(this article origanally appeared in the March, 2010 issue of Outlooks, Canada’s National LGBTQ Magazine)
“Nina, … Nina, … Nina, …”
(by Doug Ross)
Nobody I know screams ultra-fabulous in quite the same way as the infamous and ravishing Nina Arsenault, a statuesque
transsexual goddess, fast becoming worthy of first name status only—a la Cher, Marilyn, Judy, Madonna—by an ever-expanding group of idolatrous followers. When Pride
Toronto honoured Nina with its prestigious “Unstoppable Award” in 2007, their good taste was roundly applauded.
Although Nina’s controversial metamorphosis—
awkward man becomes curvaceous
bombshell—has been excessively chronicled
by major media sources, trust me when I tell you
this provocative information seems freshly
compelling when revealed entre nous by the lady
herself during her sensational, autobiographical
one-woman show “The Silicone Diaries.” While
celebrating her personal transitioning process,
Nina unflinchingly discusses the approximately
sixty plastic surgeries and/or medical procedures
she willingly endured, as well as the sometimes
nefarious practitioners she unfortunately encountered.
She also serves up her scandalicious past
as a much-in-demand sex trade worker—for the
sake of beauty—in a bravely candid, unapologetic
And what a unique vision of beauty she has—
Nina’s glamourous appearance is captivating to
say the least—from shapely, toned legs that just
won’t quit to a gorgeous, womanly set of hips to a
teeny tiny waist topped by a sassy pair of humongous
ta-ta’s! She also possesses long, slender
arms with tapered fingers, while flaunting a neck
so impossibly elegant that Audrey Hepburn must
be spinning in her grave with envy! Her beautifully
sculpted face is framed by a luxurious mane of
glossy red hair, and her sultry voice oozes “kitten
with a whip” promise. So really, what more could
a girl ask for?
But, since every coin has its flip side, let’s
pause to catch our breath, because not everybody
has jumped onto Nina’s bandwagon. Go figure!
No. In fact she has a number of detractors who
hurl accusations of a psychological aberration
and/or a case of rampant self-loathing in her
direction. Some even speculate she suffers
from “Body Dysmorphic Disorder” which is an
out-of-control obsession with perfection; a
preoccupation with minor or even imaginary
physical imperfections which can lead to a
reliance on multiple cosmetic surgeries. Hmmm,
did you just hear Hollywood starlet Heidi Montag’s
name floating on the breeze? Funny, I did too!
After all, who could miss the shit-storm of criticism
she generated after admitting to undergoing a
whopping ten plastic surgery procedures in just
one day. Talk about obsessive compulsive!
But, who am I to judge whether her drastic
decisions were delusional or dysmorphic? At
least, in Nina’s case, a gender transition was
involved. So, choosing between abnormal
victimization (“Franken-Nina”) versus intensely
ambitious, focused visionary (“Faboo-Nina”), I
know which team I’m playing for. And, as you can
see from a sample of our conversation, this
extremely talented artiste is thoughtful and
articulate with a refreshingly positive attitude
that is in no way superficial.
What did writing/performing your show teach
“I’m a stronger person than I thought I was.”
What is your opinion of Candy Darling and
“Both were courageous pioneers and really fabulous women.”
What is the best part of being fabulous?
“I’m not expected to play by anyone else’s rules.
People get that you can play by your own rules.”
Has therapy been helpful to you?
“Yes. I underwent one year of therapy after my surgeries
to benefit my mental health, I gained strength.
I recently returned to therapy (although I was not
in crisis) to reach my fullest potential. So now it’s
more like a life-coaching experience.”
How do you deal with professional pressures?
“I do daily meditation and physical workouts.”
In general, do you have any words of advice?
“Be the person you want to be.”
Is there a fear you’d like to conquer?
“That everything has to be perfect all the time.”
What is your New Year’s resolution?
“To chase inspiration for a follow through that is positive.”
What is your wish for 2010?
“I want to continue working as an artist. I’d love to perform my show
across Canada—and in Paris, Rome, the Scandinavian
countries, you name it.”
What would you like to say to OUTLOOKS’
“I love fierce people, but being fierce isn’t being mean! Instead being fierce is being
What a doll! So keep your eyes peeled for The
Silicone Diaries and be sure to grab a ticket fast
because the Toronto run sold out instantly. And
even after an extra show was added,there was
still a humongous demand for “standing-roomonly”
tickets. A true success story for a true
original! Long live Nina. O