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Dannii Minogue tells all on her new Queer dating Show “I Kissed A Girl”

Dannii Minogue has been a queer icon since the 1980s. So it’s only right that three decades later she is helping LGBTQIA+ women find love.

After making history presenting 2023’s I Kissed A Boy, the first British dating show to feature exclusively gay men, she will play Cupid to a group of ladies looking for love in its sister show I Kissed A Girl, the UK’s first dating show for girls who like girls. It will take a similar format to last year’s show, set in an Italian Masseria and seeing contestants kiss on first sight.

Danni is insistent that both shows aren’t just about hooking up, though. A lot of dating shows – many heteronormative – are about “connections” and “types on paper”. But Danni tells GLAMOUR that the conversations had the contestants have on I Kissed A Girl are just as important, in challenging stereotypes and ensuring different parts of the LGBTQIA+ community feel seen.

She describes first playing cupid years back for her best friend Ian Masterson, who composed We Could Be The One, the theme song for I Kissed A Boy. “That was my ultimate cupid moment,” she says. “He met his husband through me when we were on tour together."

Above all, though, for Danni it’s all about giving audiences and communities a TV show “lesbian and queer women who are looking for love”.

“It's quite unbelievable that there hasn't been a dating show for them before,” Danni tells GLAMOUR. “I think we're inching forward. It's exciting, and it's nerve racking.

The success and impact of the show, she says, hinges on all kinds of queer women being represented, in front of and behind the camera. “We tried so hard to choose a real cross section of women,” Danni says. “Great conversations came out of it within the cast, but it was also a mostly female film crew.

“I think that is just key to the success of the show, we did the same with the boys [on I Kissed A Boy] with a mostly male film crew. There's that beautiful feeling of not having to explain yourself, feeling very safe, very heard. I think that opens up great conversations, when people let their guard down.”

A big of aim of the show was challenging and dismantling stereotypes of what a queer woman looks like. “I think it’s a great education point that these women who love women and who are looking to date women – they just look like women. Simple as that,” the singer says.

Danni sat down with GLAMOUR to talk motherhood lessons, fabricated infighting with her sister Kylie, her uncomfortable interaction with “letchy” Russell Brand, why she called him a “vile predator” and the joy of being an icon for the queer community.

What are the biggest dating lessons you’ve learned?

You've got to be open. If things are not gelling, it's normally more within that person that they thought they were ready, but they're not. You have to be open to it and probably not have a checklist of things so much.

Have you ever kissed a girl?

I kissed a girl in a video I did for my first performance for Mardi Gras in Sydney. The Mardi Gras board said ‘we'd love to get the girls from the community involved’. This was 1998, I think. And it was [viewed as] scandalous, like it was outrageous. And that's why I wanted to do it. It's just me and this girl. To me it was just showing an environment and it's not a big deal.

Was that a way to signify that sexuality can be fluid as well, and doesn't have to be outrageous, it can just be an expression?

I think we've got a long way to go before women feel comfortable about just being themselves. So a lot of conversations from the girls on the [I Kissed A Girl] set, said that they felt very sexualised, they get approached by guys all the time if they kiss in public. They have to be very aware of themselves when they're out and about in a different way than the guys do.

I think we've got a long way to go before women feel comfortable about just being themselves.

You and Kylie are such icons for the queer community, what does that mean to you?

It is such a joy… Over the years, I've heard amazing stories, people have come up to me and said ‘my younger self found your music as that safe place, that comfort blanket, and it was always there for me’. I feel like now we're making a TV show that's also that important to people.

The collective noun for gay people in Australia is a "Minogue", how do you feel about that being part of your legacy?

I haven't heard it, but I love it! I’m so about that!

What has it meant to you to have a sister navigating the entertainment industry alongside you?

We've always had each other there to understand those very personal and private moments that nobody else would understand. Even though we have our teams and stuff, nobody quite knows what it feels like when you're in the centre looking out.

We absolutely love being able to perform together. It’s really special when we perform, and our parents can be there to see it. That just brings you back to being just a girl, a sister, a daughter – they’re special moments.

What would you say your relationship is like with social media?

Before social media was a thing, the media loved the line that Kylie and I were “at each other” [fighting]. And that never went away until social media popped up, and you really could say what you wanted to say and be heard directly by an audience of people, rather than filtered through a journalist and an editor. It's been a really interesting ride for us both.

I think social media is good and bad. it takes a lot of time, effort and energy to navigate it, whether you're famous or not famous, whether you're a parent or a child.

For me, it's been the most incredibly positive thing. I definitely feel like there were many years where an idea of me was projected through the media that completely wasn't me. And then once social media came on board, I can't tell you the amount of people that came up to me and said, ‘I thought you were totally different’.

How do you feel about navigating body image pressures, which is unfortunately such a prevalent experience for women in the entertainment industry?

I don't have 100% body confidence. I wish I did. It's been a bit of a tricky ride over the years, being a teenager in the media spotlight, and my body changing and me trying to catch up.

The younger generation, I feel, I hope, are not as scarred as someone my age. When we grew up, we only had supermodels on [the front of] magazines, and there were no other women to look at. You only compared yourself to them. I worked with Elle McPherson on a TV show and when I was growing up, she was on the cover of magazines everywhere. I’m never going to be like Elle McPherson!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from motherhood?

You definitely understand your parents better – when you become a parent there’s a lot of things that make more sense. You don’t understand the word love in the same way until you're a parent. It’s in every cell of your body. It's overwhelming.

I've felt empowered, having had the opportunity to be a Mum and marvel at what I've been able to do… I'm like ‘I made that!’. It that makes me feel powerful and strong.

I don't have 100% body confidence. I wish I did.

Family is clearly important in the Minogue clan, especially now you’re all together in Australia, what kind of aunt is Kylie to Ethan?

I love seeing his relationship grow with my family. My brother's got two boys, Kylie doesn't have any kids. But just to see how incredible she is with kids… I wasn't like that. When I had Ethan, I was like, ‘whoa, what do you do with this?’ Just didn't have a clue. And she's the absolute natural out of the three of us, she's just incredible.

How do you look after your mental wellbeing?

I love cooking… it just takes my mind to a great place. If there was a kitchen here, and I had time, I would cook us something.

How do you deal with failure?

There’ve been some moments where you think: ‘Gosh, can I get through this? Can I pick myself up? Can I pick myself up again?’ And I've shown myself that I can. So I think failure is a really important lesson for that.

You called Russell Brand a “vile predator” back in 2006, after doing an interview with him. Are you able to elaborate any more on your experience?

The craziest thing was at the time, he was the hot thing. He was the coolest thing. He was very respected. Nobody wrote anything bad about him. When I was on his TV show, when I was trying to leave he was very letchy with me and it was very uncomfortable. It made me think ‘is that really what I have to go through to go to and from work?’.

It feels like there's a different time and space that we're in now where you can say things and feel like you're going to be heard. It's a different time in business where you feel like you can tell people, ‘this is not cool’. That comment [I made] has come up a lot. It was just my instinctive comment. That was how I felt.

While he denies all allegations against him, how do you feel now – all these years later – after allegations from other women have been made against him?

It was really eye opening, for women to come out and tell their stories. I think a lot of them would have come out sooner if there was an environment where they felt like they could say things.

Anybody who is a victim out there, I'm sure they will tell you we have a long way to go.

I Kissed a Girl will begin on BBC iPlayer on 5 May. Episodes will air on BBC Three every Sunday and Monday night at 9pm.

The original article can be found on Glamour UK.

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