Former Houstonian Kitten Kay Sera makes a name for herself in Hollywood.
by Donalevan Maines
Photo by Ezra Zuniga and Jen Zuniga
If anybody thinks pink, it’s Kitten Kay Sera. “Pink makes me happy!” she purrs, counting down the days until February 14. “I love Valentine’s Day, because everything is pink and red. I don’t like red,” she giggles, “but add white to red and I like that!”
On television, in magazine spreads, and riding her pink bicycle through West Hollywood, Sera is “The Pink Lady of Hollywood.” But in the 1990s, her gay fans in Houston knew her as the singer Pinque, who opened shows for RuPaul and Deborah Harry at Rich’s nightclub.
In Houston, Beyoncé knew Sera through the Queen B’s vocal coach at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Montrose. The “first lady of pink” says that’s how she landed Beyoncé as a backup singer on Sera’s playful single “Sex Kitten.”
“It’s so funny,” says Sera. “The song is named ‘Sex Kitten,’ but I have a dog.” Her pet “and confidante” is a Maltese named Miss Kisses. Sera says she colors its long, silky fur pink with beet juice mixed with water. “It’s totally safe and vet-approved!”
“On my 20th birthday,” recalls Sera, “I dressed head to toe in pink, and I was tickled pink, and I got tons of compliments. After that day, I gave all my other-colored clothes to my four older sisters. It was all pink by the end of the year. Honestly, the color chose me!”
On her birthday last June 8, Sera celebrated by “permanently” dying her Doris Day-blond hair pink. “The icing on the cake, so to speak,” she says.
“When I came out to Hollywood,” says the artist formerly known as Pinque, “I changed my name to Kitten Kay Sera. I adore Doris Day, so I took my favorite song by her, ‘Que Sera, Sera’ and changed the spelling, and went on to book over 30 television shows. When people ask me, ‘What’s in a name?,’ I say, ‘A whole hell of a lot!’”
Former Houstonian Kelly Kidd lured Sera to California, where he started Kidd’s Jewelry Heist, a unique retail and interactive jewelry-making parlor. “All of my best friendships were made in Houston,” says Sera. “I went out just to visit, see what it was all about. You have to go where the work is, and in Hollywood, it could happen anywhere. You can meet a producer in the elevator. Everything you do leads to something that comes next.”
For example, Sera and Kidd appeared together on an episode of the TV show called The Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, which chronicled their “20th anniversary friendship party.” At the show’s premiere, Sera met an artist named Shannon Pope, who would later edit the music video for “Sex Kitten,” starring Sera and Jordan Cappella.
When Pope drew Sera and Miss Kisses as cartoon characters, his friends said, “Make them walk and talk!” So Pope animated them for what’s become The Adventures of Kitten and Kisses, which Sera hopes to sell to a cartoon network. You can see episodes at Sera’s website, thepinkladyofhollywood.com, as well as Sera posing with stars including 2014 Oscar nominees Meryl Streep and Amy Adams on Sera’s “Pink and a Wink TV” videos.
Another time, Sera and Miss Kisses went to an audition that didn’t pan out, but three months later, an agent who had taken their picture standing in line for the tryouts tracked them down for the roles of “Pink Lady with Pink Dog.” “It was a national commercial. I lived off that for a year,” says Sera. “I took a turn into your television sets, but I missed music.”
Recording “Sex Kitten” with Beyoncé and fellow Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland was a highlight of her return to the studio. “It was a one-track wonder,” says Sera. “They were ready to do it again, but I said, ‘It’s so beautiful and perfect. That’s it.’ I’ll never forget it. It was, like, so easy and effortless.”
Sera says she has a special beau she plans to paint the town pink with on Valentine’s Day, but it’s not serious enough to derail her focus on her singing and acting career.
At least he appreciates her obsession with pink (including the tattoo of Miss Kisses that Sera got when they appeared on the TV show Best Ink). She’s only met one guy who didn’t immediately ask her why everything in her Hollywood home is pink. “It was a blind date and this guy shows up and says nothing about all the pink,” she explains. “Halfway through the date, I finally ask, ‘So what do you think?’ He says, ‘About what?’ ‘All the pink!’ He says, ‘Are you wearing pink? I’m color-blind. It all looks gray to me.’”
Pink laughs, “I cracked up. Then I showed him the door. I said, ‘You know what? It’s not going to work out.’”
Donalevan Maines also writes about the Oscars in this issue of OutSmart magazine.