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Courtney Act & Vanity's New Podcast Is Serving Laughs, Honesty, & Joy

Courtney Act & Vanity's New Podcast Is Serving Laughs, Honesty, & Joy

Courtney Act & Vanity's New Podcast Is Serving Laughs, Honesty, & Joy

The two Aussie drag superstars chat with PRIDE about their latest podcast project Brenda, Call Me!’


It's not often you get to work professionally with your best friend, but when it does happen, the results can be amazing! Such is the case with RuPaul's Drag Race season 6 alum Courtney Act teaming up with hairstylist and wig extraordinaire Vanity and their new Nova Entertainment podcast Brenda, Call Me! 

PRIDE got to chat with the two drag icons and besties (who have been friends for many years) about how Brenda, Call Me! got started, the upcoming season of Drag Race Down Under, being open and honest with their listeners, their friendship, and so much more! 

PRIDE: Take us behind the genesis of the podcast! What made you want to start one, and bring your voices to the market?

Vanity: Living on opposite sides of the world for most of our 20-year friendship, Courtney and I have always talked on the phone, and while we were all in lockdown during COVID last year and we both wanted to be able to communicate, work, and do fabulous things from the comfort of our own homes. We then thought maybe people would want to listen in on the super interesting things we talk about! Then as Courtney came back to Australia and restrictions started to lift, it evolved into the format we now have.

Courtney Act: I'm not entirely sure how the podcast came about. Somebody suggested doing a podcast with Vanity, and I said, 'That sounds like a bloody great idea.'

For those new to the podcast, can you briefly who the heck Brenda is, and why did you name a podcast after her?

V: Well Brenda is a nickname that Courtney and I have called each other for over 20 years. The actual line 'Brenda, call me,' is from a movie from 1990 called Madhouse. It doesn't really have any significance to what we're doing now apart from the fact we adopted the name Brenda, but you have to listen to the first episode to hear more about it!

CA: Brenda is actually the name that Vanity and I call each other. I didn't realize until it was explained to me in the first episode why we call each other Brenda, but it's from a movie. I can't remember what the movie is called, but it's a line from a movie from the '90s. Kirstie Alley is in the movie. That's what I remember. Madhouse? Funhouse? Basically, wherever we are in the world, we never quite knew what the time zones were and so we would just message 'Brenda, call me,' if wanted to chat, and if the other person was awake, then we would chat.


You both talk about a wide range of topics on the podcast, and you aren't afraid to talk about your lives! Did you have any hesitations about being so open and vulnerable with your audience? What's your favorite part about sharing your stories with others?

V: I've shared almost everything on Instagram for years now and have actually found it really therapeutic and healing to be so open with my audience so I have no problems with being vulnerable, although I probably don't need to share so much when I'm drunk...but I'm learning! I guess you could say my favorite part is just feeling connected to people, because even though our lives are all so different we are all sharing the human experience together, and I think that's really nice.

CA: Yeah. I think the good thing about doing a podcast with your best friend is that you feel safe. It's a safe environment. When I'm working with other drag queens, even if they're friends, it never quite feels safe. Everybody's always out for a laugh and out to have fun. But with Vanity, I think our friendship and our care for each other comes first. So, to talk about personal childhood stuff feels like a really nourishing thing to do when you're with your best friend.

You've both friends for years. What's it like to get to actually work together on a project that people all over the world can tune into and listen to?

V: We've worked together lots over the years, but this is the first time that we've done something in this format. There is a certain amount of pressure to always put your best foot forward, and unlike Courtney who is a seasoned pro in the entertainment industry, I'm far from perfect. But I do hope that the authenticity is always there because I think that's really important.

CA: We've both been friends for years. What's it like to actually work together on a project with people all over the world? It's really fun to work together on this project. I have been doing lots of this sort of in front of the camera, in front of the microphone stuff for years. Vanity has been being prolific behind the scenes working as head of wigs and makeup on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, all around the world, traveling all around the world, doing that, and then film and television and theater. Now to bring both of our worlds together, where we get to have such a good time, is really special.

