Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Becoming Courtney Act: How drag made Shane Jenek queen of his own identity


If you’ve never been a fan/admirer of Shane Jenek aka drag queen Courtney Act, then  this intimate portrait from Australian TV will change all that

Australian Story is an award-winning documentary series , each just 30 minutes long, with no narrator and no agendas — just authentic stories told entirely in people’s own words.  It’s the perfect set up to tell the story of the disarmingly charming Jenek whose extremely successful career has always been so firmly rooted in his home country.

He auditioned as Shane for Australian Idol in 2003 and got rejected , so he went back the very next day as Courtney and got accepted. Even though Courtney came 13th in the competition she still somehow parlayed that into the start of a career.

In King Cross, Sydney’s gay district the very feminine fashionable Courtney was nothing like the old-school  dressed-to-the-nines drag queens, which was just her being true to herself.

When she eventually left home to go to LA to seek fame and fortune, Courtney got cast for Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race which was a big eye-opener for her. Watching the Show’s broadcast afterwards she discovered that it had been edited in such a biased way to make Courtney look like the biggest bitch, something that we are now  discovering in this documentary is so unlike her.  But it was all about making good TV for the Show regardless of any other consequences for Courtney of the other contestants.

Courtney/Shane however doesn’t dwell  at all on that and  focuses on that she formed an important friendship with Judge Chad Bono the trans son of Cher and Sonny.  Through Chad Courtney/Shane finally learns about gender fluidity and suddenly they had answers to all their questions about their own identity which had troubled them for years.

In the UK as both Shane and Courtney  they unexpectedly won Celebrity Big Brother after amongst other things having a very rational conversation with an infamous right-wing homophobic ex MP , something that we would have never even considered every undertaking.  The  show really helped cement  their stardom

Riding on the success of Big Brother, Shane/Courtney went  back home to Australia to appear in Neighbours the country’s biggest Soap Opera.  That is followed by being invited to break yet another tradition as appearing as Courtney on Strictly Come Dancing. There is a clip of that at the end of the documentary that will you have you reaching for a kleenex.

Jenek is very candid, optimistic and passionate about their  life, and and also quick to credit their very supportive family and friends .  They appear at times still a little shocked by far they have come, but after seeing them take this journey, we are convinced they so deserve all this success, especially as it hasn’t changed them beyond making even happier

Posted by queerguru  at  17:31

Genres:  documentary, genderqueer, international

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