I’m backstage talking to Jyrki Karttunen while he applies several layers of make-up, and slowly transforms into Jemina. Jyrki enjoys the transformation. It started the day before, where he put on the glittering blue nail polish. First, he needs to change the surface with make-up and clothes, and slowly the body language, the way of speaking, and the whole feeling of being Jemina will follow. He has performed as her for two years and she has become a part of him.
Jyrki has a background as a choreographer and modern dancer. He has been fascinated by drag shows for many years. To begin with, he was fascinated by the idea of being a woman, fueled by imitation and playing with stereotypes.
Jyrki is a little nervous before the performance, but as he applies more layers of make-up, lights up his cigarets, the quiet man gradually changes into a more flamboyant character. He now glances at me flirtatiously, pouts, sends kisses to his own reflection and struts around.
The show “Jemina – Act As You’d Know Her”, is a solo cabaret with Finnish choreographer Jyrki Karttunen in the spotlight as tragicomic and worn out drag queen.
Full article and photos originally published in Friktion Magazine.
Cecilie Bødker © 2015