By Mark Dawson
Courtney Act has been causing a stir lately, hanging with pal Chaz Bono, performing
private “Applause” dances for Lady Gaga, and competing on the new season of RuPaul’s
Drag Race. If that isn’t enough, she has also unleashed a new dance anthem that
encourages people to shift their perspective on Russia’s anti-gay laws. “So often, we see
something we don’t like and we push against it, thinking we are being productive and
sparking change, when we are really fueling negativity and anger,” says the drag star. “I believe the more practical way to bring about change is to know what we want, turn in that direction, and simply be the change we seek.” “To Russia With Love” is a fun,
electro-pop song about an intense love affair that takes place in the middle of Russia’s
most prominent cities and landmarks. The music video features the Barbie-doll
bombshell in and out of make-up. Fans are treated to a few glimpses of Act’s adorable
male counterpart, Shane Janek. Even out of make-up, Courtney Act is a stunner.
Why did you decide to compete on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I felt like I was ready. In 2011, I moved to Hollywood to pursue my dreams. I had ideas
about what would happen, but what I didn’t know is that I would fall in love with drag all
over again. I honed my makeup skills, learned how to style my wigs, and even [learned
to] thread a sewing machine: all essential skills for Drag Race.
What makes you stand out from the competition?
I am a quadruple threat. I can sing, dance, act, and look like a goddamn supermodel.
Was the experience harder than you expected it would be?
I was prepared for the worst: for physical and emotional torture. And it was actually the
most fun time! Doing what I love with a group of similarly-minded people was liberating.
Getting to be creative every day and perform in different drag costumes, why, it’s every
little boy’s dream!
What did you learn from competing on the show?
I learned to focus attention on the present moment. Even the challenging competitions
that were not my forte became fun when I gave them my full concentration.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is not your first televised competition. You competed on
Australian Idol. How did the two compare?
Idol was a singing competition, and although I have been singing my whole life, I was
competing against girls who had the most amazing voices and I had to find other ways to
impress the judges and the audience. Drag Race is a competition made for drag queens
by drag queens! It is not often that the world conforms to the drag way of life. When it
does, it’s magical.
Speaking of magical, can your new single make magic happen in Russia?
“To Russia With Love” is simply a message of love. In the words of John Lennon, all you
need is love.
What does Russia need to learn about the LGBT community?
There are no greater rights than human rights, and it’s important to embrace equality.
What does the LGBT community need to learn about Russia?
Russia isn’t only oppressive for gay people. It is hard for everyone, particularly women.
This is more than an LGBT issue; it is a human rights issue for the people of Russia and
If you win RuPaul’s Drag Race, how will you spend the year?
My passion is performing. I love being on stage and entertaining people. So that’s where
I’ll be, win or lose.
“To Russia With Love” is available now on iTunes. A portion of proceeds from the sale
of the single will go to the Russia Freedom Fund, an organization that has been started
to combat discrimination and violence in Russia based on sexual orientation and gender
identity. Visit CourtneyAct.com.