Courtney Act and Vanity want to teach Australian queer history to the world

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They’re two of Australia’s most well-known drag queens, working all over the world as legends in the industry, and now Courtney Act and Vanity have launched season two of their hugely popular podcast, Brenda, Call Me!

Brenda, Call Me! is the country’s largest LGBTQIA+ podcast, with the first season reaching 750,000 listens across 170 countries worldwide since debuting in February last year.

Courtney Act and Vanity.
Courtney Act and Vanity open about season two of their podcast Brenda, Call Me! and what fans can expect. Photo: Supplied

Chatting exclusively with Yahoo Lifestyle, the sisters-in-crime spoke candidly about their goals for the project and what listeners can expect this time around.

“In season one we had Lavender Linguistics where we taught people a different polari word each episode, which was sort of a lost queer secret language from the ‘40s and ‘50s,” Courtney details.

“This season we're focusing on queer history. Often a lot of the queer history that we hear of is like Stonewall or it’s Americanised or from the UK, and we thought there's so much amazing queer history in Australia that we want to share so people all over the world get to hear about our pioneering.”

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The TV personality went on to explain that in comparison to other countries, Australia was actually quite far ahead when it came to queer representation on television.

“On an upcoming episode we speak about how Australia really was so progressive back in the ‘70s with trans representation, with a gay couple on Number 96, with gay characters who are respected and who weren't just either the villain or the camp sort of cliché,” she continues.

“We have a lot of great queer history to bring to people over the coming weeks, so we’re very excited.”

Courtney Act and Vanity posing next to a tree.
‘We have a lot of great queer history to bring to people over the coming weeks, so we’re very excited.’ Photo: Supplied

‘A very safe environment’

As well as teaching their listeners about LGBTQIA+ history, Courtney and Vanity's main motivation with Brenda, Call Me! is to simply have fun and spend time together.

“It's such a privilege to be able to do this with my lovely sister and I feel very fortunate to be here, to be present, to be included,” Vanity remarks.

“What’s also nice is that we are friends, but we both have busy lives and it's actually like a forced catch up for an hour every week where we sort of just sit down and have a lovely yarn,” Courtney adds.

“There’s usually a lot of catty competition in drag podcasts where the people who are ‘friends’ are sort of tearing shreds off each other, but this is a very safe environment.”

‘This could be the one’

Outside of the podcasting world, Courtney has made quite a name for herself starring on a number of reality TV shows around the world.

As well as appearing in the inaugural season of Australian Idol and making the top three on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she won Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 and competed on Dancing with the Stars twice.

However, despite her impressive resumé, Courtney admits that she has no plans to continue in the reality TV world and appear on competition-based shows in the near future.

Courtney Act.
Courtney teases that she has an exciting project currently in the works. Photo: Instagram/courtneyact

“They’re great publicity and they get you into other people's worlds and they’ve been great in my career, but there does come a point where you just can't sell your soul to the devil any longer,” she says, before adding with a laugh, “I'm not saying I've reached that point, I'm still accepting offers.

“But I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Apprentice are two that I wouldn’t go on. I’m A Celebrity just seems like entertainment through humiliation.

“And then I watched the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice and they separated them into boys groups and girls groups, and the blokes were all there getting their dicks out and waving them around the table, metaphorically speaking. And I just thought, ‘Oh God’. It just felt like a whole bunch of ‘celebrities’ all trying to prove their business acumen and prowess.”

Courtney adds that she’s keen to host her own show, and teases that she has a project currently in the works.

“We’re always trying, we’re always making pilots,” she says. “We’ve actually made a third pilot and I'm not superstitious, but I'm going with third time lucky. We made a pilot in the UK, a pilot in the US for Bravo and now we've made a pilot in Australia, so hopefully they say yes to that. This could be the one.”

You can listen to Brenda, Call Me! on the Nova Player or wherever you get your podcasts.

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