COURT­NEY ACT’S BI LIFE

Court­ney Act sashayed away from Drag Race and won Celebrity Big Brother, UK; now the Aussie show­girl is host­ing a pan­sex­ual dat­ing se­ries, The Bi Life. Nat­u­rally!

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT #227 - By Marc An­drews

She sashayed away from Drag Race and won Celebrity Big Brother. Now the Aussie show­girl is host­ing a pan­sex­ual dat­ing se­ries, The Bi Life!

IF ANY­ONE’S go­ing to host a dat­ing show for bi, pan­sex­ual and gen­der­fluid folks it’s Court­ney Act. Air­ing on E! glob­ally, the 10-part se­ries fol­lows a group of bi­sex­ual+ or “ques­tion­ing” Bri­tish sin­gles on their queer-ish quest to find love. The guys’n’gals live to­gether, party to­gether and nav­i­gate the tra­vails of what E! calls “bi­sex­ual+” dat­ing in steamy Span­ish hotspot, Barcelona.

“It’s time there was a dat­ing show for the large num­ber of peo­ple who, like me, are at­tracted to more than one gen­der,” said Court­ney at the show’s launch. “In 2018 we know that sex­u­al­ity is fluid and shar­ing the sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences, the laugh­ter and the love mak­ing of young bi peo­ple is so im­por­tant. These are the true sto­ries of bi­sex­ual sin­gles, who are the largest part of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity, but the least known.”

While The Bi Life ar­rives with some du­bi­ous cre­den­tials (the pro­duc­ers are also be­hind faux re­al­ity shows Made In Chelsea and The Real House­wives Of Cheshire) the fact that Court­ney is in­volved lends some cred­i­bil­ity. Now based in Lon­don, Court­ney has be­come a main­stream me­dia pres­ence in Bri­tain and will fol­low The Bi Life with her own va­ri­ety spe­cial, The Court­ney Act Show, for Christ­mas. DNA: When were you first ap­proached to be in­volved in The Bi Life?

Court­ney: I came out of Celebrity Big Brother on a Fri­day and by the Mon­day my man­ager had set up meet­ings with the peo­ple who were pro­duc­ing The Bi Life. We just fin­ished a screen­ing of the first episode with com­mu­nity peo­ple here in Lon­don, which went very well. It’s been a fast turn­around for a TV show.

Yes, it has. The con­ver­sa­tions about The Bi Life came up after we started chat­ting about The Court­ney Act Show first. Then they said, “We have this show called The Bi Life and we think you’d be per­fect for it!” They told me about it and I was a lit­tle bit scared.

Why?

I was scared of rep­re­sent­ing a sen­si­tive topic on a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion pro­gram. The E! net­work is the home of the Kar­dashi­ans.

It also used to be the home of Joan Rivers and Fash­ion Po­lice! Ex­actly. Don’t you wish she was still alive? Maybe this is your chance to em­body Joan and carry her spirit fur­ther.

I don’t think that I ap­proach things from the same an­gle as Joan. For­tu­nately, we have Bianca Del Rio to do that!

Speak­ing of Drag Race, didn’t you win the talk show chal­lenge on your se­ries?

I did!

The Bi Life is a good match for your tal­ents then, right?

There’s an el­e­ment of art im­i­tat­ing life here. I’m the host, but I don’t go, “Hello and wel­come to The Bi Life. In tonight’s episode…” I’m like a friend. I come into the villa, have a chat with every­body, see how they’re feel­ing and send them out on dates. I’m sin­gle Court­ney who sets ev­ery­one else up on dates but doesn’t get to go on a date her­self. I go back to my Barcelona ho­tel room alone!

So you didn’t live in the villa with the cast? No. I just came, had fun and left. Every­body go­ing on dates and hav­ing a great time and I’m spin­ster Court­ney! I’m the fairy drag mother. That doesn’t seem fair. You should be get­ting some of the ac­tion.

I think so, too, quite frankly! That’s an­other se­ries – Court­ney Wants A Pan­sex­ual Part­ner! I’ve al­ways felt bi­sex­ual men are my tar­get de­mo­graphic be­cause they un­der­stand fem­i­nin­ity and they un­der­stand mas­culin­ity. You re­cently de­clared you are widen­ing your eth­nic choices in the dat­ing pool.

I made some state­ments about grow­ing up in Aus­tralia and hav­ing been so­cialised in a coun­try where sex­ual racism, and racism in gen­eral, is very much a part of our un­con­scious bias. When I moved to the US, I was much

A real is­sue for a lot of bi­sex­ual men is that women strug­gle with the idea of hav­ing a boyfriend who’s also at­tracted to men.

more aware of the con­ver­sa­tions around race. It felt like Aus­tralia wasn’t aware that it had a prob­lem. I don’t think I ever had any ex­am­ples of peo­ple of colour be­ing sex­u­ally de­sir­able, which is why I had a pref­er­ence for white guys be­fore I moved to LA.

Then you re­alise this was an is­sue for you?

I re­mem­ber be­ing on Grindr, swip­ing right when it came to peo­ple of colour, then re­al­is­ing what I had just done. So I made a con­scious ef­fort to stop, look, and take it in. In LA there are a lot more op­por­tu­ni­ties to have con­tact with peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties. It was in­ter­est­ing for me to ob­serve that the coun­try I grew up in had taught me to be un­con­sciously sex­u­ally racist. What did this awak­en­ing teach you about your­self?

It was lib­er­at­ing. As you get older you get the chance to un­learn a lot of the things you learned as a child that may not have been nec­es­sar­ily true.

