Friday, 27 August 2021

Interview with Pavie Valsa


Monika: Today we are going to meet a talented and inspirational woman from Czechia. Pavie Valsa is a young makeup artist, model, Britney Spears impersonator, poet, painter, and writer living in the United Kingdom. She is the author of "Twenties and Happy: A complete guide to happiness in a little pocketbook" (2019), published in the English and Czech languages. Hello Pavie!
Pavie: Hello Monika, it’s nice to talk to you.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Pavie: I never know what kind of words to say to this question. Ermm I’m a human being? (Laughing) No, seriously, I'm a 27-year-old girl from Czechia. A proud trans girl, to be specific.
I am an author of the book Twenties and Happy, I’m also a Britney Spears impersonator and a signed model, also a professional makeup artist, which I studied for 4 years. In addition, I am a very typical Cancer, I am left-handed, and I have green eyes.
Monika: Pavie is not a common name. How did you choose it?
Pavie: So my given male name was Pavel and when I moved from Czechia to Sydney, Australia I really wanted to change it, I never liked my name. I was coming up with different names but people at the cafe where I was working started calling me Pav and one day my workmate Timea called me Pavie and I fell in loooooove with that name. So even though I got this name as a boy I still kept it after I came out as transgender because this name is very unisex. It’s so beautiful, cute, and unique. It’s me! And I love it!

When I was 22, I started doing shows in London
night clubs and whenever I wore a blonde wig everyone
was like: “you look like Britney!” It was crazy how
many people started saying this to me.

Monika: Before we have a closer look at your book, poems, and professional career, I would like to ask you about your years in Czechia. Did you have a happy childhood there?
Pavie: My childhood was actually beautiful. Family wise. I have the most loving and supporting family. My parents always supported me dressing up in female clothes from an early age, they loved my singing and lip-syncing for others, I was the entertainment at every family party. They would drive miles to see me at my makeup competitions and theatre performances. We used to go on holiday at least three times a year. It was a beautiful childhood.
Also in school, I was pretty popular but I remember after I turned 13 or 14 I was hiding my true self. Gosh, I felt empty. I don’t want to say I felt uncomfortable, I just didn’t know who I was and because of the circumstances, I couldn’t really express my true self. I mean my feminine part. Because I was taught it was wrong. There was a lot of hiding for my whole teenage years.
On my 19th birthday, I arrived in Sydney and I came out literally the first weekend. I felt free. No family, no friends, no one was there to judge me, it was just me and I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was fabulous.
Monika: How did you start impersonating Britney Spears?
Pavie: Well, I’ve been impersonating famous singers since I was 9. I always did it to entertain my family and friends. When I was 22, I started doing shows in London night clubs and whenever I wore a blonde wig everyone was like: “you look like Britney!” It was crazy how many people started saying this to me. So I mastered Britney’s makeup and moves and started performing mostly just Britney.
This year it’s my 4th season and I have a residency at Tonight Josephine in Waterloo, London where we have sold out weekend brunches until the end of the year, so I’m very excited and happy I’m living my childhood dream.

I came out twice. Firstly, as a gay boy, then as a
transgender woman. The first coming out was harder
as I was battling with myself and was suppressing
my sexual orientation. The second coming out was natural
and necessary to feel 100% aligned with my identity.

Monika: Have you ever tried acting?
Pavie: Yes, I have actually. I was visiting acting classes from age 6 to 18, also singing classes. We used to have a big play for our parents once a year, it was usually fairy tales. I loved being on the stage, although I wished to be in a musical on Broadway (laughing). I went to summer camps specializing in acting every summer. I loved it. My biggest achievement in acting so far is the movie Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie. It was such a cool experience even though I was just an extra.
Monika: What inspired you to write "Twenties and Happy: A complete guide to happiness in a little pocketbook" (2019)?
Pavie: It was a calling. I had no choice but to write. I started writing motivational and inspiring quotes on Instagram but then it got to the point when the voice was getting stronger and clearer, so I started writing. But I was definitely inspired by the Australian culture; the ocean, the beach, the beautiful shining people who helped me grow. 
Monika: What made you come to London? Australia seems to be a great place to live. 
Pavie: Well, I felt bored in Australia, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I love Australia so much, amazing weather, beautiful friendly people, great lifestyle, fresh food, and amazing coffee... but for a young person with big dreams, it felt like it wasn’t enough. The fashion and beauty industry was small and so were the options for me to perform in clubs. I felt stuck knowing I belong to a bigger city with much more options and possibilities. So I ended up in London.
Monika: How do you prepare your outfits for impersonation shows?
Pavie: I tend to do more looks from Britney’s live shows as opposed to the iconic outfit from her music videos. I usually find inspiration from Britney shows on YouTube videos, then I put together either the exact same look or a similar costume. I mainly get the pieces together from the shops and then I adjust them myself or I get the whole costume custom-made.

It’s beautiful to see the changes in my body and
also my emotions. Hormones help me to stay aligned
with who I really am.

Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Pavie: Well I came out twice. Firstly, as a gay boy, then as a transgender woman. The first coming out was harder as I was battling with myself and was suppressing my sexual orientation. The second coming out was natural and necessary to feel 100% aligned with my identity. In both cases, my family and friends were very supportive which I’m so grateful for. It’s always hard to come out because we always overthink whether people will accept us but I want to tell everyone that it’s so worth it because life then starts to take the most unexpected and often very beautiful turns.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Pavie: Oh, hormones saved my life. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have hormones because my gender dysphoria and discomfort were so bad. Hormones have put me at ease, physically but also mentally. It’s beautiful to see the changes in my body and also my emotions. Hormones help me to stay aligned with who I really am.
Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Pavie: It’s a good question. Honestly, I’m battling with this every single day. I still have social anxiety and fear of leaving my house because of the trauma from times when I started my transition. When I was very visible I was abused and physically and verbally attacked. These memories really scared me, so I have this pressure to be as passable as possible just to feel safe when I’m out. But we all need to find ways that work for us. Whether it’s surgery, beauty tricks or mental support.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Pavie: Oh gosh, there are so many. I’m honestly inspired by every transgender person I’ve met in person or just seen them online, we all inspire each other and can learn from each other. I’m so so thankful for those brave transgender people who paved the journey, so our generation can follow them and be an example for the future generation of trans people. Let’s fight the good fight for equality!

Whenever you realize you have the power to change
your mood and your attitude, choose the best version of
yourself. Want to feel fabulous all day everyday? Create
that mindset in your head. Wear whatever makes you
feel sexy. If makeup boosts your confidence, put it on.
Heels make you feel invincible? Wear them!

Monika: Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Pavie: As a kid, I don’t even remember knowing there was an option to be a transgender. I just remember watching this documentary when I was like 11 years old which was about the difference between a drag queen and a crossdresser, that’s all I knew. I was so happy my dad allowed me to watch it at 10pm, he then asked me to explain the difference after I watched the documentary. (Smiling) He was always so supportive.
When I moved to Sydney I met my first transgender girl in person. We were both working on a shop floor at the beauty section and I was just so astonished by her energy. She was very powerful.

END OF PART 1

 
All the photos: courtesy of Pavie Valsa.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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