Monika: Your theatrical debut took place in 2005 in the Joel Stevens’ play titled “Arrived Naked”. Did you enjoy acting in that play?
But I’d done Community Theater for years and I thought “why not”. I auditioned, and to be honest I think they were more fascinated with me as a person than my acting chops, but alas it was a FANTSASTIC experience and it PAID! Plus, me and some of the cast became really great friends, still are.
I did a 6 month run of a play at Peter Mac’s lounge at Oil Can Harry’s and we were sold out more times than not. Peter Mac and D.J. Schaefer wrote and produced the show. It was simply AMAZING and I was glad to be part of it.
As for the role, well hell I’m from the south most of the women there could pass for Drag Queens in LA, so I didn’t mind the typecasting at ALL. (laughing)… Although I will have to say it is hard to find roles that AREN’T reliant upon me being Trans or in the LGBTQI community. But as my grand mammie would say “don’t bite the hand that feeds ya.”
|Photo by Megan Bumgardner.|
It was super empowering to have three strong, independent, creative women bringing something to life together.
Theresa Shell and Christa Woomer are wonderfully talent women and both BIG advocates for the LGBTQI community and we wanted to create something that people could relate to and a show where we could tackle issues without my role being so focused on the fact that I was Trans, and when the hilarious and YouTube weblebrity Brian Ecker signed on it was just the icing on the cake. I was devastated when it totally tanked, it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve done.
Big Hair, Big Mouth, Big Boobs but most importantly BIG gaudy jewelry and a little vocabulary (laughs) and I was her shadow, everywhere she went I wanted to go. So everyone would say “Look! Here comes Sissy and little Sissy” and viola, that’s how it started! As for my last name well I can’t give all the secrets of Castle Grayskull away in the first interview now can I? LOL.. :-P
Plus I’ll always have a LITTLE twang to my music; I can’t help it no matter how I may try. As for song content, I write whatever they pay me to write, but most of MY personal music that appears on my album is very melancholy, music that hopefully speaks to the spirit.
Monika: Am I wrong to say that so far you have not decided to record an album, preferring to produce a set of individual songs? When can we expect a release of your debut album?
Plus when I transitioned way back when I lost A LOT of contacts in the business and it took me a rather long time to get over and recuperate from that. Currently, I’m actually in the midst of putting the finishing touches on a long overdue album, which I’ve produced with a friend of mine. Two of the songs are currently up and running on my Reverbnation page “Wait” and “Blind Foolish Love”. We are schedule to shoot a video for the first single next month. I figured the lesbians have gone long enough without good Vag-Rock to listen to. (laughing)
Following each of us around to catch our lives and interactions and then shopped it to a lot of the networks. Unfortunately none of the networks were ready for it at the time, although I hear one of the networks are now in production with a series very similar to it.
So hopefully the Trans community will be showcased with the respect and integrity those guys had taken with the project. But it was a GREAT experience, just to work with all of the beautifully talented artists and get to know them; it was a comradery of talent and a very supportive environment.
|Photo by Kevin Break.|
The media has done a GREAT job at over sexualizing Trans women and now the rest of us are left to deal with it. I have to face it every day, but thank God my mother taught me how to handle an overzealous person (Aqua net and a Bic Lighter usually.)
But all joking aside it’s a real obstacle for a lot of us. A lot of people in positions of authority within the music, entertainment industry still look at us like Porn Stars which depending on your moral fiber may or may not be a good thing. LOL… But for me it’s not a very welcomed stigma.
But I grew up in a family of strong willed women and the first time I saw Dolly Parton I knew I wanted to be like her, trans or not. We share very similar stories and I think she is one of the most AMAZING and LOVING women on this planet. I actually spent time with her sister in Ashville and she is just as LOVING and WARM HEARTED as Dolly.
My mother always knew but never spoke to me about it, but I still felt like I was letting her down, but thank GOD her and my father BOTH were very supportive and accepting. The rest of my family not so much, they still refuse to accept it and I haven’t seen some of them in over a decade, not that I would care to now.
My grandmother, whom I love dearly, as much as it kills me, wouldn’t want to see me face to face. But I’ve gotten to a place to where I know that’s her loss more so than mine. I know she loves me, but she loves her beliefs more I suppose.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the American society?
I think the Trans issue is reaching more and more people every day and people are identifying with it more so than ever and I hope that continues. I would like to see a little less sensationalism and a little more sincerity though; we are people just like everyone else. It’s not a choice or a decision we made, it’s a life we are destined to live and we deserve happiness just like everyone else.
But I think we are still a far cry from seeing a transgender artist or performer reaching mainstream success and it shouldn’t be that way. Education and Enlightenment is the key, so there is hope!
But I’m hopeful when I see all of these uplifting videos with Kids views on Gay Marriage and Gay rights, it gives me hope. Hope that someday kids will be watching that about transgender people and say the same things. Kids are truly the future and here’s to hoping their parent instill them with education and enlightenment instead of a lack of understanding and an over-abundance of fear.
I speak wherever I’m asked to and I’ve participated in several panels thorough the years, I certainly could do more and want to and with being more visible this year with my music and acting, I hope I can be. I’ve found the best way to make a difference is BE the difference, so the more uplifting and outspoken Trans activists we have the better.
I’m not a believer in fighting against anything (metaphysically speaking,) but I’m a big believe in working for something. I’m actually in the midst of finishing up a song called “Someday” that takes on the minds of the masses, with the message that hopefully SOMEDAY the world will be a dream come true for the human spirit. I think we are closer now than we’ve ever been.
My mother is one of the most angelic women I know and I’m glad to say she taught me well. It took me a rather long time to learn Self Love, but I think that’s probably the most important love there is, once you TRULY love yourself without exception you can love others so much more deeper and openly.
I’m a big cheerleader, I’d rather see someone succeed than fail, I’d rather help someone than hurt them it’s just a better life experience. I have AMAZING friends, AMAZING family and AMAZING people around me and that kind of LOVE is irreplaceable I’ve always heard it said “we are only as strong as the people we surround ourselves with.”
My style changes from day to day, depending on my mood but I like a lot of layers, skirts paired with this or that, and you can never go wrong with a dress that hits you in all the right places. As shallow as it may sound it’s REALLY hard for me to wear the same thing twice! (laughing) Stage wise, I stick to boots and leggings or skirts as well, but again it changes with my moods.
I think I subscribe to every fashion magazine there is, so there is no possible way I could pick one designer but I do have a soft spot for Mrs. Diane Von Furstenberg, because I met her once in NYC and she changed my LIFE… (laughs) she said “Dahling, the best piece of advice I can give you is NEVER leave the house without a black body suit (shaper) on”, and I haven’t since.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Making a difference in spite of the fact, some of us will make small differences and some of us will make larger differences, but they are all equally as important. So staying focused, staying attuned to our spirits, regardless of what anyone else is doing or thinking is the best course of action for me.
I’m more than just the sum of my parts (pun intended). The greatest injustice we can do as humans, to ourselves and this world, is to limit ourselves in ANY capacity, we are all here for a reason (or so I believe) and the worst thing we can do is let someone or something or some train of thought derail our life paths.
One of the most powerful pieces of literature I ever read which hangs in my hallway to this day, is the “Desiderata” and so I leave you with this quote. “ You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should..”