Courtney Act talks RPDR Season 6, the San Francisco Symphony, and her new video, “Santa, Bring me a Man” in exclusive interview
Australian Born Courtney Act is a force to be reckoned with. A finalist on Australian Idol in 2003, Act had her first single (“Rub Me Wrong”) released long before she graced the stage of Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 6 in 2013. Now the performer has spanned the globe, fulfilled some of her wildest dreams, and is proud to present her newest video – “Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man.”
A colab with Alaska Thunderfuck and WillIAM, check out the drag-Diva’s in their new video below:
Richmond’s own Michelle ‘Cuz I’m Edgy’ Livigne sat down and spoke with Act about a week ago and got the inside details on the creation of the new video, the scoop behind season 6, and what’s next for the queen.
What was it like to have her single reach #29 on the Aria singles chart?
It was amazing! Aria in Australia is like Billboard Top 10, and to wake up one morning and watch the music video on MTV was kind like… it felt legitimate. I’d been doing drag for 3-4 years at that point and it was just a legitimate feeling, because what I had been doing was a struggle and it was very elevating.
Did you think after Australian Idol there’d be something next for you, like RuPauls Drag Race?
You mean 12 years later? I mean there was lots for me between idol and here, and so it was kind of cool in 2010 when I came to LA. I sort of realized I needed to live here because there was just so much opportunity in America, and I knew there was something for me here –I didn’t know what. I love watching Drag Race, I didn’t know it was Drag Race, but then I got that fateful call and, you know, the rest is history.
The cast for Drag Race was released in 2013 and from there I’m sure your life had to start changing like crazy. You finished in top 3, you won the challenges in episode four and episode 9, what were your favorite and worst challenges?
Oddly –or not oddly- the two that I won were definitely my favorites, I love performing live that’s in my blood so the musical theater challenge was amazing. And I also love to talk, I love interviewing people and learning more about people because we kind of feel often disconnected in today’s modern world, and the more you talk to people and hear their stories, you realize a similarity are greater than our differences.
Hearing stories is a way to connect and so I loved that talk show challenge. [The worst] I’m not the best sewer, I think about it now and I’m like I could’ve made that or I could’ve done that, but when I was there I was like Ahhh God! I just glued some shit to a bra and threw some crystals to it.
So you finished in top 3 with Bianca and Adore, what was it like having them as friends?
Oh my god I love them so much, Darienne Bianca, Adore and I we consider ourselves the top 4, we were the top 4 up until a few days before the episode aired because it was still unknown to us who the top 3 was.
Obviously everyone else goes home one by one, but they kept us all there for that episode so we didn’t actually know who the top 3 was. So the 4 of us are very close knit and we have a perpetual Imessage thread open and get to see each other as often as we can. I was with Bianca for a month in Texas for the Rocky Horror [Picture] Show.
What was it like post drag race filming with Bianca and Adore and being able to add them to your video for “Mean Gays”?
They’re just so much fun to be around. We shot the whole video in studio and then we shot on green screen studio and then we were all so busy that we actually shot Bianca on a green screen in our dressing room at the University of Southern California and she filmed part of it there.
And Adore, I wasn’t actually in town for, she filmed her part separately… the magic of television.
In July you were the first drag performer ever to sing live with the San Fransisco Orchestra, what did that mean to you? You also got to share that with Shyanne Jackson?
“Yeah, it was so cool. It was also one of those things where it wasn’t even on my radar, I looked at my calendar and was like San Francisco Symphony? That must be the name of some gay bar and then I spoke to my manager and she was like no, the San Francisco orchestra like the world renowned orchestra. And that was was just epic, to sing on stage with a 90-piece orchestra behind you not to mention the very handsome Shyanne Jackson right beside you, I’ve got a Courtney chronicles about my San Fransciso Symphony experience and it’s just magical, it was so cool.”
I just watched one of the Courtney Chronicles, and you just finished the global marketing campaign for the gay and Sydney Mardi Gras? You did it on the top of the Sydney opera house and a photo shoot on the Sydney harbor bridge.
Yeah you know just hanging out on top of the Sydney Opera House, no big deal. It’s like constantly amazing, the love. So many opportunities and magical things have come my way, they hardly let anyone on top of the opera house for anything and they allowed me to for the campaign. I was literally like climbing on my hands and knees through a dirty little tunnel, and just before the top I got changed. I mean I’m a drag queen and used to changing [in small places]. So thankfully it is a talent that I have become good at. You’re on top of a national monument high above the city, and they have a lot of rules, like even questioning my nails and jewelry, if something was to come off and pick up terminal velocity it could kill a tourist.
So I had to make sure everything was in place and nothing would fall off and had like one shot to get up there and make sure it was magic. It’s not that it’s like hundreds of stories high, it’s just such an epic building that is listed as a national monument.
The three of y’all are working together and getting ready to shoot a video on November 23rd for ‘Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man!’
Yeah, so the Weather Girls, the hit makers of the old classics, they have a Christmas song called ‘Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man!” that I’ve always been kind of obsessed with, its like a really big fucking gay Christmas song. We’re shooting on Sunday and we’ve got sexy santas, dick in a box, go-go dancers and snow. We plan to release the track in December and the video will be out a few days later.
What are your holiday plans?
I am off to NYC the 2nd of December and I’ve got my show called the day before Christmas at the roy bishum (no idea the spelling) the 5, 6 & 7th and then I’m off to saracuse, Chicago, LA and I’m going to London for actual Christmas and filming some new episodes of my new youtube series which is coming out soon. So I’ll be having my first-ever potentially white Christmas, because in Australia Christmas is in the summer. It’s like 100 degrees and there are Christmas trees on the beach, and we have a BBQ. So this will be my first cold Christmas.
So after all of your success, what has been your favorite part of these last 10-12 years, what’s your favorite place that you’ve had a chance to travel to?
“My favorite place is the burning man festival, it’s a music and art festival that happens for a week in August, 60 thousand people set up camp in the middle of the Nevada desert and it’s just a celebration of art and music and it’s just amazing, it’s such a cool place… it’s my favorite place on Earth.”
Is there one thing on your bucket list you want to mark off?
One of the most recent things that did get marked off was, I literally have written on a piece of paper somewhere see Jenny Holiday sing ‘and I’m telling you I’m not going’ and I performed at the Rainbow Room in NYC at betty rock a couple weeks ago and she was the special guest and I got to see Jennifer Holiday sing “and I’m telling you I’m not gong,” which is just like… I had chills. The funny things about interviews like this is when you have such a short amount of time to talk about all these experiences and you have to be like, holy fuck, I might just pinch myself right now. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity.
Michelle Livigne is the newest brand "CuzimEdgy." One of Richmond finest entertainers in the drag community, and now leaping her way to GAYRVA! Celebrating 5 years of drag entertainment, Michelle has graced stages From NY to Fl captivating audiences with her energetic dancing, precise choreography, and EDGY wit. Locally Michelle can be seen performing at Nu Nightclub and Babes of Carytown and on occasion Fallout. Dont let her cute face fool ya - she will color outside the lines and bite back!
… Here in Richmond we got a surprisingly small amount of lip-syncing, as most of the performers sang either their own songs or covered well-known gay friendly tracks.May 24, 2016
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