In which Bevan Chuang tells Susan Strongman's fortune.
“I can see red and orange and yellow. Warm colours. There’s quite a hot sensation around you, it’s very bright. It’s radiating.”
Bevan Chuang is doing a reading - a psychic reading.
She’s sitting opposite me at a small, round table. We’re in a windowless room at a community centre in Mt Roskill. The walls are cinder block grey. On the floor there is a pile of insulation, two armchairs, another table and stacks of plastic seats. There’s a photo of an Australasian bittern on the door.
Bevan began training in mediumship at the beginning of 2014, not long after she’d shot to fame - or notoriety - when a two year affair between her and Auckland’s then mayor, Len Brown became the country’s most public sex scandal.
She’s got a cute little smile and green hair. She’s likeable. When I ask her if she’ll do a reading on me, she says, “Sure. Ask me a question.”
I ask about my relationship.
She stares past my left shoulder, towards the grey wall and begins talking about colours. She momentarily reestablishes eye contact to tell me the colours she is seeing are not because she’s wearing a yellow, red and orange woolen wrap.
“I’m getting a strong sense of masculinity. Is he quite masculine?”
He’s not, really, I tell her. “His job’s kind of manly though, I guess.”
Bevan talks fast, like she’s nervous. I don't know if she is actually nervous, or she just talks fast. As she speaks, she makes a scratching sound up and down her thighs - lightly stroking the fabric of her trousers with her perfectly manicured nails.
I’ve never seen a psychic before. Spiritualism is not my thing, but this is fun.
She talks about the manly-job-man providing support, being the person who helps and protects me. “He’s a provider,” she says.
I don’t like the sound of it. I don’t need no man to support me. But I don’t say anything.
“He’s going to keep you warm. If you go into a dark space he will help you out,” she says.
This sounds better to me.
“I don’t see marriage. I see you are quite independent, you like to do your own thing. You’re free spirited. You complement and support each other.”
This continues for a while.
When she’s finished, I ponder the million dollar question.
“If you’re psychic, didn’t you see the sex scandal fallout coming?”
Bevan is 35, a Leo, was born in Hong Kong and moved to New Zealand as a teenager.
In 2012, she made the news after publicly calling for sperm donors so she could have a “dragon baby” - a child born in the Chinese year of the dragon.
But it was in October the following year that she became a household name, in Auckland at least, after details of a sordid affair with the married mayor were published on a right wing blog. “The woman at the centre of the biggest sex scandal in New Zealand public life,” Metro called her. “The other woman,” touted the NZ Herald. “Princess of chaos,” she still calls herself.
Not long after she hit headlines, Bevan came across a GrabOne deal offering psychic readings by North Shore clairvoyant Brigid Curran.
After having a reading done, she was inspired to learn the art of mediumship herself, and began training under Brigid.
“It’s not a full time thing for me,” says Bevan, who organises a farmer’s market in Mt Roskill.
“I do a bit of readings here and there. Maybe I do one a month. From time to time I do a fundraiser at the Milford Spiritual Church.”
She says she doesn’t really do it for the money. When she does readings she gets into a zone, she goes to a different place.
“It doesn’t feel like work,” she says, “it’s like removing myself from everyday life.”
In 2014, ex-Herald gossip columnist Rachel Glucina discovered Bevan’s new hobby. “Former mistress sees bright future as psychic” the headline read.
"I started going to a psychic because, well, things have been a bit shit for me over the last year, as you know. I guess I was looking for hope,” Bevan told the newspaper.
"Then I went to some psychic development classes about six months ago and I became more curious about the spiritual world, and I realised I had some sort of gift. Clairvoyancy became part of a healing process for me."
She said she sensed that Judith Collins would lose something important to her. “I didn't realise it was to be her job.”
“I didn’t know. I didn’t see it coming,” Bevan says of the post-affair fallout.
She has looked back, to see if there were any signs of what was to come, but there weren’t any.
“What happened has changed me quite a lot. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it … I’m a lot less outgoing, I used to be social, I have a much closer group of friends, I’m still trying to get my head around what happened,” she says.
Back in 2013, everyone she spoke to about the affair - the journalist, the political enemy, the blogger - she thought they were going to help her, she says.
“But it was before my training.”