Carla from Bankstown on your must-have Mardi Gras accessories

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With Mardi Gras upon us, there’s only one person we want to be taking fashion advice from, and that’s Carla from Bankstown.

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Carla has hit the big time over the past 12 months, with her character taking off on Instagram and TikTok, especially when she took on the character of assistant to the premier during the Sydney lockdowns.

Carla began giving daily press conferences for us to laugh at, rather than to despair at, and lifted spirits throughout the challenging months.

“Everyone just takes everything so seriously,” Carla’s alter ego, Benjamin James, tells Girlfriend.

“I think for me, it was just if people don’t want to watch the news and see all the bad stuff that’s happening, come to my page and have a laugh, you know?” he says.

Ben James, the person behind Carla. (Credit: Instagram)

“A lot of people struggled during lockdown, a lot of my friends struggled during lockdown, my family struggled during lockdown,” he shares.

“I tried to use that as an outlet for me to push myself, to share my light with everybody, and just make people laugh.”

And not only did Ben make people laugh, his popularity as Carla grew like never before. Suddenly, Carla was everywhere.

Not only did she book a major gig on Celebrity Apprentice, Carla has been doing more and more media, and will be front and centre this weekend at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade.

“I think my favourite part would be getting a lot closer with my community.” (Credit: Instagram)

“It’s been really fun,” Ben shares.

“Making videos in my room, not really thinking that anything would come of it now, all of a sudden, it’s just blown up,” he says.

“I think my favourite part would be getting a lot closer with my community, with the LGBTIQA+ community. I think that’s been a really, really good thing for me.

“I’ve never really involved myself as much as I have now … you know, promoting things about trans awareness and bullying and all that kind of stuff.

“I think the highlight for me would be the audience … it’s grown into becoming a platform for me to, you know, use my power, I guess.”

Carla with her DIYG shirt! (Credit: Cricut)

Carla will get to celebrate her platform even further when she takes her place on the TikTok float at the upcoming Mardi Gras Parade.

“I actually bought like a professional-style wig to wear to Mardi Gras, and I’m really hoping that it’s not going to be pouring rain,” Ben laughs.

While Carla will be dressed to the nines on the float, and joined by Nat Alise and Rainbow History Class, two fellow LGBTIQA+ TikTok creators, she’s got plenty of ideas for the accessories you might need on the night.

Working with craft company Cricut, Carla has been creating an Instagram series called Do It Yourself, Gronk, or DIYG, named for her favourite Bankstown term, where she’s created a shirt and a phone case so far.

(Credit: Cricut)

“Before I got involved with Cricut, I had absolutely no idea what a Cricut machine was,” Ben says.

“When they sent me one and I started using it, I was like … this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Like I’m literally labelling everything. I made my own wineglass the other day,” he laughs.

Carla kicked off her series showing us how to make a t-shirt reading ‘Gronk’ in holographic lettering and has now added a tutorial on how to make a phone case with a rainbow, a love heart, and of course, more ‘Gronk’ lettering.

“It’s super, super easy,” Ben says of the machine. “I didn’t know I could make something so exciting.”

“It’s probably one of my favourite things, it’s like Gay Christmas,” Ben said of Mardi Gras. (Credit: Cricut)

Working with Cricut is just one of the ways Ben has been able to express his creativity, and he’s keen to show more of it as Mardi Gras approaches.

“It’s probably one of my favourite things, it’s like Gay Christmas,” he jokes.

“Everyone comes together, no one cares what you look like, no one cares what you wear, no one cares who you are, where you came from.

“Everyone just gets together, celebrates each other, and that’s it. Everyone has a good time.”

For more of Carla, you can check out her Instagram for her DIYG series.

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