Wanneroo Weekender - - Lifestyle - Sara Fitzpatrick

LA-BASED en­ter­tainer Shane Jenek, aka Courtney Act, loves com­ing home to Syd­ney.

Any­one fa­mil­iar with his favourite Yel­low Pages com­mer­cial from the early 2000s un­der­stands.

“In LA I say ‘not happy, Jan’ and peo­ple don’t have a clue what I’m talk­ing about,” Jenek said.

The Bris­bane-born per­former, who shot to fame as drag queen Courtney Act in the first se­ries of Aus­tralian Idol in 2003, moved to LA six years ago to work on a gay cruise.

Af­ter fall­ing in love with the sprawl­ing Cal­i­for­nian city, he stayed on and has since en­joyed an eclec­tic string of work.

He has shim­mied in cabaret, launched a wig line and struck star­dom in Ru­Paul’s Drag Race com­pe­ti­tion in 2014.

He was also one of the first drag queens to be­come an ad girl for a fash­ion la­bel, Amer­i­can Ap­parel, in 2014 and now stars in a US po­lit­i­cal video se­ries.

Adding to his hec­tic sched­ule, Jenek re­turns Down Un­der for Fringe World Fes­ti­val with Courtney Act cabaret show, The Girl from OZ!

“It has taken me five years to un­der­stand how I am dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­one in Amer­ica and then to work that dif­fer­ence to my ad­van­tage,” Jenek said.

“It’s very chal­leng­ing for Amer­i­cans to un­der­stand me some­times – my ac­cent and cul­tural phrases – be­cause their knowl­edge of Aus­tralian cul­ture be­gins with Crocodile Dundee

and ends with Steve Ir­win, so I wanted to do my bit to try be the cul­tural at­tache and ed­u­cate the Amer­i­cans on all the won­ders of Aus­tralia.”

Jenek first dressed up as Courtney Act at a 2001 New Year’s Eve party in Mel­bourne.

“I found a new way to ex­press my­self that I re­ally en­joyed,” Jenek said.

“It was never a con­scious de­ci­sion to cre­ate a char­ac­ter but more a way for me to ex­press my­self that hap­pened to have a dif­fer­ent name.

“Courtney and Shane feel like two dif­fer­ent ends of the same stick.”

Courtney Act will per­form at Fringe World Fes­ti­val.

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