Tell me how you came upon Tranna Wintour as your chosen name? (I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out if “Chantel Marostica” is my chosen name, or just a name I was given at birth, so for myself and a lot of other fans and trans youth/people out there... I think we could all really benefit with the how/why origin story behind the magnificent YOU)
My name is an homage to Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue (for those who don't know who she is, she was the basis for The Devil Wears Prada). Years ago I dressed up as Anna Wintour for Halloween and that same year my friend dressed up as a trans version of Justin Bieber, which I know sounds redundant. Anyway, that night we kept calling her "TransBieber" and eventually I said, "well if you're 'TransBieber,' than I'm Tranna Wintour." And the name just stuck. It's such a drag queen sounding name though, and I think sometimes that contributes to people's thinking that I'm a drag queen, which can be frustrating as a trans person. Although I think the name aside, there are just a lot of people, still, who don't understand the difference between being a drag queen and being a trans person, which is astonishing to me. I didn't know that "Tranna Wintour" would become my name when I started using it in the beginning, but I'm glad this name came to me organically because if I had to sit down and choose a name for myself, I don't know if I would have ever been able to make decision.
This show, YOUR show, will be the first all trans + gender non conforming comedy line-up... Ever? (I don’t know, at least that I’ve ever seen) How do you think highlighting trans voices benefits our community?
I am so excited for this, you have no idea, and to have a lineup of all trans/gender non-conforming performers is incredible and such a testament to the strides our community is making within the very cis hetero male world of comedy. I think the benefits of highlighting trans voices goes way beyond our community; comedy is a way to be heard by people you wouldn't ordinarily get the chance to speak to and I think it's so important for audiences to hear voices they haven't heard before. When queer people watch movies or TV shows that are centered around cis hetero characters, which is 99% of all movies and TV shows, we still see ourselves in the characters and relate to their experiences. Why wouldn't cis hetero people relate to our stories? And the answer is they would and they do, they just haven't been given many opportunities to hear our stories. When I talk about being trans on stage, I'm talking about identity, self-realization, appearances and those themes are universal and cis hetero people relate! I think sharing our stories outside of our community results in a kind of understanding that we, as trans people, are really not that different from anyone else. Shows like the one we're doing show people that our experiences have universal meaning; you don't have to be queer to come listen to queer stories, just as much as we have never had to be straight to understand and enjoy straight stories.
You’re coming up to TO for our photo shoot, for your show, and to be featured on Anasimone George’s hit show “SHADE”, you’ll be a busy bee while you’re here, but what are some Toronto fave things you HAVE to do while you’re here? How does one DO Toronto, “Tranna Wintour stylez??”
Haha OMG, my answer to this is so boring. When I'm in Toronto it's usually to work, so I never have much time to really do anything, but every time I'm in TO, I have to go to Uniqlo. I know that sounds so basic, but we don't have one in Montreal! And it's one of my favorite clothing stores because it's inexpensive but good quality clothing that is cool and effortless. I usually hit up a few record stores too, because my favorite thing to do in any city is record shop. Also, I only go to places in Toronto that are accessible by subway, I will not get on a streetcar. I am not walking out into the middle of a busy street and getting run over just to get on an outdated mode of transport.
What does allyship actually mean to you?
It means putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak. It means actually doing something and not just saying something. It means listening instead of talking.
Favourite DIVA, why/how/when/whatttt!?! DISHHHHH!!!
AHHH! It's very hard to choose a favourite because there are so many I worship, but if I'm being forced to choose one, I will have to go with Barbra Streisand. Barbra is simply Barbra! I mean, she's the greatest talent of the last 60 years. There is something so captivating and magical about her. When I look at her in the 60s, it's crazy to me that people thought she was ugly. No one has ever been more gorgeous than 1960s Barbra, and I could honestly just stare at pictures of her all day. And Barbra is also crazy, in her own way, which is a very important quality for a diva to have. A diva should never be too attached to the real world. Barbra built a New-England-barn-style mansion for herself in Malibu and published a book about it! She had her dog cloned! She is in her own world and I am so fascinated by her world.