You've mentioned in the podcast that there were points in time where the two of you used to have to call each other from opposite ends of the world and in different time zones. What's it like for the two of you to both be back in the same time zone and getting to work together?

V: It's honestly really great. It's funny because the whole premise of the podcast was that we were on opposite sides of the world, but to be able to do it in the same room is actually so much better. Especially for me being a newcomer at this type of work, it's great having my best friend next to me to show me the ropes.

CA: We were meant to be on opposite sides of the world, recording this podcast. But it just so happened that we ended up actually in the same place, which I think makes it much easier. No time delay, no stuffing around with Zoom, and all that sort of jazz. So, I quite appreciate that we can just sit next to each other in the very posh and glamorous Nova Studios in Sydney and record this podcast.

Drag Race Down Under is coming soon! What's it like knowing that Australian and New Zealand queens can finally get their spotlight on the world's Drag Race stage? And can we expect to see y'all on the show at some point and in some capacity?

V: I'm excited to see Aussie queens and New Zealand queens on the drag race stage, and those with a keen eye will be able to spot my work adorned on the heads of a few contestants. You can be sure I'll be rooting for all my friends who will be on it, and I hope to one day be lucky enough to make the cut.

CA: The cast is actually being announced tomorrow night at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. So, by the time this comes out, you'll probably know who the cast are. I love Drag Race. I love Australian drag, and I'm so excited to see Australian drag get showcased to the world. My only disappointment is that Vanity's not on the show because she is the best that we've got.


What's something (or someone) that hasn't been discussed on the podcast yet, but you want to talk about in a future episode?

V: There are so many things, but we will keep that between ourselves. I guess you'll just have to tune in to find out!

CA: What hasn't been discussed on the podcast yet? Oh, we've talked a lot about childhood. We've talked about sex. We're going to have some guests in the future episodes, so we've been lining those up, some very special guests, which I'm excited about. It's just interesting getting the feedback and hearing what our listeners are responding to and chatting about that.

If you had to describe your friendship with each other in three words, what would they be?

V: Family, trust, fun.

CA: Family, unconditional, love.

Who would be your dream podcast guest?

V: Cher. Obviously.

CA: Who would our realistic dream podcast guest be, or who would our actual dream podcast guest be? Well, Meghan and Harry, since they're entering in the podcast field. Michelle and Barack, they're also new to the podcast world, so we could possibly have them on the show and give them some tips if they're interested.

I know the pandemic situation is really good in Australia right now as compared to other places, but a lot of people elsewhere are still going through some hard times, and human connection is more important than ever right now. What's it like knowing that no matter where they are, your fans from all over the world can feel connected to you via this podcast? And what message do you have for them in this moment in time?

V: I feel really thankful to be in a country where the pandemic isn't life-threatening and we are able to have some sense of normalcy, but it's also really humbling and inspiring to be able to connect with people who are living very isolated and in lockdown and bring a bit of joy and laughter through the podcast. When we were in lockdown here in Sydney I started collecting Barbies and made lots of silly Barbie videos to keep myself sane. In a world that's full of so much craziness that is out of our control, having a connection to my inner child and simpler times was really helpful for me. So I guess the message I have would be to try your best to find joy and fun in everything you do — brighter days are coming!

CA: I just love seeing that people literally all around the world, are listening to our podcasts. We've been chatting in, obviously, the USA and the UK and Canada, but also in the United Arab Emirates and in Singapore and in Lebanon and the Philippines and all sorts of countries around the world. So, we definitely have lots of people listening from everywhere, and we just want to send out love and say, thank you for listening. We're so grateful that you want to drop in on two friends cutting up and kiki-ing and having a good time and hanging out with us each week.


Brenda, Call Me! is available here and wherever you stream podcasts!

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director,

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel