Courtney Act is the stage name of Shane Jenek, an Australian drag performer, reality TV show contestant and singer. Jenek is well known for being a contestant on Season 1 of Australian Idol in 2003 and on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014.
Act was born in Brisbane, Australia and moved to Sydney at age 18. She originally intended to take the name Ginger Le’Bon and be a “redheaded, smoky voiced nightclub singer.” Instead, she took the stage name Courtney Act which is a pun on the phrase caught in the act as pronounced in a non-rhotic accent such as Australian English.
In December 2013, Logo announced that Courtney Act was among 14 drag queens who would be competing on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She later went on to become a finalist in the competition, alongside fellow contestants Adore Delano and Bianca Del Rio, but in the season finale lost the title to Bianca Del Rio.
Courtney Act became the first drag performer in history to sing live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra In July 2014. Act appeared as a guest performer with Cheyenne Jackson in “Hello, Gorgeous! Cheyenne Jackson Goes to the Movies”. The two sang a duet of “Elephant Love Song” from the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge.
In September 2014, Courtney Act, along with Willam Belli and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, were the first drag queens to become ad girls for American Apparel. They worked for the campaign Support Artists, Support Ethical Manufacturing of the fashion brand, featuring three limited exclusive T-shirts that honors each drag queen’s talents and allure.
Courtney also has a Wig Company called Wigs By Vanity that she set up in 2003 for drag queens with a business partner and fellow drag queen, Vanity Faire. In December 2015, Courtney was featured on two singles from the Christmas Queens LP, From Head To Mistletoe and Christmas Sweater with fellow American Apparel ad girls Willam and Alaska.
As of 2016, Courtney Act has been a foreign correspondent for the Australian news website, Junkee. Act covered the Presidential election of 2016 for the site, attending rallies of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Following Trump’s election, Act also participated in and reported on the 2017 Women’s March. In February 2017, Act was featured on a single with American recording artist Bielfield, “Dance Again”, released by Sony Music Australia.