In a win her fellow drag queens are calling “historical,” RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Courtney Act was crowned the winner of U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother on Friday.
Act (whose real name is Shane Jenek) was outspoken about LGBTQ and trans issues and emerged as a fan favorite on the show’s 21st season. In the Big Brother house, Act had a budding romance with Apprentice star Andrew Brady and a rivalry with Ann Widdecombe, a former Member of Parliament who called Act a “tart.”
“I guess coming into the house is validation that it’s okay to be different,” Courtney told Celebrity Big Brother host Emma Willis.
It came down to Act and Widdecombe as the final two, but Act came out on top with 49 percent of the audience vote. The theme for the season was the “Year of the Woman.”
🌟We’ve done it, Courtney is crowned #CBB queen!🌟— Courtney Act (@courtneyact) February 2, 2018
A huge thank you to everyone who voted and cheered along the way, we couldn’t have done it with you! 👑🦄🌈❤️
#TeamShaneCourtney #CBBShane #CBBFinal @bbuk pic.twitter.com/YgGzpmEDrX
Act (whose drag name is a play on “caught in the act” with her native Australian accent) identifies as gender fluid but uses she/her pronouns in drag.
She began her reality TV career on the third season of American Idol in 2003, coming in 13th, and had success in Australia as a singer before going on to be a finalist on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Act had an especially memorable entrance on Celebrity Big Brother, tripping and losing her skirt as she was introduced.
Drag Race favorites, including season 6 winner Bianca del Rio and judge Michelle Visage, took to social media to condragulate Act on the win.
Congratulations to @courtneyact on winning CBBUK! 😍 Can’t wait to talk to you about Loona!— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) February 2, 2018
Trixie Mattel, who appeared in season 7 and is back for RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars season 3, noted how monumental the reality win really is.
Drag queens winning Drag Race is annual. A drag queen winning Big Brother is historical.— Trixie Mattel (@trixiemattel) February 3, 2018