Jackie Curtis – Before
Long before many of these celebrities made their mark on the scene, there was one woman who stood head and shoulders above them in the fight. Jackie Curtis, born John Curtis Holder Jr. in 1947, was never an overt activist. Instead, she was an artist, a poet, an actress, a writer, and a singer, and her whole life was basically one big middle finger to social norms.Remember glam rock? Glitter rock? Well, Jackie Curtis was the one who pioneered that look. While performing as a drag queen (she performed as both a man and a woman throughout her life), Jackie was fond of a meeting between trash and glamor, a look that came with bright red hair, lipstick, glitter, and ripped stockings. Oh, and a serious attitude which we all love to death.
Jackie Curtis – After
As a member of the Warhol Superstars – the famous clique of artists, freaks, and geeks that surrounded Andy Warhol at all times – Jackie’s fame was all but assured. Warhol said of her that “Jackie Curtis is not a drag queen. Jackie is an artist. A pioneer without a frontier”. It showed through all her performances as well as plays that she directed, which often starred other transgender personalities.At Warhol’s studio, called The Factory, and abroad, Jackie starred in several notable films of the time and was a gifted singer-songwriter to boot. In the early 80s, though, her output went into decline due to drug addiction. She filmed only two more movies in her last five years, and in 1985 succumbed to a heroin overdose. She was 38 at the time. A short life, but it the eyes of the LGBT community, an incredibly powerful one.