Artist, advocate, and performer, Courtney Act, a/k/a Shane Jenek burst onto screens in 2003 when she made it to the semi-finals of the premiere season of Australian Idol. Her star continued to rise, and she arrived in the US as a superstar, placing in the top three on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Since then, she has continued her global rise appearing on the UK versions of Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing With The Stars, where she made history with her dance partner Joshua Keefe as the first same-sex couple to compete on the show. She also hosted the UK’s first bisexual dating show, E!’s The Bi Life. In 2014 she joined Willam and Alaska for an EP and tour as The AAA Girls and released her debut EP Kaleidoscope. The title track was used as the official theme song of the 2016 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Courtney, who currently co-hosts the podcast, Brenda, Call Me! with her BFF, Vanity, took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us from her home in Australia and answer the Socialite Seven. Get the down-low on this queen from Down Under!
Who has been the biggest influence on you in your career so far?
The biggest influence on me in my career have been the people who have helped me to feel comfortable about myself and understand myself more. People like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Jenny Boylan, Chaz Bono, Kate Bornstein.
I read all of their autobiographies as I was going through my own gender journey and they really just helped me to understand that having a gender that didn’t fit into the binary wasn’t something that I should be afraid of.
What type of music or artist that you listen to frequently do you think your fans would be surprised to learn that you’re a fan of?
I think I talk about most of my tastes. I’m obsessed with Donna Summer, her Live and More album, Patti LaBelle, a bit of Shawn Mendes. Oh, and Ben Platt! I’ve talked about him a bit, and I love his Sing to Me Instead album. It’s just beautiful. I wake up to it each morning.
What talent would you like to wake up with tomorrow?
Umm…I mean, I wouldn’t mind an extra couple of inches…in height! Being taller…that’s not really a talent…I’d like to be able to sing like Whitney Houston, but that would probably be weird coming or of my body…next!
What are three things you can’t live without?
Well, apart from water, air and food…I can’t live without Oyster Girl lip gloss from MAC. I can’t live without skin care. I love skin care products. I’ve got a “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” bag full of supplements that I am convinced keeps me looking youthful for my 39 years.
What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?
Could you get a pedicure before the next time we have sex?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You have to think of drag as a strength, not a weakness.
What are you most grateful for?
My Mum and my Dad