Transgender icon Calpernia Addams is in Australia for the ‘Gender Trailblazer’ event, and we got to chat with her!
“It’s my first time in Australia and I love it!” Calpernia said when asked about her visit so far, “Everyone is so friendly and everything is so beautiful. There are blue skies and it feels so summery! I even tried some Kangaroo steak!”
Calpernia first caught international attention after the release of the 2003 movie, “Soldier’s Girl”, about her relationship with murdered US Army soldier Barry Winchell. Her film received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations that ultimately played a pivotal role in ending the US Military’s oppressive “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
During this time, Calpernia and her business partner Andrea James had set up a production company in Hollywood called “Deep Stealth Productions”, where they aimed to change the misconceptions that people had toward transgender people.
“When Andrea and I first moved to Hollywood there was a very negative portrayal of transgender people in the entertainment industry” Calpernia explained, “We wanted to reach out to people to change their minds toward transgender people. It needed to change!”
Their production company began making video tutorials for transgender makeup applications, when suddenly Hollywood took notice and came knocking on the door.
“The make-up tutorials got thousands of views, and then it just blew up!” Calpernia describes how it happened, “Then we were being asked to coach celebrities for movie roles”.
Calpernia has had the opportunity to work with Felicity Huffman for her role in “Transamerica” and Jared Leto for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club”. Both films and actors were nominated for Golden Globes and Oscars. Huffman won the Golden Globe in 2005 and Leto took home the Oscar in 2013.
“I remember recording the lines for him because he wanted to hear them in my voice” Calpernia tells of her time spent with Jared Leto, “And when he took me as his honorary date to the film premier for Dallas Buyers Club, he told me that he listened to my voice over a hundred times. It was so surreal to hear that someone of his calibre has listened to my voice so many times”.
Calpernia will join fellow Transgender activist and musician Page Elliot Pheonix, Dr Elizabeth Riley, and special guest Aram Hosie for a night of inspiring personal stories, intriguing conversations, and fun-filled entertainment in a celebration of Transgender Trailblazers.
“It’s going to be a fun night!” Calpernia fills me in on what to expect, “I have a few fun stories, from growing up in the South, to being a combat medic in the Gulf War, through to my work in Hollywood. There’ll be video clips and performances too, so it won’t be boring!”
Gender Trailblazers is on Saturday 21st Feb from 7.30pm at the Seymour Centre in Sydney. Tickets are available to pre-purchase or you can buy them at the door for $35. Click here for more info!
Calpernia Addams was so fun to interview and I even discovered that she’s a big fan of perfumes! Her favourite perfume at the moment is “L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain” and she buys it direct from France as a concentrated perfume extract. She said it costs her a pretty penny, but it’s so worth it!