Posted // 2009-05-03 - I
think its fair to say that the general Utah press has never quite had
the tranny point of view presented fairly... well, until
Princess Kennedy has taken the local scene by storm over
the past year. Asserting herself as one of the foremost club experts,
voicing change in both music and fashion trends, chatting up her
globe trotting career, and in the process has become a must-read
writer for SLUG Magazine. Not a bad resume at all. I got a
chance to chat with the Princess about growing up in Utah, her life
abroad, times in PEPPERSPRAY, and her return to SLC. Along with a few
other topics here and there.
Hey Kennedy! First up, tell us a little bit about
Kennedy:Tube tops, tee tops and flip flops. Fast cars, fierce friends
and expensive jewelry. I like to be bossy and hate goat
Gavin: How did you first discover yourself
wanting to be a tranny, and how was that experience for
always identified female but never felt I was born in the wrong body.
It makes me much more interesting and marketable. I was raised Mormon
in SLC. I moved back two years ago after being gone for about 15
where I made a career on being a tranny. I modeled for most of my
twenties and had a great career as a singer in four plus bands. I
have about eight independent films under my garter, with half of them
being award winners including best comedic performance at the
Brazilian independent film fest and an award in the NYGLBT film fest.
I have New York Magazine with me on one page and Halle Berry on the
next, I love to pull it out and reminisce.
did you first start dressing up in public, and what was that like for
both yourself and the people who knew you?
Kennedy:Young, like twelve maybe even nine. I don’t really remember.
I’m not sure I gave anyone a choice to object.
How was it for you growing up in Utah with the conservative
mentality as it is? And did you take any harassment or did people opt
to avoid the topic?
Kennedy:Lord, high school was a nightmare. At Highland the Asst.
Principal, Don Barlow, would call me into the office and let the
football team (verbally) torture me. Can you imagine if they tried
that today. I found friends and solace in the then underage gay
clubs. Maxim, London Underground, Impulse, Palladium. We were
extremely lucky to have that outlet.
Gavin: Did having
a twin have any affect on how you growing up?
is amazing! She too is Tranny, still in California.
We’re best frienemys. We’re known as the VonBlondenberg Sisters
in the S.F. social scene and are they’re answer to the Hilton
sisters. I hit my head she gets a headache, she gets drunk in public I
get the bad press. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I miss
living close to her.
Gavin: I read the piece where you
talk about misconception over the word Tranny. Does it get
frustrating having all those different terms lumped under one
for a Tranny. It's frustrating to try to get people to understand. It
can feel a little like people, gay and straight, aren’t interested
in learning the difference say between a transvestite vs. drag queen.
It may not seem like a difference, but to us it’s matters. It’s
getting better though. ‘Tranny’ just makes it easier.
How did you get into the entertainment aspect of it?
Kennedy:It’s defiantly in my blood from a young age. Total theater
queen in high school. I was a drag performer in a club called
Trannyshack in S.F. and got asked to be in these crazy rock operas
with a troop called the Tuck and Roll Players. From there it went to
side projects like PEPPERSPRAY!
Gavin: What was your
time like playing in the band PEPPERSPRAY!?
Kennedy:So crazy, we just thought it would be fun. The brain child,
Peter Fogle, had the foresight. There were five singers (all
trannies) two guitar players a bassist drummer, key board and two to
four hot punk boy acrobat go-go dancers. Complete chaos! Rock and
roll in five part harmony. We had only been together for eight months
and only gigging for four when we were pick up to open for Cher. We
got to play amazing venues like the infamous Fillmore. We did a
couple street fairs playing for of a million people. Mind
blowing to get play stadiums and such. An experience I never saw
coming. However it becomes a grind. People telling you what to wear,
how to act, what to sing. I like my smaller side projects a little
more. When you're in a band your married to every member. Surprisingly
we did I think four years with very little drama, which was amazing
for all that ego. You can find us on iTunes.
Did you think you'd be traveling around the globe as much as you did,
or was the more of a welcomed surprise?
Kennedy:It was more of a quest I guess. Once you get the travailing
bug it’s pretty addictive, more so when you're touring cause its paid
for. My time abroad was with Blondeturage, Trannyshack and an
amazing restaurant/nightclub chain I worked for as a hostess and
singer Supperclub. It becomes a challenge to see where you could get
a gig. I never imagined the places I'd go. Iceland, Asia, Africa, so
magical. I definitely suggest doing while you're young.
