Pride with Calvin Klein: Api and Roshan


— March 1, 2021 —

Sydney-based Api and Roshan are the ultimate multi-hyphenate couple. Api is an artist, activist, performer and House of Silky member, while Roshan is a visual artist and model. Their chemistry is undeniable and you can see how they exude a playful sense of confidence, intellect and sensuality in everything they do. 

For our latest Pride celebration with Calvin Klein, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the iconic power couple, so asked contributor Jamie Heath to photograph them in their hometown, Sydney. 

Having appeared together in GQ Australia and shared hosting duties for Club Chrome, we asked them all about what it’s like to work with your partner. Then, the conversation moved on to what it means to be a queer person of colour in Australia and what queer expression looks like in online spaces for them. 

Hi guys! Can you introduce yourselves for any CPC readers who might not yet know you? 
Roshan: Hey! My name’s Roshan and I’m a visual artist and model currently based in Sydney. 

Api: My name is Api. I’m an artist and activist; performing, SWorking and twerking on stolen land.

What drew you two together?
R: Rope. Literally. 

A: Our physical and sensual chemistry was electric from the jump. His smile gives me butterflies, I’m awestruck by the brilliant and talented man I get to lie my head next to.

As queer people of colour, we’re often forced to carve out our own spaces and forge our own families. Can you elaborate on the importance of community?
R: It’s interesting to see how this sense of community is achieved in today’s day and age. With individualism, technology, people having more complex relationships with family than just complete estrangement, etc. It’s definitely different to how it was years ago, but it isn’t any less important. These communities and spaces are so important in making us feel loved, respected and seen. However, it is a bubble and I don’t think it’s healthy for it to be everything for anyone. 

What are you most proud of?
A: I have been a member of the House of Silky for two years now. I’m filled with pride for not just my house, but the entire trans-Tasman Ballroom scene in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, and Brisbane. Following the footsteps of the New York girls, Ballroom ANZ has forged a space that centres trans, fa’afafine, fakaleiti, and gender non confirming people of colour. Sissy Ball is cancelled this year but Rona willing, the better, local balls are coming back this year. We love to see it.

How has your idea of queerness changed over time?
R: It’s definitely changed to be more fluid and personal 

How do you think queerness and creativity are linked?
R: Expression is highly regarded in queer spaces. I’d probably say it’s one of the most important things to many queer people. Creativity allows us to express without boundaries and endlessly. 

You’ve modelled together and hosted events together. What was it like collaborating together creatively?
R: It’s a lot of fun! It’s a blessing to be able to do these things with your partner, I wish everyone could experience it. That being said it isn’t all fun and games. There are things we are constantly having to navigate and figure out. At times it can be challenging – to feel like we are both being represented authentically as individuals and as a unit. But in the end we always come out of it stronger and with a deeper understanding of our relationship. 

A: I love working with Ro. How we work together is just an extension of how we strive to be in our relationship – honest, balanced and silly. We’re hosting Club Chrome II in March at The Red Rattler. It’s got everything: Pole Dancers! Awkward but endearing attempts at hosting! Fundraising for the Scarlet Alliance!

How do you navigate expressing your sexual and/or gender identity in online public spaces such as Instagram?
R: It’s all about your environment. A few years ago I wouldn’t have been so comfortable expressing how I do, but the people and spaces around you can really facilitate confidence. I do have family that sees my stuff though, so I am a little mindful of that. But that doesn’t bother me, nor do I feel it inhibits me. It’s just life and dealing with what happens when different identities and intersections come together. 

A: I’m not shy, let’s just say that. If I wanna share as a pic of my ass or my man and I - I will. I’ve always had an exhibitionist streak. I was that hoe on tumblr selling nudes for cash or Amazon wishlist shit many moons ago. I try not to get too personal on IG, but I’ve found a lot of friends through just being myself - ie. a hoe.

What contribution would you like to make to the queer community?
R: For a lot of queer people of colour, our presence is enough of a contribution to make. Our visibility does more than any active or tangible contribution. 

What does being a QPOC mean to you?
R: It means me walking into an event at a lefty art institution with food and drinks for my friends performing, and being mistaken for an Uber delivery driver. But then seeing and feeling perceptions of me change as I take my jacket off and I am wearing a femme crop top underneath. It’s constant micro aggressions which I am seemingly taking more as funny moments, and it comes from everywhere. Even these kinds of neo liberal spaces you wouldn’t expect it from. 

A: I’m turning 30 this year. Even in the time since I left school there’s been such a massive push towards lifting the voices of QTIPOC around the world. I am a little wary of the lines being blurred between visibility, exposure, and exploitation – but I’m also about the bag, so...

Any advice for people struggling to express their authentic selves?
R: If you’re struggling to express it then it probably isn’t what’s authentic for you right now. Look deeper. What’s holding you back? 

A: Parents and family can’t add you on private instagrams, but they can see if one of their contacts is now on instagram under the name ‘throatbaby69’.

How do you think others can be better allies for the LGBTQIA+ community?
R: Really just listen to us and elevate our voices. If it’s about us we probably know what's up! 

A: Donate to the girls’ donation funds so they can get gender confirmation surgeries! Support the work of queer artists! Sponsor categories at Vogue Balls! Read your homophobic family members! Keep an eye out on that swishy little cousin you have and discreetly give them your sister’s Barbie that they keep coming over to play with!

Feature: Martyn Reyes    Photos: Jamie Heath    Fashion: Miguel Urbina Tan

Created in collaboration with Calvin Klein


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