Call her a tireless performer, or call her ‘Courtney Everywhere’, but Courtney Act / Shane Jenek is as busy as ever.
Most recently she was co-hosting the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras for SBS. On Sunday she returns to Dancing with the Stars on 10.
On Monday Shane / Courtney is the subject of an Australian Story episode for ABC.
And she is currently acting in upcoming episodes of Neighbours.
These come on the back of recent Australian and international appearances on Eurovision: Australia Decides, Celebrity Big Brother (UK), The Bi-Life (as host) and back in 2014, RuPaul’s Drag Race (USA).
Not bad for someone whose star shone singing “You Don’t Own Me” on Australian Idol in 2003.
“Australian Idol’s first season was so huge and popular and where my name became known,” she tells TV Tonight.
“I look back at a lot of stuff I’ve done over the years where I was really trying. But I think ‘God you really weren’t ready for anything!’
“But the last 17 years of slogging away at it I’ve slowly gotten better.
“I was absolutely horrible!”
“I was watching myself at Mardi Gras about 15 years ago and I was absolutely horrible!”
This year she was praised for her impromptu street interviews during a raucous Live Mardi Gras broadcast.
On Sunday as 2019 runner-up she returns to Dancing with the Stars as a guest judge. The episode will see Craig Revel Horwood, Sharna Burgess and Tristan MacManus each lead their own contestants in dance battles.
“The judges’ performance was such a highlight last year. Doing the number with Craig was so much fun as a departure from the regular dancing,” she recalls.
“I wonder if Craig will be in drag again this year? I saw him on Strictly Come Dancing do Hello Dolly, so you can’t stop him.
“They sent me a list of the styles of dance and Josh, my dance partner from last year, has been reminding me what to look out for.
“I had it drilled into me last year for 40 hours a week!”
“I want to see everybody embrace the truth of who they are.”
She has already been casting an eye over the current batch of dancers, but having survived 2019’s season, is looking for more than just technical prowess.
“Dami Im has done some great dances but from what I’ve seen she hasn’t let go yet,” she suggests.
“And Christian Wilkins should lean into it more, give us the gold hot pants! I want to see everybody embrace the truth of who they are.
“I’ll leave the technical commentary to Craig, Sharna and Tristan and I’ll focus on the performance aspects.
“Obviously I know what it’s like to put that much work into it. At Week 6 they should be all settled and I think we will see some great performances.”
In Monday’s Australian Story she reveals how having two separate identities sometimes felt unhealthy until Shane was introduced to the concept of gender fluidity by Chaz Bono, while filming RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“The idea that gender exists on a spectrum and you can just express yourself freely and outside the confines of what it means to be a man or a woman was absolutely transformative,” Jenek tells ABC.
“Courtney Act is coming to Lassiter’s Pride”
Meanwhile Courtney is currently filming episodes of Neighbours, following on from her recent cameo in a Mardi Gras-themed episode.
“I’m filming a multi-episodic arc. Courtney Act is coming to Lassiter’s Pride, which is very exciting. But while I’m in town I’ll be tending to some other business.
“I’m in as Shane and Courtney. They’ve had cameos from real people before but I believe anyone’s actually played themselves in a story arc.
“I’ve been living in the UK for the last two years and I Googled Neighbours ratings. One website I looked at with the top 50 shows in the UK had Neighbours as 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th, and 16th! Holy shit it’s massive there!
“It was always a rite of passage that you would do a role on Neighbours”
“It was always a rite of passage that you would do a role on Neighbours, go to the UK, do pantomimes, but I’ve kind of done it backwards.”
She adds, “There’s still a storyline open for me to be Scott & Charlene’s love child, but nobody has said yes to that.”
Dancing with the Stars 7pm Sunday on 10
Australian Story 8pm Monday on ABC
Update: Courtney will no longer appear on Q&A.