After reading up on your time spent on both coasts, if you had to
pick one, which would be your favorite... California or New
couldn’t possibly; they're both home to me in completely different
ways. NY is so inspiring and driven. California is beautiful and
mellow. I have many people I love in both. If I was to move from here
I’m drawn to New Orleans for some reason.
all the years of travel and experiences, how would you sum all those
Kennedy:It was like a PhD in life. I’ve been to every state in
America but Alaska thanks to touring with the S.F. Opera and most of
the world. I have yet to hit South America, India and Australia,
those will be next. I've been given opportunity, experience and
friends people only get to dream of, I thank my lucky stars everyday
for how fortunate I am.
Gavin: Did you ever think
you'd be coming back to live in SLC again?
Kennedy:Five years ago that would have been a hell-to-the-no. It's
amazing what becomes important as you get older. My parents (who are
up there in age) moved back here from Manhattan and I hadn’t lived
by them for years. I missed them. My mom is one of my best friends.
Plus I want to go on to get my masters in, at this point,
Gavin: What's it been like for you since
returning to Utah?
Kennedy:I’m so impressed. It’s not the backwoods repressed horror
show I left in ‘93. The opportunity I've been given here is
astounding with the Weekly and SLUG. There aren’t
many cities that have Tranny writers and I get to go down as the
first here. That's pretty amazing for our red religious state. It
really impresses people on the coasts.
Gavin: How did
the opportunity come up to write for SLUG, and how has that
been going so far?
Kennedy:One part Jedi mind trick and a whole lot of self marketing.
Angela and her minions are fabulous. If I want something I pursue it
fiercely till I get it. I felt SLC was ready to see life through my
eyes and experience. SLUG was missing the gay voice so I just
wore them down till they gave in.
Gavin: Besides the
writing, what else have you got going on in town?
Kennedy:I do a lot of hosting at night clubs. A salon in Sugarhouse.
I also have cute house on 9th East that I love to hang at,
garden and cook. The SLUG thing and contributing to the Weekly
all keep me in a constant state, which I thrive on.
A little statewide, thoughts on the local club scene, both good and
getting better. So many still do the same old tired thing but change
is happening. I like to think I share a little credit to
Gavin: Anything you believe could be done to
make it bigger or better?
Kennedy:Time money and commitment, as all things. You’ve got to
spend money to make money. You have to travel and see what's “in”.
There are a lot of promoters that don’t get that. They have this
misconception of clubs running themselves. It show in the ones who
are truly committed.
Gavin: Do you believe local media
is covering the scene well, or are there parts everyone is just
missing the ball on?
Kennedy:That's what I'm here for. Its for the most part, all live
music coverage. I’m happy to give the what's up in the DJ and
performance artist scene.
Gavin: What's your take on
the GLBT community and how its represented and treated in
lots of buzz outside the state on us with the whole gay marriage
thing. It’s good we have a large gay community, its bad they acts
like a small town. The problem is not only outside the community.
There’s way to much infighting and backbiting. There’s this
yucky competition vibe here that really sucks. We can expect the
others to take us seriously if we’re going to be a bunch of b!$%#es
to each other.
Gavin: What can we expect from you the
rest of the year?
Kennedy:I'm doing my first band project in SLC at a new night
starting on May 21st at Urban. Vicious Beauty will be the
house band at the night called TransSister. It should be fun tranny
punk rock debauchery or completely terrible but definably
entertaining. Other than my life is constantly taking unexpected
turns so just keep reading my columns in SLUG.
Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or
Kennedy:Actually, ya! My
salon. It’s called Deano’s, right next to the big hole in
Sugarhouse. Most people know it cause it’s the little one chair
glass cube (I call it The Sugarcube). I’ve been a hair dresser for
half my life and still work at an award winning top ratted salon in
California. I’ve had clients like Anna Nicole Smith, The Go-Gos,
B52s, NoFX and many others. I was the head of the S.F. Opera wig and
make-up for their touring leg. I worked on “Dr. Quinn: Medicine
Woman” the year they took the Emmy for best hair and designed for
UT Shakes when they took the Tony. With the debacle of Sugarhouse and
the economy I’m getting slaughtered, so come support! Go to
for booking info. There's nothing I can’t do, which is pretty much
the motto I use for life. And
finally if people have any club stuff they want send me, send me an
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.