Sunday, 8 November 2015

Interview with Angelique Munro


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Angelique Munro, an American entertainer, TV Talk Show Host, show director & transgender - HIV/AIDS advocate and motivational speaker. Hello Angelique!
Angelique: Hello Monika, Pleasure to meet you!
Monika: You look fantastic, Angelique. What is the secret of your beauty?
Angelique: Awe you're too kind, I really eat healthy and sleep as much as I can. No smoking or drugs, and I do not sunbath.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Angelique: I was born an only child on 5-27-70 in Chicago, IL. I am a survivor from child abuse because my Mom didn't understand what transgender was and used to beat me so bad because I would say "I am a girl".
Oh I think I always knew as a child that I was born in the wrong body. I've always felt a hole of emptiness inside me because I was born with male parts and not female. For years I've been battling major depression. I had no clue as a child that I was born transgender, all I knew was I just wanted to be loved and accepted for who I am.
Performing on stage.
As early as I can remember, my life has been a struggle; I've survived emotional, sexual, mental and physical abuse. I have battled my demons with thoughts of suicide. It's been a long and rough hard road and now all that's behind me and I am finally in control of my life, and I will not allow anyone to harm me in any way ever again.
I would hope people could appreciate and love and respect one another more for whom we were born to be and not for whom they want us to be.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a stage artist?
Angelique: Well this Halloween 10/31/15, marks my 20 year anniversary of being Angelique! Yes, the first time I ever dressed was on Halloween 20 years ago, I was honestly a little nervous but deeply excited when my boyfriend (at the time) and my best friend (at the time) said "Let's all dressed up as girls and go out to boys town". So I went out, bought a wig, got some make up, and had my friend Debbie make me a dress. Once I was put all together I looked like Ginger from Gilligans Island everyone told me! Ha ha ha
While out that night barhopping I was in Roscoe's and two of the staff members from the Legendary Baton Show Lounge spotted me and came up to me and said "Are you Teddy?" I said yes but not tonight ha ha; then they began to say "You look really good and you need to talk to Ginger Grant to get a guest spot at the Baton."
So the next day I actually went to the Baton because it was a regular thing. I did to see all the girls and I talked to Ginger and actually she gave me a guest spot and allowed me to be there for two years straight!
My drag name started out as Norma Jean. I've always admired and had a connection with Marilyn Monroe, so I thought Norma Jean would be appropriate until one Sunday night, doing a guest at the Baton a group of guys approached me after one of my numbers, and said "We remember you from Atlanta, but you look a little different Norma Jean" Aha ha ha.
I was terribly and shocked when they told me what they did with this Norma Jean and I knew for sure I've never been to Atlanta and I'm never done those type of things ever! Obviously I told them "You have the wrong girl" I got scared and went downstairs to the dressing room shaking, and Monica Munro said what's going on, and she said "You know I think we need to change your name; you do somewhat resemble this Norma Jean!". Monica said: "You're nothing like her, you're very Angel like and quite Unique! "
So I went home that night and I kept thinking about what she said and I wrote down Angel and the word "Unique", and came up with Angelique! And by now you can probably figure around that Monica Munro became my drag mother and that's how I became a Munro! 
Another headshot.
The very first two years of my drag career I worked at the Baton doing guest spots, and then I met some different performers who also the guest spots, one in particular, her name was Xviara Snow. 
She told me about different bars and opportunities, one bar she was performing at "The Nutbush" in the suburbs. So I went out there to see a show. I was blown away. It was a very well put together show with huge production numbers and themes. I was so honored when they asked me to become a member of Absolut Diva. 
It probably was one of the most fun and enjoyable times in my career working with such talented creative individuals under direction of Burt Pitcher.
Over the years I worked all over Chicago probably every gay bar and branched out to other States from the States near by to New York, California and Las Vegas, I've done TV, was on The Ricki Lake Show, The Tyra Banks Show and on E! Entertainment Television. I guess for me the entire reason why I began doing drag shows, it was my outlet to become excepted as a woman; my life has not been easy being born transgender.
Monika: Do you remember your first show?
Angelique: Yes, it was on a Sunday night in November 1995 at The Legendary Baton Show Lounge. I was so excited and nervous. I performed just two numbers and the audience response was very positive and made me want to do more.
Monika: Have you ever thought about acting?
Angelique: Yes, actually, since high school I've always enjoyed acting and being on stage. A few years ago I was cast in a Mini-Series called “Shelter City” for web-base TV called Gay Chicago TV. Unfortunately only the pilot aired.
Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it? :)
Angelique: Aha ha ha well honestly I don't view myself as beautiful. I would say that I am a very Strong Woman who is humble with the love and support I've gotten over the years.
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Angelique: That is VERY interesting question.... Mmmm I would say there were Many that have transitioned before me and my reaction/thoughts were “I will NOT go in that direction!” ha ha ha meaning they just had bad operations/or work done, they don't even look natural...
I always said when I transition I will seek a professional doctor and seek therapy first. Sadly most girls don't! Because it's cheaper to buy hormones and silicone off the streets.... Sorry that's not for me.... Not judging but if something was to go wrong, I'd want a professional doctor to sue!

