Sunday, 14 April 2013

Interview with Aleshia Brevard: Part 2


Monika: Today I would like to focus our interview on your movie acting. Your first movie role was Sherry in „The Love God?” (1969). Did you have to go through any auditions to get the role? How did it feel to be an actress for the first time?
Aleshia: Oh, yes, Monika, Universal had seen every tall redhead in Hollywood by the time I auditioned. That, at least, is what I was told by my agent, with whom I’d just signed. I was so new in the business that I didn’t even have headshots – which almost proved my undoing. Some Universal executives feared I might not photograph well on screen but the director, Nat Hiken, fought for me. Bless that man! I was absolutely stunned by my good fortune, loved every single moment of the process, and promptly buckled down on set to learn my craft. It was a glorious experience.
Monika: Sherry was an extremely sexy lady that accompanied the main character played by Don Knotts. How do you recollect your work with him?
Aleshia: I adored Don Knotts. "The Love God", in my estimation, was a testimonial to Don’s comic genius. The film was ahead of its time, no doubt about that, but Don Knotts was perfectly cast as the misguided sex symbol. His improvisations still make me laugh when I see the film.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Interview with Vandy Beth Glenn


Monika: For today's interview I have invited Vandy Beth Glenn, an American writer, public speaker, and transactivist from Georgia. In 2007, she was dismissed from her job as a legislative editor at the Georgia General Assembly when she informed her supervisor, Sewell Brumby, of her transgender status. Following a lawsuit, her Glenn v. Brumby case became instrumental for the rights of transgender people that were discriminated against at work because of their transgender status. Hello Vandy! It is very kind of you to agree to be interviewed for “The Heroines of My Life”!
Vandy: Thank you! I’m happy to participate.
Monika: What are you doing for a living these days?
Vandy: I’m back at my job at the Georgia General Assembly, the job I was fired from for transitioning.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Vandy: Here in Atlanta, Georgia.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Vandy: My childhood was completely ordinary until I reached puberty. That was when I began to realize I was not like the other kids.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Interview with Jasmina von Leeds


Monika: Today I am taking you to Hannover in Germany where my guest lives. Jasmina von Leeds is a beauty stylist, YouTuber, singer, and actress from Germany. She appeared in such German TV series and shows as 'Köln 50667', 'Barbara Salesch', 'Niedrig und Kuhnt', and 'Berlin Tag und Nacht'. Hello Jasmina!
Jasmina: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me I feel very honored.

Monika: What do you prefer more: acting or singing?
Jasmina: It depends but I would say at the moment singing. I'm working really hard at my voice at the moment, getting a lot of singing lessons because this is what I want to do: singing in clubs. I really enjoy doing that and my other baby at the moment is my YouTube Channel: "Jasmina von Leeds". I love making videos about my life, giving beauty tips, talk about topics. This and my singing career are my biggest projects at the moment.

Monika: Could you elaborate on your acting career so far?
Jasmina: I played some roles in German soap operas and did realty stuff on TV. It was OK but I would love to play in a real movie. Maybe a dramatic part as a transwoman. What I did till now wasn't difficult or really creative in my opinion.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Interview with Jessica McGuinness


Monika: Today I would like to introduce to you Jessica McGuinness, an American transgender activist and community leader, and an Emergency Medical Service professional. Her story was presented in Greg Miraglia's book "American Heroes Coming Out From Behind The Badge" (2010) that features examples of how police officers, firefighters, and EMS professionals have been able to come out and be successful on the job. Hello Jessica!
Jessica: Hello Monika! Thank you for having me. I’m really excited about this!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Jessica: I worked in EMS for 12 years but had to resign due to worsening arthritis from hemophilia. After about a year of being on disability, I got hired at the University of Pittsburgh as a clinical specialist for the Pitt Men’s Study. The Pitt Men’s Study is a 30-year-old study for HIV. It’s been really incredible and I couldn’t be happier.
I was born in 1975 with hemophilia and grew up in the ’80s during the HIV outbreak. Remember Ryan White? I’m one of the lucky few that made it out of that time HIV-negative. Most of those kids I remember at the hemophilia center are all gone. It’s nice because I feel like I can give a little back to the community.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Interview with Christine Beatty


Monika: Today I would like to introduce to you an amazing woman and artist. Christine Beatty is an American writer, senior software engineer, musician, and transgender activist. She was born in San Mateo, California. In 2000 she was distinguished as Transwoman of the Year by the Los Angeles Transgender Task Force. Christine helped to organize the 2003 Transgender Day of Remembrance in Los Angeles, and a year later she appeared in a Calpernia Addams’ and Andrea James’ all-transgender production of the Vagina Monologues. In 2011 she started a publishing company for the TS/TG community, Glamazon Press. Christine writes articles for Spectator Magazine, Transgender Tapestry, TransSisters, and other LGBTQ publications. She is the founder of the Glamazon rock band, and the author of a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories and poetry "Misery Loves Company" (1993) and biography "Not Your Average American Girl" (2011). 
Hello Christine! Welcome to “The Heroines of My Life”.
Christine: Hi Monika, thanks for asking.
Monika: How would you describe yourself? Musician, writer, transgender activist, or someone else?
Christine: First and foremost I’m a writer. So far it’s not paying the bills — yet — but it’s the one creative thing I do consistently. I do plan to get back into performing and recording rock music again. Also, I started taking film school classes last autumn.
Monika: Are you a feminist?
Christine: Most definitely, long before I knew I was a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Christine: In my memoir, I describe my terribly ordinary upbringing in a suburb twenty miles south of San Francisco. It was terribly middle-class and ordinary; I hated it. I instinctively knew I wasn’t destined for ordinary or “normal.”

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Interview with Veronique Renard


Monika: Today I am meeting a fascinating woman. Veronique Renard is a Dutch painter and writer, Buddhist, and pro-Tibet activist, the author of "The Tibetan Freedom Struggle trilogy, and her autobiographical book titled "Pholomolo - No Man No Woman". Her full name is Véronique Françoise Caroline Renard. Inspired by the meeting with the Dalai Lama in India in 2000, she adopted the name of Pantau.
She is the great-granddaughter of the renowned French painter Paul Renard. Veronique lived and worked in the Indian Himalayas, Kerala, and Bangkok. In 2000, she established the Pantau Foundation with a view to raising funds and helping Tibetan refugee children living in exile in India. Hello Veronique!
Veronique: Namaste Monika, thank you so much for contacting me. I hope my contribution to your website will be helpful to many people.
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Veronique: I am still working on my next novel, Comrades of the Cut Sleeve, a story about a closeted gay Chinese military general who is in the process of liberating himself. These days all my books are about how to find happiness, enlightenment, I suppose.
Monika: You are one of the few people that met the Dalai Lama in person. What impact did the meeting have on you?
Veronique: Meeting him first time was very interesting. However, he didn’t mean that much to me at that time. I kind of accidentally met him.

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