On Wednesday night when I was draping a red silk chiffon skirt into an Arabian themed, Grace Jones inspired look, I had no idea that just a few hours later I would end up with her and Philip Treacy in her room at Chateaux Marmont. I was on the phone complaining to my friend Simon that I had nothing to wear to the inaugural Room Service LA at The Standard. He suggested dressing in festive colours, so I pulled all sorts of red things from my wardrobe and went to work. The look was quite fabulous. Very un-Courtney, no wig, but I liked it. I toddled off to Room Service to see the darling Jodie Harsh who has just flown in from London.
As I was coming out of the bathrooms a gentleman stopped me to compliment my look, “Darling you look fabulous”. “Thank you”, I replied. “I’m Philip. The hat maker? From London?”. Gobsmacked by what was possibly the most understated introduction for one of the most prolific designers and milliners in the world, I was indeed talking to Philip Treacy. The night continued with Philip conducting countless iPhone photo shoots, at one point taking over the dance floor so that he could photograph me strewn across a grand piano. When the 2am LA curfew kicked in my friend, and House of Gaga elite, Perry Meek and I walked Philip and his partner Stefan across the road to the Chateaux where they were staying.
“Should I see if Grace is up?” said Philip. The woman is probably fast asleep, I thought. “Darling hello?” the unmistakable voice of Grace Jones was on the speaker phone, “I’m downstairs by the Christmas tree, come join me”. We joined Grace for a drink but alas it was past 2am in Los Angeles and the bar was closed. I was already contented with hearing her voice on speaker phone, let alone sitting next to her, having her examine my outfit, seeing how my headband was attached and admiring my eyelashes. “Come up to my room, we can have a drink up there” she said.
Up in Grace’s room we all sat and chatted for a couple of hours discussing everything from RuPaul’s Drag Race to the year she performed at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and some queen mopped her black, full length, patent leather coat during a quick change. She told them to stop the party and lock the doors, she refused to continue the show untill it was returned. It never was.
Grace was in town to perform at the amfAR Inspiration Gala, honouring Goldie Hawn the next evening. They invited Perry and I to come along and enjoy the performance. The first time I saw Grace Jones perform was at The Sydney Festival in 2009. It was an outdoor concert and one of the most brilliant live performances I have ever witnessed. I was so inspired as an entertainer. Her presence, costumes, showman ship and unique style created such a powerful dynamic and captivated the sea of thousands. What a woman. At one point the weather took a turn for the worse and Grace was suddenly being blown by a gale force wind. I felt patriotic shame for weather that could interfere with this legendary performance. The tension was so high, there was a hurricane that some how perfectly captured the endless meters of fabric on her costume and lifted them into the air causing the most beautiful scene. Then I realised the air where i was sitting was dead still. Could the storm be that isolated? As I diverted my eyes from the main attraction I realised there was a jet engine sized fan on the side of stage that was intentionally causing the fabric to bellow so beautifully. Brilliance.
So, I am sitting at a table at the amfAR Gala with Perry, Jodie Harsh and Stefan in a star studded room. Chelsea Handler is hosting, Sharon Stone is on stage performing the auction, Goldie Hawn’s speech when she receives her award is inspiring. That is another woman that has influenced my path greatly. She radiates sunshine. Then Grace Jones comes on stage. She is wearing her quintessential black velvet corset. Her body is flawless for any age, and she is 65. Long legs, glistening dark skin, red lips. We can’t see her eyes yet as she is wearing a Philip Treacy hat that blocks our view. She performs Pull Up To The Bumper, the 1981 hit that may very well be about anal sex with a black man (Pull up to my bumper baby / In your long black limousine / Pull up to my bumper baby / Drive it in between). Between every song she ducks behind a large black staircase, that is her set, to change costumes. Next she comes out for La Vie En Rose in the Jones/Treacy Swarovski bowler hat. For the finale she emerges with the hoola hoop to gyrate her way through Slave To The Rhythm. The front of the room rushed, Jake Shears, Kelly Osbourne, Cheyenne Jackson, Sam Sparrow, Jodie Harsh and I all watched in awe as Grace mesmerised the crowd. Captivating. Stunning. Powerful.
