In this small yet organised room, Shamel is choreographing new dance moves.
The movements come naturally to him, but it was not always so. He was not a dancer. He’s a mixed child of Cambodian and African blood and did not have an easy childhood. Bullies were quick to fixate on his darker skin colour. It was hard to escape the idea that equated fairness with beauty.
At 15, Shamel’s true nature began to blossom, much to his family’s contempt. He loved wearing women’s clothes and identified as a lady boy.
Not finding acceptance among his family, he left home and coasted along until he found a place where he could be comfortable in his own skin, and his skin colour.
Today, he’s a bonafide star at the nightclub as a performer. Audiences are riveted by his unique look and presence. He comes alive when the lights come up, carrying himself with self-assuredness that bely the hardships he has faced.
Looking different used to be a curse. Now, he flaunts it in the limelight.