How did you first become involved with The Masked Singer?
Well, every year, in the UK and Australia, I am guessed as one of the singers and I thought, ‘Well, I should finally go.’ All these people [who have been guessed as Courtney Act] are getting paid to be on The Masked Singer, so I should finally go and get my paycheque!
I got the call, and I was really excited to do it because it seemed just so silly, and it was. The Square Division, who are the creative directors, I just love everything they do. They do Britney [Spears], Nicki [Minaj], Kylie [Minogue] and so to get to work with them and do their creatives to these songs, it’s just an honour and so fun, even if you are stuck inside a giant anthropomorphic cow suit.
Throughout your career, you’ve had a lot of performance experience, especially during your time on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Was there anything that you did differently to prepare for your performance on The Masked Singer?
Chin-ups with a weight vest on! I remember Gary Pinto, who is the vocal coach, saying that Julia Morris took the physical side of [The Masked Singer] very seriously. Depending on your costume, it can be heavy. Mine was heavy and mine was hot, so I genuinely was trying to strengthen my neck to support the weight of the costume. The first time you put the costume on and you go out on stage and you do a run-through, it was miserable.
The thing you love about performing is getting to feel free and comfortable, and it felt like all of that was gone. I remember going back to my dressing room and just being so grumpy thinking, ‘Oh god, I’ve got to do this for how many weeks?’ Then I let go of all of that baggage and then came back to do [Miley Cyrus’] Flowers and I just found the joy in getting to be silly and trying to understand how to make this giant cow costume come alive.
How difficult was it to be able to find a way to express yourself while being not only visually limited but also physically limited?
It’s so hard. It was kind of the hardest thing of the job. Singing on television is challenging at the best of times, and then doing light choreography, but doing it inside the costume, was so challenging. It probably doesn’t look or sound challenging to the audience, and I guess that’s part of being an entertainer.
It’s the opposite of today’s psychology where you’re being vulnerable and honest but performing is actually grinning and bearing it and trying to give other people a fun time, even though you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally suffering, but it’s also actually really fun.
How did you decide on Cowgirl as your mask?
I did get to look at a few masks, and I chose Cowgirl. Instantly when I saw Cowgirl, she just made sense to me because she was so fun and so silly. It’s a cow with giant pink lips! Something like the Space Fairy maybe felt more obviously what people think of Courtney, whereas Cowgirl felt a little more authentically me.
She was glamorous, and maybe because she’s a cow with lipstick, but something felt like she was a cow in drag.
Only Chrissie Swan guessed your identity correctly. Were you surprised by the other judge's guesses?
I reckon Abbie caught on, but I feel like Chrissie was the one who clocked it first. I remember [Chrissie] saying, ‘If this is who I think it is, I hope you know that I love you and I think you’re a fabulous entertainer.’
I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was me, and when I finally took [the mask] off she was like, ‘Just to be clear, you did know that already that I love you and I think you’re wonderful’ and I was like, ‘I do, thank you, Chrissie.’
Obviously, the other contestant's identities are still a closely guarded secret, but do you have any guesses of your own about who may be under some of the other masks?
Now watching it, the only one is Grim Reaper.
Grim Reaper, Space Fairy, and I sang a song together early on. We’ve got our in-ear monitors in, because to be able to sing together, you have to be able to hear each other. That was the only time that I heard anyone’s voice, and I clocked Grim’s voice in the first sound check. When he performed, I was like, ‘Oh, I know who that is!’
In between, I heard Space Fairy talk to herself and I was like, 'I hear that Geordie accent,’ and that’s what cottoned me on [that Space Fairy was Charlotte Crosby], but I absolutely have no idea who anyone else was.
Trying to keep track of all the cryptic clues is definitely tricky! How did you go about creating your clues?
There’s a clue person who asks you lots of questions and then writes the clues, and to be honest, sometimes when I heard the clues I was like, ‘How is that [me?]’
There were three Christmas elves dancing at one point, and it said something like, ‘I work with some of the biggest names in the business and some of the shortest,’ and then I was like oh, that’s The Veronicas and I performing the Christmas show in Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, and they’re two of the biggest and two of the shortest in the industry.
All the Cher references were about my friendship with Chaz Bono.