How meeting my idol Kurt Browning helped me become a better drag queen

How meeting my idol Kurt Browning helped me become a better drag queen


Hi, I’m Shauna Fay and I got to meet my figure skating
idol from childhood, Kurt Browning who has helped me transform into
a drag performer named Skirt Browning. I had the crush on Kurt Browning. Well, of course when you’re in figure skating you eat, breathe, sleep, live figure skating so my friends and I would all watch figure skating together and we would talk about who is doing what and who had the jumps and who fell that weekend in competition. And Kurt Browning… I think I speak for a lot of Canadians when I say
he was just so charming and sweet. And of course I was a young girl
figuring out that boys were cute. And Kurt Browning, with his blond hair— and he is just so charming and sweet,
that I couldn’t help myself. I saw a drag show in Winnipeg a few years ago And one of the drag queens,
her name is Joan Costalotsa. She’s kind of a legend. She was just having the most amazing time having the most fun with her audience. She was incredibly glamorous and a free spirit. And I looked at her and thought,
‘Why can’t I do that? I want to do that.’ And then a drag class happened the very first ever Prairie Theatre Exchange theatre school were going to host a drag performance class.
And I’m like, ‘OK, now is the moment.’ So I signed up for the class not
knowing one little thing about drag and have been learning along the way and I learn something new every time
I perform or chat with other drag queens. So when I found out that Stars on Ice
was going to be coming to Winnipeg I decided, ‘Okay I need to meet Kurt Browning because Kurt Browning is going to
be here. Skirt Browning lives here.’ So I pitched to the CBC and they said yes.
I couldn’t believe it. So, I basically pitched it to them that I should meet my idol and they were like, ‘Yeah let’s do that, let’s make that happen.’ So in May of this year I got to go backstage at Stars on Ice
and meet Kurt Browning in person. First off, he was like, ‘Oh my gosh,
look at you. You look so amazing.’ He was so kind and complimentary. And then we started talking a little bit about figure skating and my history of figure skating
and how did I become a drag queen. And he had another name. He’s like,’We really like Curtsy Browning as well.
So think about that as a name.’ So he was into the fact that I was paying homage to him. The other thing that he told me,
which this is my nugget of wisdom that I’ll always take away. He said that when you go out there, trust the audience. Trust them that they’re gonna love you. Extend some faith to them and
then you can perform your heart out and then they will in turn return that love to you. But if you go out there with your defence up it’s kind of like an animal. When they sense a defence up or a fear,
they may not trust. So that’s what I try and do. Anytime I go on stage I just want to be like ‘OK, you guys are going to love this. Here it is and see what happens.’ So when you are coming in drag,
you have to kind of figure out who you are. So I knew I wanted to be old-school glamour. I wanted to be inspired by figure skating. I was thinking Ice Capades. And then I was trying to think of
what is my name going to be and I just couldn’t figure out a name. And then I went to, ‘Okay. What inspires me? Kurt Browning. Skirt Browning.’
It was a bit of a no brainer. Well, and the thing is too… as a figure skater the deal was you go out there and
you perform this thing for other people. So it’s really very, very performance Whereas other drag queens really do, like, inner work. ‘I’m going to explore my emotions.’ Whereas Skirt Browning just goes out there
and she’s ready to serve because she’s from figure skating. It’s about the other people, it’s about
the judges, and it’s about the audience. So it’s an interesting type of drag to think about,
how figure skating impacts that. You know what, there’s two phases
to when you go on stage. There is the person who’s before you. They’re performing for three minutes. And that’s when I absolutely go into cardiac arrest and I’m just trying to breathe. And then when their number finishes you just have to put it on, get that face ready. Put your hands on your hips, be all of the attitude and then just go out there and
pretend like you’re in your living room killing it for you and your cat. It’s really two phases because you have the one where
you’re like about to lose it and then there’s the one where
you’re just gonna give it and live. It’s hard. It takes a lot of practice. And it takes a lot of mental talk because it is terrifying! And then once you finish,
then you feel like a superhero and all of that adrenaline is in your body and you could do anything.
You could conquer the world. So that is the payoff moment—
once you are done. And you had the best time of your life,
and so did everyone else. Oh my gosh. I’m going to say it
and maybe the universe will respond: Mick Jagger! Hello! I’m actually planning for this year
a Mick Jagger drag number where I am going to be Skirt Browning
as Mick Jagger doing Rolling Stones songs. And who knows?

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