“I think fitting in is dangerous” – Q&A with Courtney Act

 

Last.fm: HAS LOS ANGELES BEEN GOOD TO YOU?
Courtney Act: Although I have barely been home to LA for the last 18 months it is such a great place to live if you want to make a career in entertainment. Apart from all the film and TV being shot there it is kinda the hub for YouTubers. There are so many people to collaborate with and learn from. I look forward to being home in September for a hot second and collaborating more.

LFM: YOU’VE BEEN KILLING IT ON YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL. WHY HAS THAT BEEN SUCH AN EFFECTIVE OUTLET FOR YOU?
CA: YouTube is brilliant cause it removes the middle man. I can put up what I want, when I want. I also think people love the actual reality of it, they respond to the authenticity.

LFM: DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR LOVE INTEREST IN THE “UGLY” VIDEO. IS IT A CASE OF A HETERO GUY RECONSIDERING HIS SEXUALITY, OR IS IT MORE NUANCED THAN THAT?
CA: It was inspired by a real life experience I had, he actually just messaged me saying he was reading the comments and it’s “pretty funny how some people said what happened in the video isn’t realistic”. In the real life version we didn’t have cool cars and we weren’t driving down the Sierra Freeway though. So the video story is this guy is broken down on the side of the road, I stop and give him a ride. There is an element of danger for me because I am in drag and he is a random guy in my car. There is an instant connection, and a lot of eye-fucking, that transcends gender and sexuality (although at this point my straight love interest isn’t aware that I am not a biological woman). When I am in the car it doesn’t quite feel the right time to bring the subject up so I wait till I drop him off, but by this stage we are basically in love in that magical puppy dog love kinda way. He goes to kiss me but I feel like i should reveal my secret before it goes to far, I know that as natural at this interaction has been, he might feel mislead if i don’t tell him I am a male bodied person. So I do and just as I had feared once our body parts become part of the story he storms off. At this point I am kind of ripped out of the magic and back to the reality that although this guy and I connected on a beautiful level that gender and sexuality are such rigid constructs in our society that he wasn’t willing to go with his heart and what felt so right to him just a moment ago. I get in my car and start driving off, but love prevails and he realizes that he wants to keep the magic alive and runs after me. Then naturally we drive to the middle of nowhere and make out on top of the hood of my 1963 Impala. This is where the story gets a little unrealistic, obviously that would have totally banged out there under the stars… but they head back to his motel and do it there instead. Then as we are going to sleep I take a shower and come back as Shane. I remember in the real life version it was all about the eyes. We couldn’t stop staring into each others eyes and that was the thing that was deeper than the physical aesthetic. When I came out of the shower as Shane we connected eyes and he saw that it was still the same person. In the video we kiss and go to sleep, in real life we did it till the sun came up and fell asleep in each others arms before i had to fly to the next city I was performing in. We actually ended up seeing each other for about 6 months and it was a really great experience. He’s a really cool guy who although doesn’t find himself attracted to guys (apart from me I guess) or identifying as gay, he was able to put aside what society had told him and listen to something smarter and more intuitive.

LFM: WHAT INSPIRED YOUR SONG “MEAN GAYS” AND THE VIDEO?
CA: I was driving home from Vegas after a gig and was in a song writing mood so I just listed off a bunch of funny things about my group of friends in West Hollywood. Some people think I am going in, but my mean gay friends think it’s an anthem and they love it. It’s obviously tongue in cheek but it does bring up some more serious topics, I struggled with my own body image for a long time never feeling like i fit in cause i didn’t have a six pack and pecs. As I have become more comfortable with myself i have realized that being Courtney Act has forced me to define myself and know myself beyond that gay stereotype which has been a really powerful thing. I think fitting in is dangerous.

LFM: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TYPICAL COURTNEY ACT FAN? IS THERE A TYPE?
CA: I wouldn’t say there is just 1 type, but the most devoted and crazy are definitely girls in their teens and 20’s. They are so much fun and so passionate. We talk all the time on Twitter and they drive and fly all around the country to see me perform. I really love that girls are so into what i do I think we both learn something from each other.

LFM: DO YOU THINK RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE HAS CHANGED AMERICAN CULTURE? HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE ON THAT SHOW?
CA: I think Drag Race definitely influenced American culture in a big way and is part of a really big shift going on in the world right now. It’s so cool to see gender and sexuality being such a prominent topic in the world. Trans people like Caitlyn Jenner, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and so many others are really being heard and seen and having their stories told. I also love that stories of regular trans people are being told in the media too. People are coming to see that gender isn’t a binary thing. I hope to add to the conversation by showing something that is more in the middle. Sometimes I’m a boy and sometimes I’m a girl, I like being gender fluid and I like that i don’t have to be anything in particular when it comes to my gender or my sexuality. I just do what feels right to me.

Grab your copy of “Kaleidoscope” at iTunes

LFM: TELL US SOMETHING GREAT ABOUT JAKE SHEARS. (JUST KIDDING — PLEASE TELL US SOMETHING SCANDALOUS ABOUT JAKE SHEARS)
CA: Jake is doing a play in LA at the moment called Bent and he is doing it in drag! I haven’t been in LA for a while so I can’t wait to get back and see it soon. And I really don’t have anything brilliantly scandalous to tell about him, except that he is incredibly generous with his talent and his time. It was really inspiring to work with him.

LFM: WHAT’S BEEN THE SINGLE MOST EXCITING PART ABOUT RELEASING YOUR ALBUM “KALEIDOSCOPE”?
CA: Seeing it cross over into the mainstream is pretty amazing. Getting messages from people telling me they are watching my music video on MTV is kinda crazy.

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