Transgender Renaissance Man: Seth Nayes
Seth Nayes is a veritable alternative renaissance man: actor; model; dancer; anti-bullying spokesperson. Seth got his start in the entertainment industry as a professional wrestler (Sometimes as Syrin, sometimes as Gigi Gaymore) — an unusual and particularly hazardous route for someone who’s openly transgender. In this interview we discuss his former wrestling career, bullying, and his current status as Madame Envy in the Peach Pie Caburlesque troupe.
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JNC: You got your start in professional wrestling. That’s a very homophobic environment. Did you receive extra punishment because of that?
SN: I was around for a few years on the production staff before I started training so I made a lot of friends and learned the business a bit before I just jumped in the ring. My mentor Val Malone and her husband the uber-talented Silas Young helped me out a lot. Sam Hayne, who is a legend within the Indy Wrestling scene, gave so much advice and was very accepting. Of course there were those who didn’t quite accept me and gave me a hard time (they secretly wanted it in the pooper). There would be the occasional stiff kick to the throat from people who tried to actually hurt me, but you have to get up, shake their hand and say “thank you sir, may I have another?”
JNC: That leads well into my next questions… you’re involved with a project called “Ouch, Bullying Hurts!” Tell us a bit about that.
SN: It is a beautiful video put together by Arketype Inc. It’s shown in schools to raise awareness of not only bullying, but ways to stop it. A lot of kids are afraid of speaking up. Growing up can be tough, there are too many kids offing themselves because of the rough treatment they get at school. If I can help someone get through high school, into the real world, and past that stage of helplessness it’s been a job well done.
JNC: Outside of the wrestling ring have you experienced a lot of bullying because of your sexual preference and lifestyle?
SN: I grew up mostly on an Indian Reservation in Lac Du Flambeau. So when I was younger, I was jumped and tormented daily—not only for being a ginger, but for wearing fishnets and socks on my hands. I [took] karate and after years of training I could defend myself and they started leaving me alone. I decided after those 5 years of torture and bullying that no one would ever make me feel that way again.
JNC: Now that you’ve discovered the world of burlesque via the Peach Pies Caburlesque troupe, you’re Madame Envy. What’s your goal on stage?
SN: Oh my, after being a part of the Best of Midwest Burlesque Festival, I am so inspired to go above and beyond what I was doing before—the flash, the buildup, the excitement. When seeing a legend such as Ophelia Flame literally light up a stage it inspires you to reach for the stars. I have many goals within burlesque. But my main goal would of course be the first transgendered Queen of Burlesque—this is only the beginning.
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JNC: What’s the atmosphere like in the Peach Pies?
SN: Sassy, ridiculous, cheeky, scandalous, outrageous. You never know what to expect. These women are seriously the craziest broads in Wisconsin. I love them all to peaches; I mean pieces [laughs].
Moxie Rhodes and Kitty LaRue have taken me under their brilliant feathered wings and it’s been the best time of my life. We’ve only been getting better and better. If you get the chance, come see us shake and shimmy for yourself. The ridiculousness can only be truly experienced if you’re close enough to catch a garter.
JNC: [laughs] I’ll take it under advisement. Do you have any upcoming creative projects you’d like to share with us?
SN: Well there is talks of starting a web series based off of my first horror film “Spawn of the Zombies” which is now an ode’ to Left 4 Dead. I’ll be brought back in a living role. But don’t worry I’m sure I’ll be eating brains again in no time! I also have a huge shoot coming up at Ohio State Reformatory, a huge haunted abandoned prison where I will be shooting with one of my favorite photographers, Dividing Me. Stay tuned! But most importantly, Peach Pies Caburlesque will be coming at ya in the flesh! ‘Oh! And I was just featured in a publication, Gorgeous Freaks Magazine. This is the year of the dragon baby, and this dragon is blowin’ more than just fire!
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