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The Zen of Melinda Dimitriadis

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Scene queen and scene-stealer, Melinda Dimitriades, is the party promoter and chick-about-town that everyone wants to know. Rhoyce Nova distils her essence.

Scene queens are fabulous nobodies. Famous for being famous, it seems they need no more credentials than a good look and a lot of attitude. Delve a bit deeper, however, and you might find that the scene queen is the ultimate contemporary conundrum: shallow but deep, vacuous yet intelligent.

One queen of our velvet underground who embodies this paradox is 24-year-old Melinda Dimitriades. ​In an arena where image is everything and poofs and dykes are reduced to a cute arse here and a nose ring there, names are no longer the hallmark of identity and individuality. Many who recognise Dimitriades as the gorgeous girl with the nose chain in the Marie Claire ad, or the cute bar chick who serves the best cocktails in town, don’t know her name. She is both high-profile and behind-the-scenes.

As one of the organisers behind Fanny Palace, one of the best and queerest parties around, she is more than capable of enticing over 500 bent people out to play. ​”Whether serving a drink in a crowded cocktail lounge or chatting to you amid hundreds of other guests, she makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room,” notes one friend. “She has the ability to elevate everyday life to an art form,” says another. ​

Viewing her involvement in the scene as something of a double-edged sword, Dimitriades says,

“The scene is like any other mass of people. There’s left-wing and right-wing, people who stand out, those who take it seriously and those who don’t. At the same time there is this creative energy and common bond that we all share which revolves around self-acceptance and acceptance at large. It just so happens that I work in the scene, it’s what I’m good at and what I really love, but it also means that I become public property and people think that I embody everything about the scene.”

Anyway you look at it, Dimitriades is a paradox. She’s famous but not everyone knows her name. She’s full of attitude but completely down-to-earth. She’s a one-woman romantic and an outrageous flirt. She’s opinionated and stubborn and both loved and hated for it.

For a dyke who’s been around the traps she has an appealing exuberance, whilst at the same time being what every new girl on the scene wants to be. She says,

“It’s like this: there are three separate little creatures rushing around in my head. They have a huddle and one comes out screaming ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!, that’s my passionate side. Another screams, ‘No fucking way!’, that’s my sensible side. And the third, the one that always wins says, ‘Who the fuck knows what to do?’. That’s my spontaneous side. All that rushing around at about a million miles an hour…”

The formula seems to work. Dimitriades is a smooth operator with a fist full of charisma — kind of like a savage teddybear. ​Although her time on the scene and smart mouth belie her years, her face hasn’t taken on that ‘over-it’ cynicism. Her hazel eyes retain an air of innocence and the curl of her lip smiles too easily to be considered churlish. The animation of her face constantly reveals her enthusiasm and energy, and when asked about her greatest motivation in life the answer is an unhesitating “passion”.

While she credits this fervour to her background, she says her family are by no means “conventionally Greek”. Her parents separated 10 years ago. She describes her mother as a “middle-class, conservative label queen”, adding that she hasn’t maintained a close relationship with her father. Her brother Alex appeared in the controversial film Head On, about a young Greek Australian struggling with his sexuality, but is perhaps best known as the star of the hit movie, The Heartbreak Kid. ​

Proud of her roots, Dimitriades says her upbringing instilled in her an appreciation of the importance of family and a love of old-fashioned Greek hospitality. Similarly, she knows the value of her friends and treats them like treasures — cooking her latest creations for them, never letting them lift a finger — before putting on her sailor suit and strutting up the street to try it on any cute girl she meets. ​

But no self-obsessed scene queen, Dimitriades is a woman of action who’s full of surprises. Take the night when, sitting around with a group of performers and singers, she let loose a jaw-droppingly soulful voice — no-one even knew she could sing.

“Music, both singing and playing guitar and piano, is one of my overriding passions in life. It’s something I can share with others and it’s something I can do just for me. One of my greatest pleasures is sitting around at home playing my favourite jazz albums.”

This all-consuming passion for life means Dimitriades gets just as excited about repairing her old 2002 BMW or restoring an old table as singing or appearing in glossy advertisements and magazines. And while she freely admits to liking the attention, she was curious and cautious when approached for this profile. ​Dimitriades explains,

“I was hesitant because I knew I was chosen because of my sexuality and the fact that I’m involved in high-profile gay establishments. I feel that magazines such as blue, which aim to represent the gay community, have a responsibility. blue has a lot of influence so I feel that those profiled should be indicative of the community. It is important for me to feel that I am properly represented in the public arena.”

​It is said that scene notoriety is achieved two ways; either by being completely original or by doing what everyone else does, only better. Dimitriades seems to be able to combine the two. Her look is an effective mix of uniformity and originality. Her aesthetic, like her personality, is straight down the line. While she’s able to pull off a ‘lipstick’ look with the best of them she favours substantial boots and a well-cut pair of trousers. Her sailor suit and army great coat are personal favourites and reflect her intense interest in masculinity and gender play.

In talking about her childhood she often let slip with the words, “When I was a boy…” and says she suffered penis envy in her youth. She attributes this more to a desire to fuck girls than to be a man, and recalls that she knew she loved girls from the age of five. But her sexuality doesn’t revolve around any rejection of masculinity, indeed quite the opposite. She freely acknowledges that she possesses a heavy dose of masculinity, and “beautifully boyish” is a term often used to describe her.

When speaking of her fascination with women and torrid love affairs, she describes herself as “gay as you can get” and believes that once you are in love with a woman, a part of you will always love them. Despite her adoration of women, Dimitriades is not a girl who falls in love easily. After three years of being single she has again found someone who she feels is special.

Sandy”, Melinda says of her current love,is different from my past girlfriends. This relationship is more tranquil, whereas my past relationships have been quite obsessive. There is a very real communication between us. The beauty of my relationship with Sandy is that she embraces my extremes and feeds off my high energy.”

​Even though their relationship is in the early stages Dimitriades has, for the first time, decided to live with her lover. She maintains, however, that she will never lose sight of what she calls her “primal side”. For passion and brute sensuality are her constant companions: she likes a good aggressive fuck as much as a tender love-making session. In this instance she believes that she and her lover have a lot to offer each other — a beautiful exchange of sensitivity and intensity.

“Sandy is the fourth character in my head who comes along and slows everything down to about 10 miles an hour. She turns it into some sort of sanity and sensibility… and that’s not such a bad thing.”

For a woman of 24, Melinda Dimitriades has achieved much in her life, yet there is the feeling she will accomplish much more. An ideas woman who always has plans floating and projects brewing — and has the simmering enthusiasm and talent to carry them out — she is much more than a fabulous nobody. Rather, it is the strength of her personality and her ability to manipulate image and instigate style that has led to the phenomenon of her scene queendom. What most people love best about Melinda Dimitriades, however, is that she’s just very good at being Melinda Dimitriades. ​

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