Montreal ADORES you, you were recently top 2 on 8 top 10 lists, including 2nd on the “Hottet Montrealer” list.... BUT 2ND BEHIND THE GD PRIME MINISTER!!! What keeps YOU in love with the CITY that loves and adores you so GD much?
Honestly, one of the biggest things that keeps in love with Montreal is how affordable it is; this is the only city in the world I could live in right now and be able to fully support myself on the very little amount of money I make from "my art." So until I'm rich, I have to stay in love with Montreal out of necessity! The thing I hate the most though, is how so many Montrealers hate on their own city; yeah, Montreal is pretty economically run down but I think that's a good thing. The great Fran Lebowitz once said something along the lines of "a city cannot be interesting if it is only inhabited by rich people" and I could not agree more. Montreal is sexy, laid back, people here aren't driven by money in the same way people are in Toronto and other wealthy cities. Montrealers want to have a good time and enjoy life, and I feel like that is totally in tune with my values. I could never live somewhere super corporate.
You are such a BRIGHT positive LIGHT, you awe and inspire me (YES, I’m obsessed. DEAL.) How do you stay positive? This world can be terribly wearing, especially to our trans siblings on the lgbtqqi2saa rainbow. What’s your secret, or mantra behind being such a positive force, how do you make it seem SO GD EASY!
OMG! Well, first I am completely in awe of you and you inspire me so profoundly. This world is SO FUCKING WEARING and I'm sorry if I make being positive look easy, because it's not and I am definitely not positive all the time. But I am very conscious of how destructive negative energy is; like, I'm scared of negative energy, so I do everything in my power to keep it at bay. When I find myself being negative (which I think also includes being judgmental, being jealous, being self-pitying), I usually call or meet up with a friend and vent. I purge those feelings and release them. I do not hold onto them. There are also a few books I turn to when I need help to check myself and realign myself with my values. There's a chapter in Amy Poehler's book called "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," which every creative person making a living from their work needs to read. And there's a book called "The Four Agreements" which has become my mantra. The four agreements are: be impeccable with your word, do not take anything personally, do not make assumptions, and always do your best. It sounds simple, and it is, but the power of committing to these agreements is incredible and I genuinely believe the key to living well in a crazy world. It's a super short, easy to read book, it's not religious, it's just universal truth and everyone needs to read it and re-read it as often as they need to. And I only surround myself with great, intelligent, thoughtful people. Who you surround yourself with is crucial.
Chosen Family, your podcast is doing amazingly, you’re a crowd favourite on ANY/EVERY show, you’re on top of every hit list.... Every time I think you’ve hit the glass ceiling, you break it and set a new bar for all of us, what’s next Tranna? How do you plan to take over the world? PLEASE TELL ME IT INVOLVES A PERFUME LINE!!!
Haha one of my dreams is to have a perfume line! I don't really have a plan to take over the world, and I don't think I even want to take over the world. My number one priority in life is being able to support myself through my creative work, because I literally can never go back to a day job. Doing any other job but this would kill me. If fame and wealth come to me in the process, I obviously welcome them (and I will give most of the wealth away), but I think being results-oriented is harmful to the creative process and that's something I've had to remind myself of lately. Since my living depends on my creativity, it is very difficult to not think about results (money, reach, etc.), but I truly believe things come together as they are meant to. Nothing happens magically, of course, you have to do the work, you have to show up, but everything beyond that is out my control. I am committed to trusting that the rest will work itself out. And I do trust. I know that I am doing what I'm meant to be doing. My focus now is about doing work that feels good; I am not going to ever do another show that doesn't feel good. I am focused on creating work that is thoughtful, intelligent, funny, inclusive; work that builds community. I genuinely want to bring people together to experience a moment of joy, a moment of reassurance and empowerment.