From Tradie To Drag Queen: How This Advert Helped A Trans Activist Embrace Themselves

Posted on by Sexyland Team

a person rests their head in their arms and looks thoughtfully in black and white

For decades, we’ve seen one type of sex positivity on our screens; slim, white, heterosexual and conventionally attractive. I’m sick of it, you’re sick of it and finally, brands are beginning to get the memo and represent the myriad of different people and their sexualities in the TV and adverts we consume.

One of these brands is Sexyland. The sexual health retailer, which stocks a diverse range of gender-affirming and gender-fluid products, has recently shared its ‘Get Real Sexy’ campaign featuring real people and their stories in order to shift sex positivity, representation and inclusion forward.

Pharrell Shaymar is one of these stories. Pharrell is a motivational speaker and boxing coach who is passionate about gender equality. In the advert, he plays a tradie (something Pharrell has experience with in real life). The tradie character also happens to be a drag queen. Despite never performing as a drag queen in real life, the long-time Sexyland customer was inspired by the opportunity to share his more feminine side. As a trans man, Pharrell has turned his story of pain into a journey of joy and resistance. Before we see him on our screens, we sat down with the boxing coach to get to know Pharrell more.

PEDESTRIAN.TV: Hi Pharell, tell us a bit about yourself.

Pharrell: I am a former professional boxing coach. I now specialise in pad-work for fight training, pad-holding drills, and the overall equipment for boxing, hence my nickname ‘The Pad Technician’. It’s my deepest passion.

I found this passion through a torn ACL at the gym whilst kickboxing. I was immediately pushed to the side when the coach knew it was torn, he said I was no good to the team now. I still attended the classes to see what I could learn. I started holding pads because it was all I could do, that in itself became the unfortunate blessing to what would be my new journey. 

Could you share your experience when you started to transition?

I legally started my transition at 18 years old. I was denied hormone blockers (puberty blockers) due to the doctor I was seeing at the time. This was at 16 years old. She shared with me that I wouldn’t be able to receive any treatment, including hormone blockers until I had a “reality check” in life. She said that no one will want me, that I’ll never become a man regardless of the surgery I receive, I will never get married and my life won’t be normal anymore.

My heart just stopped. I didn’t understand what the purpose of me being alive was anymore. 

You’re a motivational speaker, why is it important to you to share your journey and resilience with others? 

It is important to share so others understand how important they are in this life.

I want to inspire the significance of our individual selves. Everyone deserves to be safe and physically live a happy and healthy life. 

What inspired you to apply for a role in Sexyland’s ‘Get Real Sexy’ ad? 

[What inspired me was that] I am comfortable with who I am and the message of gender, the support of men being able to feel comfortable in their own bodies, and exploring their feminine side. I understand [what it’s like] to be put down for wanting to share sides of me that others deemed as not masculine and not sexy. 

This is actually your first time performing in drag, why did you feel safe to explore this side of yourself now?

I felt at home before I found that stage. Being on that stage was me stepping into the role that I was hiding from my whole life.

I felt safe and I was safe to know who I am. I was inspired when I saw the light and cameras; I was in my element.

What does sex positivity mean to you in 2023? 

Being able to feel sexually free: emotionally sexual, physically expressive, mentally safe.

These qualities are positive for sex. To be inspired by your own body, to feel free to explore who you are, mentally understanding that you are sexy, and emotionally feeling the passion of who you are within. 

Do you think it’s changed over the years? 

Oh hell yeah!

Sex has been seen as a negative word [and] expression. Sex has been categorised [into] gender roles that we as a society haven’t been safe to talk about freely. 

The challenges of open conversations [around] sex, the communication barriers between relationships and not being able to explore in the bedroom without gender roles being established, how is the equality for sexual expression there when gender has been telling society how sex should be?

Sex is beautiful, we all should be able to experience it, even if it’s just through a kiss. 

What would you tell other young, queer people who want to come out but are afraid? 

The only thing you should be afraid of is not letting yourself become the person you deserve to be.

Let yourself be inspired. When you step into this world you begin to explore, your mind opens, and you find more and more of you, which ultimately becomes your strength.

However, for those who may feel they cannot open up, I was there too. I understand. Try to find goals; work, study, hobbies, sports, something that is self-driven, which allows you to establish self-confidence. Life can be scary because we feel once we open up, we can become a target, and that can be daunting. 

Life isn’t scary, just the people around us who put that idea in our heads. 

Sadly, there have been many attacks and increasing vitriol against transgender people in recent months. You spoke out publicly against the anti-trans rally and are an advocate for the queer community. What gives you the courage to speak out publicly against this awful hate? 

I never like violence, and I will never condone it!

We never fight, we strategically set up our methods of approach, and we build our presence to overcome and move forward for a strong change. 

The people who wish to create hate and negative effects on the community are only small-minded people who have no idea who I am. I didn’t have one fight in my life to become the person I am today, it came from the strength and using the [boxing] ring to understand my skills, understanding who I am, and everything this community has stood for.

How do you take care of yourself at the moment?

I go to the gym, I drive, I write, I rant to mum.

I always find something to do, I explore life, sometimes I just drive three hours away to anywhere where I can find peace, to bring me back to my feet. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? 

I’d like to share a personal quote.

“At my worst I became my best.”

I’d also like to thank my mother for giving me the chance to live in this life, and supporting me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her. 



Brands We Love

always discreet delivery
Secure Shopping
australia's largest range
You have successfully subscribed!