Australian drag star Courtney Act has won the 21st series of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother in a landslide, winning 49% of the vote out of the five finalists.
Leaving the house dressed in a gold mini dress and with her pink hair in a high ponytail, Courtney told host Ema Willis: “I don’t know what this means … is it real life? This is amazing.”
She described everything as feeling “very surreal right now”.
“It’s amazing to think that the public have chosen me, I guess it’s validation of the things I came here believing in,” Courtney said.
“My inspiration for coming into the house was a teenage boy who didn’t quite know where he belonged or how he fit in, and not knowing what that meant.
“I learned that it’s okay to be different.”
?We’ve done it, Courtney is crowned #CBB queen!?
A huge thank you to everyone who voted and cheered along the way, we couldn’t have done it with you! ?ﾟﾦﾄ?￢ﾝﾤ️
— Courtney Act (@courtneyact) February 2, 2018
The topic of gender and sexuality came up frequently during the show, often in clashes with runner-up Ann Widdecombe, a former British politician.
“I was just having conversations with people about things that I’m passionate about,” Courtney said.
Courtney Act is the drag persona of Shane Jenek, and was known by both names during their time on the show.
Many viewers praised Courtney/Shane for their intelligent and calm stance throughout the show, with one fan calling them “amazing for the entire gay community”.
Several fans are calling Courtney’s victory over Widdecombe a symbolic one for the LGBT+ community, as Ann is opposed to many LGBT rights, including marriage equality and the right for gay people to adopt.
Courtney made a strong impression on the viewing audience as soon as she made her first entrance on the show. Facing the British public for the first time she suffered an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction as she tripped up and was left exposed as she lost her skirt.
Speaking to host Emma Willis after her triumph, she insisted that it wasn’t a stunt.
“Of course it wasn’t planned. I didn’t want to flash my gash to the nation,” she said.