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Reality star 'almost dies' after plastic surgery goes wrong: 'Botched'

The RuPaul's Drag Race winner was left fighting for their life.

A botched plastic surgery procedure left Kita Mean, the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under season one, fighting for their life in Thailand and racking up over $40,000 in medical bills over the last six months during a lengthy recovery.

The 37-year-old, who lives in Auckland, flew to Bangkok in late 2022 to undergo a routine tummy tuck and remove excess skin following gastric-sleeve surgery in 2019 where they went from 160kg to 85kg.

Drag Race winner Kita Mean in hospital in Thailand / Kita Mean showing off their stomach scars.
Drag Race winner Kita Mean was left fighting for their life after a botched plastic surgery procedure. Photos: Instagram/kitamean / TikTok/kitameanofficial

However, complications during surgery led to the reality show winner being forced to spend five weeks in the foreign hospital and cancel months' worth of international tours and appearances.

“The wound was opening. I couldn't walk. I was hunched over because it was just painful and inflamed,” Kita Mean, real name Nick Nash, recently told Woman's Day NZ.

“Lying in hospital in Thailand, I tried to tell myself that people go through hard times in this world… But I was thinking, ‘What if I die? What if I never heal from it?’.”

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After eventually being given the green light to fly home, Kita faced a further blow after landing in New Zealand and being rushed into Auckland's Middlemore Hospital for more emergency surgery after the stomach wound started to “burst”.

“They had to cut out all the dead skin and fat that was basically infected inside my body,” the performer recalled. “My doctor said the stitches should have come out two weeks after the op and this was close to six weeks.”

Drag Race winner Kita Mean showing off their stomach scars.
‘If the s**t I went through last year has taught me anything it is that you only live once.’ Photo: Instagram/kitamean

'You only live once'

The road to recovery since then has been slow, but this last weekend Kita Mean returned to the main stage of RuPaul's Drag Race, representing Australia and New Zealand in LA at the show's annual DragCon.

“Meeting all the beautiful people, hanging out with all the fabulous queens and all of the giddy gayness has made my heart absolutely sing,” they reflected on Instagram.

In another post from March ahead of her New Zealand tour, Kita opened up about the nightmare few months.

“Having the time of my life. Botched plastic surgery and all!” they wrote. “If the s**t I went through last year has taught me anything it is that you only live once. Take risks. Have fun. Be grateful. And love the person next to you.”

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