Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Interview with Estelle Roedrer

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Estelle Roedrer, a French cabaret artist, singer, dancer, and beauty pageant queen. Hello Estelle!
Estelle: Hello Monika and thanks for keeping in touch with me. It’s a great pleasure and honor to me.
Monika: Estelle, you look absolutely stunning! What is the secret of your everlasting beauty?
Estelle: Thanks! Really I don’t know… maybe the natural and simple life?
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Estelle: I will be soon 42, already! Life is passing away so fast! I used to work in cabarets. I lived in many countries: Germany, Spain, and Egypt but I decided to come back to France and since then I have been living here for 11 years.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a cabaret artist?
Estelle: I think I have never decided about it! I am a cabaret artist, and that’s it. But I have been lucky to win my life with it. Many cabaret artists must have another job.

Courtesy of Estelle Roedrer.

Monika: You work for Cabaret La Belle Etoile in La Celle-sur-Loire. It is not close to Paris, isn't it?
Estelle: No, it is not. La Belle Etoile is 2 hours away from Paris. I left Paris for love 10 years ago. I thought I could change who I was for someone I loved but I was wrong. You can’t change what you really are deep inside you. But I tried and that’s good to know myself better and better.
You know, I was beginning my career in Paris, in Carrousel de Paris, then I left Paris for Germany. I lived 4 years there. I used to work in Pulvervass in Hamburg, in Alcazar in Hanover, in Paradise in Nuremberg, and in Chez Nous in Berlin. Then for 2 years, I was a model in Cairo, Egypt.
I came back to France in 2004. I used to create all my shows, sometimes as a performer, sometimes as a stripper, or as an impersonator. It depended on the needs of the cabaret I worked for.
Monika: Is it difficult to get a job in such a cabaret?
Estelle: Now I think yes, “normal” people are bored with everything. They don’t have money as before, so they don’t go to cabarets as before. The cabarets get closed one after another and there is no more free place to take.
Monika: Have you ever thought about acting?
Estelle: I used to have many opportunities but my private life was more important. So I refused any proposals.
Monika: What do you think about transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Estelle: To be honest… I don’t care. As I have said I’m a simple person with a simple life. I don’t need to prove anything. I don’t do what I do to be rich or a star; I just do it because I love the stage as a woman and I loved it as a man. If someone needs fame, no problem, I don’t need it.
Monika: You also take part in transgender beauty pageants. In 2010 and 2011 you participated in the Miss International Queen pageant, organized in Thailand for the most beautiful transgender women in the world. How do you recollect those events?
Estelle: Yes! It was a great experience even if I don’t like beauty pageants. I’m so far away from all this. I know who I’m and I don’t need to be the most beautiful woman or anything else but I met a lot of nice girls there (and many bad ones too! lol).

Miss International Queen pageant.
Courtesy of Estelle Roedrer.

Monika: What was the atmosphere among the pageant contestants? Did you have a chance to make friends with some of them?
Estelle: The first year was the best. There was a very good atmosphere among all the girls. The second year was a little bit different. Most of them were there to win, not for fun. So it was. When egos are too strong I do not feel well.
Monika: Did you take part in other transgender beauty pageants?
Estelle: In 2001 in Ibiza in Pacha club. I became the first (and the last) Queen.
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Estelle: Never ever! I always follow my way. I’m unique (as everybody) and nobody can be my model because if you have a model you want to be like her and I don’t want to be like anyone. I wanted to just be me (and it’s enough! lol).
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Estelle: I think that the biggest first problem was with my family. They could not distinguish gay from transgender. It’s completely different, of course! Many people mix them, and that makes me crazy. Transgender is not a sexual orientation. You can be transgender and straight or transgender and bi or transgender and gay.
But now, after all these years, they accept me as who I am and they love me because I’m honest in what I want and what I do. For them, it’s a kind of success to be and realize what you want and what you do!
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in French society?
Estelle: The problem is that we need to talk about it but many transgender women prefer to have a simple and discreet life, even me.
Many people think that if you are transgender you have to indulge in prostitution. In reality, you don’t have too many choices.
For example, in Thailand, transgender women are accepted in all jobs but they can never change their ID papers, even after the whole transition. In France, when you finish your transition, all you can have is your new ID but you can't have a “normal” life or job (if "normal" means anything).

Courtesy of Estelle Roedrer.

Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Estelle: I have never participated in any lobbying or anything like this. For me it’s a kind of “Ghetto” and I don’t want it. I want to live with everybody, meet friends, make parties, do shopping or anything else because I’m me and not because I’m transgender.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Estelle: Love has different faces. Every love is important; give, receive and share.
Monika: You have a perfect figure. What do you do to stay so slim? :)
Estelle: I guess many people think that I underwent some plastic surgery operations but I was born like this! I have a straight twin brother and he has the same face as me. That’s my best proof!
Anyway, it makes me bored to say: “I don’t do anything”. People can think about what they want… And I’m not so slim! lol
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Estelle: It’s funny! Yes! But not because I’m transgender. I’m writing a book about my Indian trip. I don’t need to explain why or how I have become what I am.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Estelle: Houhouuuuu !!! No idea!! I just live in the present and that’s really enough!
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, thinking about such a career like yours?
Estelle: Good luck! If you believe in your dreams, they’ll come true. I always say that you can have all that you want in your life but not all at the same time and maybe not really what you have expected. But life always gives you what’s the best for you even if you think that’s not.
Monika: Estelle, thank you for the interview! Merci beaucoup!
Estelle: Thanks to you!

All the photos: courtesy of Estelle Roedrer.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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