the shoot, he sent me the looks and Sophie said, “you need to get that framed”. So I got it framed and it’s gorgeous – really amazing. I’ve had it for a couple of months. Ever since I moved in here, everything is just falling into place.”
Where do you source your furniture?
“All over the place really. I bought the sofa on Marketplace from a lady that had two four-year-olds and kept it pristine. A few pieces are from Monsoon Living and James lane, and some pieces came from friends.”
Did you do all the styling?
“No”, she says laughing.
“Sophie, Bonnie, and Carla, really close friends of mine came together and made it work for me, keeping it within my style. They know me so well. Running a very hectic business and being on the road a lot I don’t have time to find the pieces myself.”
How much time do you spend on the road?
“Anywhere from 50% of the week to a full week at a time. I perform state-wide at the moment. I’m still a new performer to the world, I’m going into my 6th year. I love doing regional stuff. I’m originally from a small country town called Gulgong near Mudgee so for me it’s going out west and entertaining and making people laugh that I love. As long as I’m doing that I don’t really care where I am.”
What bought you to Newcastle?
“Mum bought us here to go high school. They’ve moved back out west now. Newcastle has just been home for me now for the last 16 years. I was a wedding coordinator in the Hunter Valley prior to this for Tower Estate, Peppers Convent, and Roberts Restaurant, then I moved out to Margan. I’m also a celebrant as either Tim or Timberlina. I just did a wedding as Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek. I was dressed up in a priest outfit from the final episode. It was so much fun!”
Do you have a fave piece in your house?
“This is going to sound really weird but I really like my dining table. Since I’ve been out of home I’ve never had a dining table and it’s like I’m an adult now”.
How long have you had it?
“It was one of the first pieces I purchased when I moved in four months ago. I have dinner parties with friends over which is my downtime. The best thing about it is that I we can now all sit around a dinner table. We even have linen napkins… I’m a real grown-up now!!”
What’s your favourite room in the house?
“The living area. It’s nice but it’s also where I get to relax.”
What do you do to relax?
“I like to chill and watch TV in my downtime. I just celebrated 13 months alcohol-free! Downstairs is the fun room, the party room.”
I notice a bright pink throw on the spare bed with a giant T emblazoned across it and ask if there’s a story behind it.
“My sister, Kathleen lives in the US and she’s like a bestie to me. She asked me if she could crochet a blanket for me. I wasn’t exactly enthused by the idea! We went to see her June for her wedding and she brought it out. I’ve really learned to love it! I often have it on my sofa.”
Just like Timberlina, the throw is unapologetically loud and proud and a stunning statement that brightens a room.
And just like that, it was time for a quick costume change. This time she has decked out in a lavender French maid outfit topped off with a blonde wig and romping around the living room with a Dyson. Like I said earlier, if this house had feelings, it would be full of sheer joy.
Follow @thetimberlina on socials to keep across her performances and to get your daily dose of sunshine.