When can we ex­pect you to host The Gay Life? Um… I’m al­ways host­ing the gay life! [Laughs] There are so many la­bels, but I iden­tify with pan­sex­ual. I’m at­tracted pre­dom­i­nantly to men, but I have at­tractions to other gen­ders as well. I’d love to see a gay and queer dat­ing show. We’re very happy you’re do­ing this show be­cause you do good work.

After screen­ing the first episode of The Bi Life ev­ery­one thought it was done in a taste­ful and fun way. That’s what the queer com­mu­nity needs more of – be it The Bi Life, The Gay Life or The Trans Life.

What can view­ers ex­pect from The Bi Life? Real peo­ple hav­ing real dat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that hap­pen to be with dif­fer­ent gen­ders. Com­ing into it, I knew it was a re­al­ity dat­ing show on E! and nei­ther of those things in­stantly made me think of a re­spon­si­ble, heart-felt show about an im­por­tant topic. I was very clear that it [had to be] han­dled cor­rectly and E! were very much on board with that.

De­scribe meet­ing the cast.

On the first day we had a big lunch and it all made sense in my head be­cause there was no po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists talk­ing about im­por­tant points, it was a group of real peo­ple hav­ing real life ex­pe­ri­ences. We talked about our at­tractions to dif­fer­ent gen­ders and I don’t think any of us had sat in a group of like­minded peo­ple with­out hav­ing to ex­plain some­thing or make ex­cuses be­fore.

What’s sur­prised you the most about the show?

Be­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment where the cast were al­lowed to ex­press them­selves how­ever they liked. I thought they’d get here and have them­selves fig­ured out but it’s been a place of real growth. The sup­port they show for each other is re­ally nice.

E! says the cast will “help each other nav­i­gate the rocky road of bi­sex­ual+ dat­ing”. What’s the rock­i­est part of that road?

It’s dif­fer­ent for guys and girls. Ryan said he was more ro­man­ti­cally at­tracted to men and more sex­u­ally at­tracted to women. He said he finds it chal­leng­ing to con­nect with women be­cause when he tells them he’s bi­sex­ual that’s of­ten the end of it. A real is­sue for a lot of bi­sex­ual men is that women strug­gle with the idea of hav­ing a boyfriend who’s also at­tracted to men. For a lot of women, the idea of a man be­ing at­tracted to an­other man is a threat­en­ing or dan­ger­ous or off-putting idea. Women strug­gle when find­ing women to date in bi­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships. The girls have all said it is re­ally chal­leng­ing to work out whether a girl is gay or straight or bi­sex­ual, whether there was in­ter­est or they were just be­ing friendly.

There are no dat­ing ex­perts on The Bi Life. How have you sup­ported the cast?

I’m a devil’s ad­vo­cate or voice of rea­son, ask­ing ques­tions. When I came out in the year 2000, I had to go to gay bars to be my­self; that’s where I felt safe. I needed that mono­cul­ture to work out who I was. In 2018 a lot of young peo­ple are iden­ti­fy­ing as pan­sex­ual but there’s [of­ten] no un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple who like dif­fer­ent gen­ders. What’s re­ally lovely on The Bi Life is watch­ing these peo­ple not re­act­ing to that strug­gle, just be­ing able to be there and live their lives.

What kind of things have gone on in the villa? We had lots of par­ties – a mas­quer­ade ball, a pool party, a speed dat­ing night where bunches of peo­ple from the UK and lo­cals from Barcelona came in. There’s been lots of sparks and some tears. When some­one goes on a date, the rest of the cast some­times have the op­por­tu­nity to watch them. It’s like watch­ing sport. Peo­ple have teams, but you want it to end well. I re­mem­ber watch­ing one with Mariella: the more calm and col­lected she was, the more this guy lost his shit. He turned bright red and there were chop­sticks in­volved as well, which made it even more awk­ward. Why do you think the show will cap­ture the pub­lic’s imag­i­na­tion?

Peo­ple are ob­sessed with dat­ing shows – look at the suc­cess of First Dates and Love Is­land. The cool thing about The Bi Life is there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one. There’s op­po­site-sex peo­ple go­ing on dates with same-sex peo­ple, there’s trans ex­pe­ri­ences… In the so­ci­ety we live in [bi­sex­u­al­ity] is mis­un­der­stood and a bit taboo and there­fore peo­ple might want to watch.

Will The Bi Life nor­malise bi­sex­ual dat­ing in a way that so­ci­ety needs?

I think so. Bi­sex­ual peo­ple suf­fer most from lack of vis­i­bil­ity. The Bi Life might not be the most ac­tivist-y or ad­vo­cate-y thing, but there’s a group of peo­ple hav­ing gen­uine ex­pe­ri­ences. That’s in­ter­est­ing and won­der­ful to watch.

On The Bi Life, how do you de­cide whether you’re pre­sent­ing as Shane or Court­ney? Court­ney comes out at the par­ties. I don’t wake up and get into drag and go down the shops to get some milk. It’s like when some­one gets dressed up to go to a party, or an event, but it’s more of­ten a few times a week.

Have there been any off-set dra­mas?

The day I ar­rived I re­alised that most of the boys, in­clud­ing my­self, had been shop­ping at the same stores be­cause we all had the same clothes. We had to work out who’s go­ing to where what.

Is there an ac­tual win­ner on The Bi Life?

One thing I love about it is that it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion and no one wins a prize. It’s just a bunch of peo­ple hav­ing real-life ex­pe­ri­ences.

The Bi Life cast and Court­ney.

Ryan and Michael.

Matt.

Kyle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.