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Gavin's Underground

Princess Kennedy

by Gavin Sheehan
- 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 now.

  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.

Princess Kennedy

http://www.slugmag.com/

Gavin: Hey Kennedy! First up, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kennedy: Tube tops, tee tops and flip flops. Fast cars, fierce friends and expensive jewelry. I like to be bossy and hate goat cheese.

Gavin: How did you first discover yourself wanting to be a tranny, and how was that experience for you?

Kennedy: I‘ve 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.

Gavin: When 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.

Gavin: 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?

Kennedy: Jordan 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 word?

Kennedy: Not 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.
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Gavin: 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.

Gavin: 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.

Gavin: After reading up on your time spent on both coasts, if you had to pick one, which would be your favorite... California or New York?

Kennedy: I 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.

Gavin: In all the years of travel and experiences, how would you sum all those years up?

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, Journalism.

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.

Gavin: A little statewide, thoughts on the local club scene, both good and bad?

Kennedy: It’s 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 that.

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 Utah?

Kennedy: Well, 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.

Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

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
www.deanoshairstudio.com 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 theprincesskennedy@yahoo.com.
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