Dancing With The Stars

How Dancing With The Stars' Courtney Act transforms herself into a drag queen

She dresses in full glam for a living, so how on earth does she do it? Courtney Act reveals her secrets to Now To Love.

By Rebecca Sullivan
Courtney Act is perhaps Australia's most famous drag queen, but for years we've only seen one side of this talented performer.
We met Courtney on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003.
She went on to star in the hugely popular cult reality show RuPaul's Drag Race - she was runner up in 2014 - and she won Celebrity Big Brother UK last year.
Now she's on Channel 10's new reboot season of Dancing With The Stars and for the very first time, the Australian public gets to see the man behind the woman - Shane Jenek.
Shane has been performing as Courtney Act for 19 years and along with dance partner Joshua Keefe, is part of the first same-sex dance couple to ever appear on the DWTS franchise anywhere in the world.
The pair are already sitting at the top of the scoreboard and are the hot favourites to take home the disco ball trophy.
But Courtney says she's not letting the noise get to her.
"Everyone's like 'You're going to win for sure'. And I'm like 'No don't say that'. I'm not counting all of my chickens before they've hatched," she told Now To Love.
Courtney all glammed up on Dancing With The Stars. (Image: Channel 10)
Of course, Courtney Act is Shane's drag name. Some DWTS viewers were shocked to learn Courtney's real identity - and that Shane doesn't rehearse or go about his normal life in full costume.
"If they haven't seen me as a boy, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Courtney told Now To Love.
It takes Shane three hours to "transform" into Courtney.
"It used to be a one hour process and when I started giving myself three hours, my look completely changed and got so much better," she said.
"Someone else does my hair, but when I started giving myself the time, I'm able to be creative, rather than rubber stamping makeup on my face."
Like many beauty junkies, she doesn't have any professional makeup training but watches loads of video tutorials.
"YouTube is such a wonderful place to look at makeup and I pick up so many things watching YouTube. People can learn all the tricks of the drag trade," she said.
"I remember back in the days before the internet, we would all use this one product and someone would discover it and tell a friend. You'd have to go to a different state to buy a certain type of eyebrow wax.
"Now I just go on the internet and watch tutorials and every time I learn something new."
Shane takes three hours to transform into Courtney. (Image: Getty)
Dancing With The Stars viewers will know that Courtney has a killer set of pins.
Even host Amanda Keller commented on her incredibly toned legs during the premiere episode. So what's her secret to staying fit and toned?
"Dancing around in high heels has always been very helpful," Courtney said.
"I go to the gym and all the dance training has been amazing. We're rehearsing for four hours a day, five days a week.
"In July last year I decided I wanted more tits and ass, so I've been doing lots of squats, chest presses, bench presses and Bulgarian squats. All these different types of squats.
"Also to be fair, being biologically male has a lot to do with having legs that women like. Men have an unfair advantage. It's easier to build muscles and we have lower body fat."
Watch below: Shane Janek on the questions people always ask drag queens
Courtney's skin is also incredible, for someone who spends a lot of time wearing heavy makeup.
But there's no fancy $200 serum or expensive facialist behind her fabulous skin - just good, old fashioned advice.
"The best regimen starts from within. It's not just the makeup or skincare, it's the water you drink and the food that you eat," Courtney said.
"Drinking lots of water is the number one tip for good skin. Your body is able to detoxify a lot easier. The skin is reflective of your internal health.
"My other best skin tip is exfoliating. I used a scrub once a week."
Shane is rarely photographed as himself. (Image: Getty)
Look at that skin! (Image: Getty)
This weekend marks Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, celebrating all members of the LGBTIQ community.
One of the festival's sponsors, ANZ, has released some shocking research about what more needs to be done to support LGBTIQ inclusion around the country.
Alarmingly, 84 percent of LGBTIQ community members believe there are still parts of Australia where it is unsafe to be themselves.
LGBTIQ people are still twice as likely to experience some form of harassment, discrimination or open prejudice because of their sexual orientation and 52 per cent would not open up about their sexuality with their manager at work.
"Whilst it's shocking, it's not surprising," Courtney said of the stats. She's an ambassador for ANZ and a regular fixture at Mardi Gras.
"As a queer person wandering around, I still don't feel comfortable in a lot of spaces and places. It's fine strolling down Oxford St [in Sydney's Darlinghurst], but even in Pitt Street, you still check yourself.
"You think 'Can I hold a person's hand right now? Can I be myself in this situation?' I think a heterosexual couple probably wouldn't need to think about that stuff at all. It's something a lot of queer people have just gotten used to.
"For trans people, every single day when they walk out the door, they get looks and confusion from people they come into contact with. You're justifying your existence to people."
Courtney and her partner Josh. (Image: Channel 10)
That's why it's so important to have people like Courtney on a prime time show like Dancing With The Stars.
"Any time diversity, whether that be race or gender or sexuality, any minority group is show on Australian TV, that's a win," Courtney said.
"We're not great at diversity so it's great to showcase stuff like that. You get to learn something about someone who is different from you."
As for Courtney's sexuality?
"I take it however it comes, as long as it comes," she joked.
"I'm attracted to all genders, but the majority of my attraction and relations have been with men.
"I have dated people as Shane and as Courtney. If I meet someone as Courtney, if we start dating ongoing it's as Shane.
"I had an ex-boyfriend who identified as straight and had never been with a person with a penis before and we met when I was Courtney. He was a 'try anything twice' kind of guy and we ended up dating for six months as Shane."
Dancing With The Stars airs on Monday nights at 7:30pm on Channel 10.