Hailing from the land down under, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumni Courtney Act is known worldwide for her show-stopping drag performances.
Courtney Act, a name play on “Caught in the act” when said in a non-rhotic accent like the Australian accent, is a renowned drag queen who first appeared on “Australian Idol” (The Aussie version of “American Idol”), and then went on to more reality TV like “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, “Dancing with the Stars” and more. We chat with her on her successful performances, what to expect in her return to Hong Kong and the way forward for the Hong Kong’s LGBTQI+ community.
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Have you spent much time in Hong Kong before this trip?
I’ve made multiple trips to Hong Kong, especially around when SEVVA first opened. I performed there for New Year’s Eve, it was a beautiful night with the view of the fireworks, and I’ve been back after that to meet friends. I love Hong Kong, it’s a vibrant and exciting city.
Ultimately I was pioneering a path for myself.
Growing up did you have any strong figures you looked up to?
Growing up, I did enjoy pop stars like Madonna and the Spice Girls but I wouldn’t say they inspired my drag journey. When I moved to Sydney back in 2000, there were many drag artists and performers I was inspired by but I think ultimately I was pioneering a path for myself.
Can you walk us through how you transition into drag?
After I get showered and shave, I sit down for my makeup and the first thing I do is pop open a glue stick to transform my manly brows into a more feminine arch. And then I do the rest of my face, put on my dress, my wig, my jewellery and it all comes together in the very last minute when I pop on my lip gloss. It’s all a creative process that I very much enjoy.
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You’ve just taken centre stage to host the Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert. How was that experience for you?
Sydney has been amazing during WorldPride – there were so many people, so many parties, packed concerts, humans rights conferences to talk about the human rights of the LGBTQI+ community in the Asia Pacific region. I hosted the opening concert which was so exciting, and my big broadway opening number was so well-received.
What brings you to Hong Kong this time round? And where we catch your performance?
I’m very excited to be back and it’s so great to see that the city is turning back on! I can’t wait for some gorgeous cocktails, delicious food and that Hong Kong skyline view from SEVVA, which is where you can catch me performing.
What can audiences expect from your Hong Kong shows?
Lots of songs! Since I was back in Hong Kong, I was in “Dancing with the Stars” in Australia and I know Latin and Ballroom dancing is very popular here, so you may just see some cha-cha or salsa, which will be very fun.
You never know who’ll pop up at my performance in SEVVA!
You’ve done your fair share of reality TV, which has been your favourite?
Definitely “Dancing with the Stars”, it was so much fun! My dance partner, Josh, actually lives in Hong Kong and he’s a Ballroom champion (just saying, you never know who’ll pop up at my performance in SEVVA!).
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How have you found the visibility and acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community in Hong Kong?
I’ve always had a wonderful time in Hong Kong and the gay bars here are great, so from that perspective, it has always felt accepting. But there sure is still a way to go with the mainstream visibility and the way of understanding. However, with the Gay Games coming to Hong Kong this year, that’s definitely a way forward. And every drag performance, big or small, helps to slowly change any negative attitudes.
What advice would you give to young people who are discovering and exploring their sexuality?
The internet – when used cautiously – can be a great place to fill the void of solidarity when you feel alone and a lack of support. Know that who you are is valid and you will find a community that gets you.
What do you think is the most common misconception about the drag community?
To me, it’s about expressing both masculinity and femininity through my performances, and making people forget about their struggles for a little while and just simply enjoy the performance.
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Follow Courtney Act on Instagram @courtneyact to know more about her and catch her act at SEVVA, more details here.
Main image courtesy of Courtney Act, image 1 courtesy of SEVVA, image 2, 3 and 4 courtesy of Courtney Act.