Jackie Beat is the drag personae of actor, singer, songwriter and screenwriter Kent Fuhrer, who has to be one of the most trans-fabulous stage divas on this purple panty loving planet. If I had the space I could write a book about Jackie who happens to be a legend in her own time and in her brilliant and amazingly creative mind. Now since she’s too busy to throw herself a plug I would be remiss here if I did not mention that Miss Jackie has appeared in numerous feature and indie films in and out of drag along with a number of sitcoms. We should also mention that Miss Beat has appeared on Sex in The City and she was a keypad pounder for the short lived comedy series “Hype” on the WB Television Network.
Jackie is a solid gold and well loved and respected fixture on the Big Apple cabaret scene and every Holiday she packs them in for sold out and standing-room-only shows at Fez. And she has to be on the right track and kudos to Jackie for going for it and now she is trekking her stage show, dance tracks with her over the top trance-drag band Dirty Sanchez. They are a band like no other as you can well imagine!
Please keep in mind that these images of Jackie are by one of our fave photographers Austin Young. Feel free to scoot on over to austinyoung.com and check out his amazing portraits. He’s also a filmmaker and has directed videos for Jackie and her band Dirty Sanchez.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like every kid, I wanted to be a rock star or a famous actor. But I thought I was being practical by settling on a career as a martini-swilling advertising executive like Darren Stevens on “Bewitched.” And, in essence, I did end up in advertising. I am the product and I have to sell myself every night. No wonder I am obsessed with “Mad Men!”
Were you ever bullied in school?
Oh God, yes. I remember always being either threatened with physical harm or actually being beat up. Everyone said, “You have to learn how to defend yourself” but the thought of punching someone in the face sounded even worse than getting punched. It’s like stepping on a cockroach and that crunch reverberates through your foot, into your leg and up into your whole body. The very thought made me sick to my stomach. I remember in high school once it was one of those stupid theme days when everyone dresses up. This one was called “Star Day” and I dressed up like a member of DEVO. Well, this was before punk and new wave became popular with the jocks and someone threw a rock at my head and called me a fag. Two years later they were all singing “Whip It” and wearing wraparound sunglasses. Assholes.
How did you break into show business?
When I first moved to Los Angeles way back in the crazy 1980’s I was a serious artist and poet. They used to have these poetry readings and people like Robert Downey Jr. and Ally Sheedy would read their crappy poems. I used to go every week and sign up, but they would never “get to me.” Of course the drunk, horrible famous people always got to read their poetry. So one week, fed up, I dressed like a Beatnik girl: Black pageboy wig, black beret, black turtleneck, black skirt, black leggings and black boots. Not only would they not let me read, they wouldn’t even let me in! So I went to the big gay bar, Rage, and entered the talent competition and won! The first song parody I ever did was Madonna’s “Vogue” and “Vague.”
Who or what inspires you?
I just saw Sandra Bernhard perform last night and she is, quite honestly, the reason I am a performer. I love her so much. She is fearless and profane and dangerous, but vulnerable and tender and needy. She is raw and real all dressed up as fake and phony and I think that is my approach, too. For all the artifice, I think I cut through the bullshit pretty well. I love funny women. I grew up watching Carol Burnett and I have had the pleasure of working with Roseanne Barr and I am currently writing for Joan Rivers. What can I say? I love mouthy broads!
By Boy Mike
Read all of this interview in Transformation 80.