On the Couch with Phillip Lee Curtis

Phillip Lee Curtis AAR On the CouchWho is Phillip Lee Curtis?
For the most part I’m a scared little boy pretending to be a grown up. In my spare time I’m a singer, writer, graphic designer, producer and very bad dressmaker who will be showing off these skills and more in my Midsumma show Ego Jacket.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would like to relax more, I’m not very good at stopping and I’m always dreaming up ideas, which is great, but sometimes it’s hard to turn off. I’ve become addicted to ticking things off my ‘to do’ list.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by people who take chances, who get up when they’ve been knocked down and do the things they love even when people try to hold them back. Career-wise, I think of people like Kylie who has been pulled apart her whole life, but gets on with it anyway; Kelly Clarkson who is entirely herself in an industry that is always telling her to change; and Lady Gaga who when she was starting out and had no budget would make her own costumes, do quick changes on stage because she had no dressing room and found ways to make her art with or without money and fame.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Because performing can be a somewhat self-indulgent endeavor I never thought I was giving back, but I learned that by sharing my personal stories (which include lifelong struggles with weight, sexuality and anxiety) on stage I can often unknowingly help someone who’s going through a hard time themselves. It’s a small thing, but my hope is that helping people heal allows them more space in their lives to affect positive change, which they will pass on to others and so on and so forth.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Wilson’s Prom. I went there as a child and loved the beach, the hiking and just how beautiful it is. I took a friend there a few years ago and it was exactly as I remembered it. The beach was empty as school holidays were over and as the sun set, we took one look at each other and ran Baywatch style into the water. I also recently visited New Zealand and had the best time, I hired a car and drove around, it felt like I was driving through a painting. I met some wonderful people and did so much adventuring in just 10 short days, but as I said earlier I do have a bit of difficulty relaxing and would like to go back and chill out a little more.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love going to the NGV to look at the permanent and free exhibitions. Obviously the big travelling exhibitions are the main attraction, but people forget to go beyond them, there’s so many more rooms and I love to take people through and show them that.

What are you currently reading?
Currently the script of Ego Jacket is next to my bed, but I love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, anything by Jasper Fforde, and cannot recommend Kristen Johnston’s autobiography Guts enough, it’s hilarious, honest and horrifying. Other than that I read a lot of murder mysteries because I’m a 75 year old woman.

What are you currently listening to?
Kelly Clarkson – Meaning of Life. I’ve always loved her but the new album is her finally doing what she wants (after 15 years in her American Idol contract… yes, 15 YEARS!) and you just hear how passionate she is about the songs and that passion is contagious.

Happiness is?
Balance. I need to feel challenged and appreciated, but I also need to relax and have time to myself. I like to eat well and exercise, but I also like to spend time on the couch with a pizza. It’s something I continue to work at in my career and my personal life.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully good health, if I continue to work on myself and my confidence as well as my skills I like to think good things will come my way. If all goes well with Ego Jacket, I’d like to tour that and just see what comes along, I like to make rough plans and have goals to work towards, but I try to have some flexibility and see where life takes me.

Ego Jacket plays at The MC Showroom as part of the 2018 Midsumma Festival: 31 January – 4 February. For more information, visit: www.themcshowroom.com or www.midsumma.org.au for details.

Image: Phillip Lee Curtis (supplied)