Art Simone is back for the second season of Concealed by Art Simone, a podcast where riveting tales of double lives are exposed.
The second outing launched on ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network on May 30, and sees Simone meet strangers “who seem extremely ordinary and boring, but they’re concealing something extraordinary about them.” And for the 30-year-old, she knows a thing or two about leading a double life.
On one hand, she’s the confident, glittery and colourful drag queen we all know and love and on the other, she’s Jack Daye, an introverted artist, who struggles to order a coffee at a coffee shop.
“In drag. I’m like, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, look at me,” Simone told Mediaweek after the launch of her podcast’s second season. “But out of it, I don’t even like going up to order something at a cash register. I’m like, please don’t talk to me. Don’t look at me.”
Art Simone reflects on the teacher who helped her express herself
While Simone has been performing on the drag circuit for years, it was at school that she found her passion for makeup and photography.
“My journey into drag happened during high school when I wasn’t happy with who I was,” Simone revealed. “Like a lot of teenagers, you’re kind of discovering who you are, who you want to be… So, I really got into makeup and I love that about makeup, I could escape and be someone else.”
Every day after school, Simone would dress up “like somebody else” and during the day, she picked up Studio Arts photography.
“I realised if I took photos of what I looked like, that was technically homework,” she said. “So I would go home, dress up, take photos and do self-portraits. At the end of high school, I got accepted into Top Arts in Victoria and all of those  portraits got put up at the National Gallery of Victoria, which was huge for me.”
Simone then reflected on her school art teacher Miss Holmes who was completely “accepting” of her.
“She was she was amazing….she was so encouraging and wonderful about what I was doing,” she said.
There was “pushback” from the Upper School department
While Holmes was supportive of her talent, “there was a little bit of pushback from the Upper School Department”, where at an end-of-year art show, Simone wanted to display her work.
“I remember one of the teachers from the staff at the office came through and looked at it [her artwork] as I was setting it up. And she’s like, ‘Do you really want to do this?’ And I was like, ‘yeah’. She’s like, ‘Well, they’re all going to know that you’re gay.’
“And I hadn’t come out at this point. I mean, of course, it was bloody obvious. But like, I hadn’t even come to terms with saying it out loud at that point.”
At the time, Simone felt dejected, but knowing it came from a place of “protection” due to concern about what others in the school community would say, it was still “the wrong thing to tell this person who was suddenly so excited about finding out who about who they are.”
“So I did it anyway,” she said, later adding: “I just love being able to become someone else and that’s where all the drag love started. As soon as I left high school, I started performing.”
Art Simone’s advice for those wanting to live their authentic lives
Concealed with Art Simone is a celebration of living your truth, even if it’s sometimes hidden from the world.
In the past, she has spoken to a taxidermist, a porn star, a male UK author who goes under a female pseudonym and spoke to a middle-aged dad who secretly makes money from ASMR Porn.
In season two, the first episode begins with Emma, a remedial massage therapist who used to be a very famous puppeteer, all normal Aussies who are concealing a double life.
But for Simone, living your authentic life is something she urges everyone to do.
“Top note. Just do it, babe,” she said. “But the issue is, I understand that in some situations, you can’t. So I think the most important thing you need to do is surround yourself with supportive like-minded people and build up a network of people that love you and support you and will celebrate you.”
She continued: “It’s not a race…take your time, surround yourself with people that love you and support you and have a good time and you’ll flourish into being a beautiful butterfly one day.”
Season two of Concealed with Art Simone is available now on the iHeart Podcast Network or wherever you listen to your podcasts. New episodes will release weekly every Tuesday.