What happens when you mix the ferocious soul of Vogue’s Anna Wintour and performance art? I give to you, Tranna Wintour. This week I was introduced to the young performance artist and I was instantly captivated by this persona. I mean come on… her name is Tranna Wintour. My type of gal! Fortunately for me, I got a chance to catch up with Tranna while she prepares for her upcoming show in the Montreal area . Let’s get into it!
Spencer: Good evening Tranna! It is such a pleasure to speak with you! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, I know you must be so busy with your show “I Am No Man” quickly approaching… How has life been treating you?
Tranna: It’s a pleasure to talk to you, Spencer! Life has been great. I saw Cher in concert last week, which was beyond everything. Mentally, I’m still on planet Cher. Other than that, the past month has been totally devoted to my upcoming one-woman show. I’ve been writing and rehearsing every chance I get. And now it’s just a few days way and I am panicked, and excited, and emotional.
Spencer: Yes! I envy you! I am not seeing Cher until July. She is making L.A wait! I will probably be hospitalized after the concert. So let’s get down to it. Who is Tranna Wintour?
Tranna: Tranna Wintour is a spiritually enlightened, happy, pop-culture obsessed, fashion-hungry comedienne—at least according to my bio. But really, Tranna Wintour is me. It’s just a stage name, but who I am on stage is the real me—a more glamorous, fearless version of me, but me nonetheless. Most people who see me perform have the tendency to assume that Tranna Wintour is a character or alter ego. But again, she’s not. It’s just me! All the stories I tell on stage are rooted in my personal experiences and my point of view, not those of a character I invented.
Spencer: I love that answer. Now many of the artists I have spoken with seem to pull different inspirations from many different people. If I am not mistaken, you are obviously attracted to Anna Wintour. Tell me what you saw in Anna that created Tranna and who are some of your other inspirations are in life?
Tranna: My Anna obsession started a few years ago. I was taking a fashion history class and that class intensified my fashion obsession. Around that same time, The September Issue hit theaters and I went to see it more for my interest in fashion than Anna. But when I saw it, I became instantly obsessed with her. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved villains—the queen from Snow White, Cruella, Maleficent, the Wicked Witch of the West—and I think my obsession with Anna is just an extension of that. That year I dressed up as Anna for Halloween, and I loved being her. I loved channeling her. As a joke that night, I called myself “Tranna Wintour,” the name stuck and the rest is history. But again, I am not a drag version of Anna, though my blonde bob is obviously inspired by hers. Style wise I’m actually much more drawn to Carine Roitfeld, who I adore. I just use Tranna Wintour as a stage name… but I do love having that connection to Anna, it gives me that extra bit of fearlessness I need when I go on stage. I have so many other inspirations and muses, Anna is actually quite minor in comparison—Liza, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Eartha Kitt, to name just a few—but my biggest inspiration has been Sandra Bernhard. I make no secret of how much I love, respect and admire her. And I make no secret of how much I have learned from her and her work. Her work changed my life and helped me find my own creative voice. I’ve had the opportunity to meet her a few times, and she is just out-of-this-world amazing. She is beautiful and she has been so kind and loving towards me. I can’t say enough good things about Sandra! She is the real deal in every sense.
Tranna: That is such a great question. Fashion is a very important part of my life. Fashion to me is the opportunity to make our fantasies a reality. I talk about this in my show… People are often scared to show their true selves, usually for fear of ridicule or judgment. So they hide these very real parts of themselves and they dream of one day being able to express them, and so those things become fantasy. I think fashion helps us bring those things we’ve relegated to the realm of fantasy back to reality. Fashion connects us with the truest parts of ourselves. Our fantasies are the most real, honest things about us.
Spencer: I love that. Fashion really brings out the best in people. There is nothing more liberating than creating a look that truly represents you for you. Even the most depressed could put on their favorite outfit, step out the door, and feel that much more confident. Plus, it is such an outlet for creativity because in reality, anything is possible with fashion. So Comedy is usually a hard thing to get into but Obviously you are doing well. What got you into comedy?
Tranna: For years I struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. From the time I was a very young kid, I’ve had this creative impulse, this need to create. And also a need to perform. I was always writing and illustrating my own books and putting on my own shows. As I got older I focused on my writing, and I let go of the idea of being a performer. I didn’t exactly want to be an actor, and I’ve never had enough musical talent to make a go of that… so I was in this kind of limbo for a few years, trying to figure out a way to express my creativity and my love for music, fashion and storytelling. And I just reached a point where I couldn’t ignore that performance animal that has always been a very important part of my nature and being. That’s when I discovered the work of Sandra Bernhard and I finally saw a way to combine all of my interests and be the performer I was always meant to be. I never thought I’d be doing stand-up comedy, and what I do isn’t very traditional stand-up, but it’s been very natural for me and I love it.
Spencer: Yes, you do seem very natural at what you do. You are hilarious and certainly good at what you do! So what would you say is your favorite thing about being on stage?
Tranna: My favorite part about being on stage is the interaction with the audience. When you’ve got a great audience who is with you and feeling you and loving you, it is the greatest feeling in the world. It allows you to push your creativity further in a way that you never could just being home alone. It’s inspiring and motivating, and I really thrive on that connection and energy. And I always give it back. I always give my audiences 100%. And when they give me energy and love back, then I’m able to give 110% of myself. Spencer: Okay, now for probably the most revealing question of this interview… What is your favorite Cher look/costume?
Tranna: That is such a hard question… but I am going to have to go with the incredible, silver tinsel ‘Take Me Home’ dress Bob Mackie made for Cher back in the very late 70s. Cher has worn updated versions of it over the years, including a red version on the first farewell tour in 2002. It is dazzling. I want to wear it so badly.
Spencer: Very good choice! So this Saturday, May 10th, you are having a show titled “I Am No Man”, which will be held at Cafe L’Artere in Montreal. Tell me about your show and what your audience has in store!
Tranna: This show is a one-woman show in the every sense: I am doing this totally on my own. I have written the show, directed, produced it myself. I styled and did the photography for the posters myself. I rented the venue. This show is basically everything I am. It’s a chance for me to take the comedy work I’ve been doing over the past year to the next level. I’ve been doing comedy for exactly a year now, and it’s been an incredible year. I have met so many fantastic comedians and artists. This show is a chance for me to end my first year in comedy and to start the second. The show is very much a memoir… I talk a lot about my childhood and how things in my childhood have shaped me. I talk about fashion, pop culture, social media. So it’s also very much a social commentary. It’s a multi-layered extravaganza and I’ll be singing in the show too. I am very proud of this show and I’m so excited to share it.
Tranna: Thank you, darling! This was a lovely chat and I’ll be following you too!
Want to stay connected with Tranna Wintour?
Check Tranna out on Facebook here!
Follow her on Twitter @trannawintour
Obsess over her beautiful photos on Instagram @trannawintour
Check out Tranna’s wonderful blog here !
If you are in the Montreal area, don’t forget to visit Tranna at her one woman show! “I Am No Man”. Café L’Artere, Montreal, located at 7000 Parc Ave. The doors open at 8 and the show will start at 8:30, cover charge is $10.
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