Here is Shelter City's season premiere episode "Erica's Secret". Erica struggles with memories from her past. After fainting in the park, she finds herself at the hospital where her brother Andrew is a physician. Andrew delivered the news, but he knows that his dramatic and over the top sister will do anything to get her way. Erica has a secret. For more information please visit http://www.gaychicagotv.com

Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now? 
Angelique: Honestly I admire and respect ANYONE who transitions, it's not easy for all people. There are so many women that struggle everyday! It takes a lot of courage to make the transition and I applaud them.
Monika: How old were you when you transitioned?
Angelique: I've always been terribly afraid of my mother. So I did not transition until after she passed away from lung cancer in 2006. I was 36 years old then... which is somewhat late in life to transition, but better late than never!
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Angelique: As an adult, today at 45 years old, looking back over my life I truly feel I am survivor and hopefully can be an inspiration to the trans youth that may be battling similar struggles throughout their life. I've had many obstacles in my life since I was a child and I believe each has made me into the strong person I am today!

I truly feel I am a good person having my head on straight, and I've learned to cut the negative people out of my life and only focus on people who are truly there and love me for who I am. I finally feel happy in my life, living each day now as who I was born to be!
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the American society?
Angelique: Well, there is more awareness of “Trans Issues” in the World today, more stuff on TV and in the Magazines. Whether you support their views or not, it's finally shinning a light on a community that has always been pushed to the side and kept in the dark.
Monika: Transgender ladies are subject to the terrible test whether they pass as a woman or they do not. You are a lovely lady yourself but what advice you would give to ladies with the fear of not passing as a woman?
Angelique: This makes me very emotional, sorry I'm beginning to cry.... society can be so cruel and not embrace us we all know that, HOWEVER within our own Transgender community there is so much negativity toward one another, instead of supporting our fellow Trans Sisters and Brothers! How can we expect society to respect us when we don't respect one another?
With her dog Cleo.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Angelique: I don't ever get into politics or religion... I don't like to preach to anyone and don't like it done to me. ha ha ha
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Angelique: “Importance of love in my life” mmmmm I'm going to answer that in three parts....
First I think it is important to LOVE yourself first, if you don't, no one else will.
Second, dating has always been so so so difficult for me, since I transitioned back in 2006. I've only had 1 long term boyfriend. 

We dated for 4 years on and off... He left the last time for a variety of reasons... one of the main reasons, he wanted a natural born child and I could not give it to him.
Third, my true love of my life is my little dog, Cleopatra, she is my entire world!
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Angelique: Yes, actually back in early 2000's I began to write my book on my old dinosaur computer I had back then and I was almost done and you guess it! OMG it crashed and I lost everything! Oh well perhaps the timing wasn't right. I truly believe everything in the World happens for a reason. I will rewrite it soon in the near future.

For more about the show, cllick transformativetalkshow and youtube.com

Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Angelique: After working as one of Chicago's most respected top female impersonators for the past 20 years I am actually still in demand and working now more than ever! I know my drag career is coming to an end or let's just say it was a good time and thank you for the memories!
As I move forward in my life I'm taking this person that I created "Angelique Munro" back to television! In May 2015, I auditioned and was cast as Moderator of a TV talk show and we filmed a pilot called Transformative The Talk Show! A major cable network has showed interest not only in the show but in me in particular, so hopefully it will get picked up and Air Spring of 2016 stay tuned!

Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, thinking about the entertainment career?
Angelique: Do it for the right reasons, and never try to be a clone of anyone just be YOU! 
Monika: Angelique, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Angelique Munro.

Done on 8 November 2015
© 2015 - Monika 

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