Switch craft: transsexual performer Nina Arsenault masters the art of becoming
To say that Nina Arsenault looks like a cyborg Barbie is almost an understatement. At five-foot-11, with 36-26-40 measurements, pillowy lips locked in a permanent pout, and a cascading mane that changes colour according to her whims and wigs, she’s definitely not the girl next door. And she never aspired to be. Born male, she underwent 60 cosmetic procedures between 1998 and 2006, at a cost of $200,000, to re-sculpt her face and body into the woman she had always dreamed of being. Arsenault’s epic transformation is documented unflinchingly in The Silicone Diaries, her solo show that returns to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre this fall after a sold-out run last season. The piece kicks off when Arsenault is five years old, living in Beamsville’s Golden Horseshoe Trailer Park, and exploring her fascination with the flawless skin and arched brows of department store mannequins. It delves into the time she spent moonlighting for a porn Web site while working as an assistant prof at York; she marked students’ papers during her live sex shows. One of the funniest and saddest moments tells of an encounter at Ultra Supper Club on Queen West with former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, who tried to pick her up before realizing she had a penis. Delivered in a direct address format—Spalding Gray is an influence—Arsenault’s story features a raft of shocking details, from the illegal silicone injections that built her curvaceous figure to the horror story of a transsexual severely disfigured by a botched surgery. But provocation is not the piece’s raison d’être. At its core, The Silicone Diaries is a trenchant deconstruction of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be beautiful, from someone who has gone to considerable lengths to achieve both.
The Silicone Diaries
Nov. 25 to Dec. 11, Buddies in Bad Times
4 thoughts on “Switch craft: transsexual performer Nina Arsenault masters the art of becoming”
Well at least this story is more believable and courageous than of Heidi Montag still bleating about her botched surgeries. Stupid girl shouldn’t have done it in the first place. I have to admire the bravery of this young person to go through all of that and still laugh about it. Myself not a tranny wish I could afford perhaps not a change but a deffo do over of natures effect of parentage and age on me for loads of other reasons. Makes me wish I could look like that and I am a girl very envious. I applaud you and hope the show is a great success.
Saw this show last year. It was WONDERFUL.
I am glad you think she is brave “stella” (person with the comment from above) but she is a “transexual” not a “tranny”.
“Tranny” is a porn term – being transgendered at a very early age myself (age 13 and up, no help at all along with lots of red tape), and going through the motions of the Canadian medical system which is a huge fail when it comes to a transgendered person, I find it super rude to hear anyone being called tranny – and as real and odd it may seem to mainstream population (which it seems you may be part of, not sure) she feels completely like a girl as a child and a woman as an adult – I’m sure Nina doesn’t mind the term, but for God’s sakes, she’s human. Don’t mean to get on a pedestal, but the term has become warped by so many. I applaude Miss Arsenault for accuracy. Please go to her show to get the complete picture. She is a fantastic person.
She is so hot!
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