Sharp, witty and clever, Kirra Draper has been a published freelance writer from the tender age of sixteen, and nothing will stop her from continuing her writing. Nothing at all. Not even the impending Zombie Apocalypse. Especially not that.
It's not her flaring costume that makes me throw a handful of my precious laundry change into her hat. It's certainly not her talent – anyone can stand still for hours on end, right? No, what hooked me in was the sign scrawled in black marker pen on card that lies at her feet, "BUSKING TO BUY MORE SHINY THINGS" – a refreshingly honest approach to the busking profession.
I tell her so as my change lands with a click into her hat. As a reward she unfreezes from her stationary position and blows me a theatrically exaggerated kiss, her big red lips puckering and smacking out a loud mwah! before freezing once again.
Her name is Anita, and she has been busking the streets of Melbourne for a year now. When she's not stationed along Swanston Street in a colourful wig and shiny dress, Anita makes her profession from costume making.
I was encouraged to try street busking by my partner, who thought I'd be good at it – which I am," she says. "I also see it as an opportunity to showcase my costumes and the characters I've created. The Living Doll."
Anita's Living Doll performance is refreshingly different to the usual Human Statue routine. Her characters often express themselves through movement, whilst still maintaining an eerie stillness afterwards.
I like to surprise people when I move," says Anita. "Sometimes I really scare them, and that's pretty awesome."
Anita can also be coaxed to move when money is donated when money is thrown into her hat. "It's a way to say thank you".
Like most street performers, it's difficult to guess where they'll next pop up. But if you do see Anita's Living Doll performance on the streets of Melbourne's inner city, I highly recommend you stick around for the show!