Friends’ teenage daughters were also a resource for pinning down detail, according to Lilley.
To make sure he had the teen girl terminology for Ja’mie down pat, he went to two places: Facebook and reality TV.
It’s about finding “the rhythm of reality”, according to Lilley.
Creating Jonah Takalua also took a great deal of first-hand research.
Watch him in costume and there’s no sense that Lilley is anyone but the character he’s playing.
Other comedy drag acts - ’s Emily and Florence, for instance - might trade on the physical disconnect between the actor and persona, but Lilley is no pantomime dame.
He tells interviewers that his sixteen-year-old niece and her circle provided more up-to-date inspiration for the character, from their self-choreographed (and self-important) contemporary dance pieces to their teenage parties, at which he made a point of being a fly on the wall.He's had more stick from redheads, he says, for breathing new life into Aussie insult 'Ranga' (short for Orangutan).All Lilley’s research aims to place his ridiculous characters in a real world, which is why he uses supporting characters who aren’t actors, but the real thing.In his glossy brunette wig and school dress, the thirty-nine year old man disappears and he simply is hair-flicking, doe-eyed teen Ja’mie King.Change the wig, accent and mannerisms, and he becomes a naughty, crude fourteen year old, not just an actor ‘doing a bit’.