From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ to ‘Celebrity Big Brother,’ How Courtney Act Became the Queen of Reality Television

Courtney Act is much more than the beautiful blonde from Australian Idol. She was the calm, collected activist on Celebrity Big Brother, she was a finalist on RuPaul’s Drag Race, she was a contestant on MTV’s Single AF, and a competitor on Dancing with the Stars. More than anything, Courtney Act is a visible member of the LGBTQ+ community, educating viewers on gender terminology and drag queens. Learn more about her history with reality television here.

First, Courtney Act was a contestant on Australian Idol

In 2003, Courtney Act first came into the public spotlight by performing in drag on Austrian Idol. She competed until the finals, singing songs like “You Don’t Own Me” and “I Am A Woman.” Even though she didn’t win, Courtney became a household name in Australia, later moving to the United States and competing on the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race as her drag character.

RuPaul's Drag Race
Courtney Act performs during RuPaul’s Drag Race show | Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Courtney Act made it to the Top 3 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

With a plucky attitude and a few iconic looks, Courtney Act headed for America to compete in the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. This season, which premiered in 2014, featured prominent drag queens like Bianca Del Rio, Ben Dela Creme, and Adore Delano.

Courtney Act, however, stood out because of her singing voice, her “fishy” looks, and her confident attitude. Although she did not win this season, she made it to the top three and became a favorite among Drag Race fans.

Courtney Act
Courtney Act | Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

She was the winner of ‘Celebrity Big Brother U.K.’

Following her success on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Courtney Act competed on Celebrity Big Brother’s United Kingdom edition. There, the drag queen appeared both in and out of drag. Sometimes, she educated other members of the house about queer culture and gender terminology. She might have gotten off to a rocky start with a wardrobe malfunction, but eventually, Courtney won her season of Celebrity Big Brother.

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve come to realize is I love the UK’s relationship with masculinity, sexuality, and femininity,” Courtney said during an interview with Gay Times. “If you look at pop culture here throughout history, whether it is someone like Russell Brand, or Harry Styles, or John Lennon, or intellects like Stephen Fry and Richard Dawkins, these are not men who in other Western societies would be primarily held up as ‘men.’ Nobody questions these men’s masculinity or their sexuality, these are just different types of men. Whereas in Australia and in the US, it’s a lot more about ‘being a man.'”

Courtney Act was on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Most recently, Courtney Act appeared on Dancing With The Stars Australia. Again, she featured gender fluidity in her dances. (She even took off her wig during her performance of “Real Men” by Joe Jackson.) Unfortunately, Courtney and her partner did not win their season of the dancing series.

Where can fans see Courtney Act? Recently, the drag performer appeared on an episode of UNHhhh and even had a booth at RuPaul’s DragCon. Aside from appearing in Pride events across the globe, fans can usually find Courtney Act cooking and eating on her Instagram.