After the show a small group headed up to the dressing room to say hello. Already running late for my regular Thursday night at The Abbey, I was torn between commitment and legend. I chose legend. Grace sat in the mirror touching up her makeup. I pulled out a small gift bag, “You said you liked my lashes last night so I brought you a pair”. “Darling, only if you can put them on me?”, Grace replied. We posed for some photos but I had to rush off to work. The lashes will have to wait until next time.
Two years ago, I followed my very own yellow brick road. Unlike Dorothy’s, mine took me OUT of Oz (Australia that is) and brought me to the city of angels. Today it is announced that I am a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6! I am so bloody excited for FebRUary when the show will premiere! I come from a celebrated culture of blokes dressed up as sheilas (that’s Australian for men dressed up as women); the home of Les Girls, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Dame Edna Everage and I can’t wait to show America and the world what I have been working my whole life to create. I am the first non-US citizen to be cast on the show and I am so excited to set this precedent. For me, drag is about freedom of expression and there is no better place to showcase drag than on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
I was just 10 years old when the older boys at my performing arts school – The Fame Talent Agency in Brisbane, Australia, played me “Supermodel” and told me all about this magical drag queen, RuPaul. At that age I didn’t quite know what it all meant, but I knew I loved it. It is a full circle moment to now be under the tutelage and guidance of Ru, and to be here in America living my dream.
Check out the exclusive “super trailer”
Well I am just about as excited as I could be. Coming home to Sydney at my favourite time of year, Mardi Gras, to do my favourite thing, performing live with a band, and doing it in one of Sydney’s most prestigious venues, The Sydney Theatre down at Walsh Bay. Tuesday the 25th of February is going to be such a magical night on that grand stage. Lance Horne will be flying in from New York to musical direct my fabulous band. I have new costumes being made, writing some new songs, and telling some Mardi Gras specific stories. Click here to book tickets!
Performing Boys Like Me is such a thrill as I really feel it is my best work yet. I have always found the spectrum of gender and sexuality a fascinating thing, and have had quite a lot of experience observing it. Presenting as two different genders attracts a myriad of suitors and it is very apparent to me that gender and sexuality are not binary, but rather are kaleidoscopes of options, fractals and variations. So I decided to put my experience of walking life on the gender divide into a show, but don’t worry, the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
The show is for one night only as the first in a three part series of shows at The Sydney Theatre during the last week of Mardi Gras. Bob Downe and Trevor Ashley are also doing shows that week. Ticket are already selling fast, which is exciting, so make sure you book for what I know is going to be a gala night of glamour and fun.
The Blonde Bitches tour kicked off in Austin, Texas. Somewhere I have heard great things about, but never been. Pandora, Bambi, Nova, Cory, Colby, Brandon and I got up to all sorts of shenanigans during out time there and all will be revealed in the coming episodes of Blonde Bitches. When touring it can get a bit boring doing shows by yourself, so it was really fun travelling with such a fun bunch of blondes (natural or bottle). And it was a real delight getting to meet Bambi (@bambibombon)! She is the life of any party. She hails from San Francisco, so I look forward to heading north and causing some havoc with her on her home turf soon!
Getting ready for Marco Marco’s fashion show in LA Fashion week was quite the scene. 16 drag queens, their hair, their egos, 10 buff boys and Marco in a palatial hotel suite. These models often play top10slotgames during vacant hours. We were all asked to arrive in full face at 2pm. People started rolling in sometime after 3 with out a stitch of makeup, except Adore Delano, she diligently arrived on time in full slap. Painting face in a room of 16 drag queens and transwomen was an hysterical and distracting glitter-monium. Rhea, Shokra, Alyssa and I in one bathroom, Raja laid out at the dressing vanity, Shangela in the closet (literally, not figuratively), Mathu, Mayhem, Manilla, Yara made magic in the master boudoir, Detox and Sassy sprawled in the second bathroom, Willam and Carmen ginned around the lounge. The getting ready process was so much fun, music playing, catch phrases being thrown around and so much laughter it was hard to do liquid liner. Check out this behind the scenes:
Mathu & I strutted the hotel halls working on our runway stomps
Whilst backstage Alyssa Edwards christened me with a new middle name. Not sure she realised that Courtney Act is a play on words of Caught In The Act, but I’ll take “The” as my middle name graciously from my hysterical Texan sister.
