Musician and comedian Selina Jenkins is sharing her joy in ‘BOOBS’

When the multi-talented Selina Jenkins made the life-changing decision to undergo elective surgery, she had not expected to be sharing her very personal story on some of Australia’s biggest stages.

A multi-award winning musician and comedian, Jenkins is bringing her hilarious, intimate and thought-provoking performance BOOBS to Perth International Cabaret Festival.

In BOOBS, Jenkins promises to whip audiences up in the whirlwind of her life with anecdotes and songs looking back on her life post-surgery – as well as the literal disaster that loomed overhead.

Speaking to OUTinPerth ahead of her performance this week, we asked Jenkins why everyone seems to have an opinion on BOOBS.

“I think we do, as a society, have a bit of unhealthy obsession with gender and the bodies associated with different genders and there’s expectations that we have of those genders, of the roles we play and of the bodies that we inhabit,” Jenkins shares.

“I think the moment you start talking about changing that part of your body that’s seen as aligning itself with what it is to be a woman, and the value placed on those, it freaks people out a little bit.”

“The moment you start to challenge that perspective, I think it can be a lot for people to get their heads around… but I think in 2022 we can start to challenge those things. We can definitely start to open up those conversations about bodily autonomy and whether it’s anybody else’s business.”

Not wanting to give too much away for audiences gearing up to catch the performance, Jenkins touches on why she wanted to change her body.

“I was 31 years of age when I had that surgery done, so I feel like I had many, many years leading up to the making of that decision – and realising it was something even possible, actually.”

“I just was deeply unhappy with that part of my life and that part of my body, just really deeply unhappy with my breasts,” Jenkins explains.

As I grew into an adult, I realised that lots of other adult decisions that we make like buying a puppy or getting a mortgage or settling with a partner… all those big decisions we make to improve our quality of living. I think I realised it was one of those decisions and I could make some changes that would drastically improve my quality of life and that’s what I did.”

“I realised if I went ahead with that I could have a better existence. We all wanna be happy right?” she says with an audible smile.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Though many people change or affirm their bodies in many different ways, for some it can be a very personal, private experience while others can’t wait to share the news with the world. Jenkins explains how she’s come to be ready to shout her story from the rooftops.

“It actually took me about seven years before I actually felt comfortable talking about it.”

“The only people in my life I told at the time were very close to me, family, partner and very close friends. Extended family and other friendship groups I didn’t tell them I was getting the procedure done or going through that process. I didn’t even really disclose that afterwards. I wasn’t hiding… it just took me a long time to find the right way to express what I had experienced.”

“I didn’t actually start writing the show until seven or eight years after I had the surgery done and then I felt that it came together really quickly.”

“It sounds pretty terrible actually,” Jenkins laughs, “But I invited family members and other friends to the performance, and they were probably as shocked as everyone in the room.”

“It sounds a little bit insensitive but at the same time, I think it was just a really healthy way – and a safe way – for me to tell my story without having to do it a thousand times in individual circumstances.”

“I didn’t want to yell it from the rooftops, but I do now! Really happy to!”

Now, Jenkins says she loves performing the show, and is grateful that her story has been resonating with audiences of all kinds.

“I was very nervous about what people would think of the show and how I chose to tell that story and I’ve just been so incredibly overwhelmed by how the response has been over the last few years.”

“It’s just pure joy to share this story.”

Selina Jenkins will be performing BOOBS at His Majesty’s Theatre on Thurs 23 & Fri 24 June as part of Perth International Cabaret Festival

You can also join Selina for a free post-show Q&A after Thursday’s performance.

Leigh Andrew Hill, image: Alison Fairley

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