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CLASS ACT

SHE FINISHED A DISTANT 13TH ON AUSTRALIAN IDOL, CAME CLOSE ON DRAG RACE, BUT CBB GAVE COURTNEY ACT HER CROWNING GLORY. NOW SHE TELLS US ABOUT IDENTIFYING AS PANSEXUAL AND WHY ANN WIDDECOMBE COULD HAVE BEEN THE THIRD SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Courtney wears dress by Missguided, earrings by H&M, crown, stylist’s own. Shane wears suit, shirt and bow tie, all by Dsquared2, crown by Nicopanda

Shane Jenek, aka Courtney Act sans maquillage, is a little bewildered by the attention that’s suddenly come his way. Clearly, nobody goes into the Celebrity Big Brother house intending to lose, but winning isn’t necessarily a goal everyone believes is achievable. Not least when your claim to fame is entering Australian Idol way back in 2003, followed by being runner-up on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which, at the time, was still a relatively cult TV show on a minor US network.

“It’s all a bit weird,” says Shane, 36, as he slips into a sparkling gown for his Attitude photoshoot. “I’m usually running to magazines asking if they’ll do a small story on me and calling gay bars for gigs. Now I have TV stations beating my door down for interviews.” Although he hasn’t stopped since, the morning after Shane’s huge win on CBB was less weird and more surreal.

“I got to the hotel and realised I was hungry, I walked down to Mildred’s in King’s Cross, got a table for one and sat in the corner and felt kinda lame. The winner of CBB sitting there by myself, at a table for one having my first meal in the real world.”

However, it wasn’t long before the appreciative fans started to flock.

“The maître d’ came up to me and the woman at the table next to me took some selfies. Drag Race fame is predominantly straight girls — and gay men, obviously — but the majority of the audience is female. “I’m used to the girl at the make-up counter saying hello, but you can’t spot a CBB fan, you don’t know who they are until they come up and give you a hug.

Shane says the response he has experienced from such a broad section of society has been pretty epic. “Knowing that it’s more than just about being on TV or winning something, it’s something you represented, that’s probably the most validating thing.”

Courtney wears dress by Missguided, earrings by H&M, crown, stylist’s own Shane wears suit, shirt and bow tie all by Dsquared2, crown by Nicopanda

When you were sitting on the CBB sofa on the final night and the results were coming in, what was going through your mind?

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About Attitude

James Corden on the importance of being an LGBT+ ally. Plus, Celebrity Big Brother and Drag Race star Courtney Act, Queer Eye's Karamo Brown, and the shocking truth about LGBT homelessness.