Wigs By Vanity supplied all of the wigs for the show which were styled by Hector at Plaid LA, and I was gagging to see America’s drag elite in fabulous lace fronts. In Australia, New Zealand and in other parts of the world a Wigs By Vanity “Uber Riah” is as standard issue as wearing false lashes. In the US the girls have not really caught on to the magic and wonder of lace-fronts, it is my goal to change that one scalp at a time. Many of the drag elite the US wear them; Raja, Mathu Anderson & Willam own a sleu, Jackie Beat, Amanda Lepore, Sharon Needles, Alyssa Edwards, Detox, Vicky Vox , Rhea and Manila all own some Wigs By Vanity goodness too!
Magnus Hastings snapped some amazing still of the night including this epic panorama of all the models and their maker, Marco Marco and this pretty solo of me!
It is Halloween in America, but I am in Australia where it was Halloween last night. Well it was October 31st last night, but we don’t really celebrate Halloween here like they do in the US. But fear not, I still had a Halloween costume for Halloweenie, a party that took place in LA on the Friday before Halloween at the Los Angeles Theatre, down town. I put my friend Simon in drag, he became known as “Big Courtney” for the night, he even got some phone numbers. I remember being 18 and confused about whether I wanted to be a woman or male underwear model, Simon could be an artists depiction of what I would look like if i chose the male underwear model route.
And here is last years Halloween costume to end all Halloween costumes, with Simon again, but this time with out the wig. We started the night at Halloweenie and then headed to Grey Stone Manor for David Furnish’s Birthday party, which was not actually a costume party, so we really stood out amongst the crowd. For the record we are both naked. I used some tape, glue, liquid latex, 1 fake book and 1 shoulder pad and 6 zippers to achieve the look.
“She wants you to come to Mickey’s tonight dressed as her from the Applause single cover as she is going to be shooting a lyrics video” were the words I heard on my cell phone. The voice was my friend Perry Meek (@aussiegear) from The Haus of Gaga. My mother always said “She is the cat’s mother”, I don’t know what that means, but in this situation “She” was Lady Gaga. How f#@king cool! I was already in drag, but as the Little Monsters know the Applause single cover requires something a little different than a standard Courtney face. The makeup on the single cover is inspired by Pagliacci. So I rush home and beat my face in the style of the Italian Clown!
I arrive at Mickey’s at the same time as Gaga and we all head in together. We sit in some seats at the side of the stage and watch the performances that unfold. Then Shangela and I take the stage and perform Applause. The track was only released a few hours earlier, so I felt it more appropriate to interpret the lyrics with my body, rather than my mouth, and lip-synching was never my forte. Gaga filmed the whole this, as well as the whole night of events at Mickey’s and edited it all into a lyrics video that was release the next day.
You can listen to Gaga’s recount of events on Carson Daily the next morning, including a little should out to “my friend Courtney” at 1:46. You can imagine me Fan Girling when I heard this!
I am a very big Little Monster and I have had the pleasure of working with and meeting Gaga a few times, the first was when I sang her Happy Birthday a couple of years ago at her private birthday party at the Botanical Gardens in Canberra, Australia. It was a night time dinner for her and her closest, out doors, under the stars. I sang Sweet Transvestite and Happy Birthday and even gave Gaga a lap dance. Then we all strolled down a dark path through the bush lands to a big out-door movie screen where we watch some birthday messages, followed by the movie, Avatar!
The next time I saw Gaga was when she performed at my spiritual home, Disgraceland, in Sydney. It was a monday night and the week that I was moving to America. She came and performed a whole set of numbers with her dancers in what was one of the most amazing live performances I have ever whitnessed. The venue only holds 340 people so it was a very intimate performance. I was so inspired watching the raw energy and passion that Gaga exuded. Her and her dancers worked like one giant organism to create a once in a life time experience for everyone in that room. When ever I go on stage to do a performance I have a list of things that I think about to inspire me and put me into the zone, Gaga’s performance that night is one of the things I think about. The next night we went to see her perform a fabulous show at the Sydney Town Hall, a TV special called “Monster Hall”. The next day I moved to the USA, what an amazing and memorable last 48 hours in Sydney that was!