Donna Sachet was born Kirk Reeves in 1954, in South Carolina. Kirk’s young life was marked by a violent, alcoholic father, and a mother afraid to fight back. Kirk learned early on that showing his creative side could endanger his safety. But he also caught glimpses of strong-willed women who, like beacons, challenged and beckoned him to run.
Kirk graduated from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, then headed to New York to work in retail fashion. He spent the 1980s there watching AIDS grew into a full-throttled epidemic. In 1990, just months after the Loma Prieta earthquake devastated San Francisco, Kirk got a job offer there. Kirk was ready for upheaval. He headed west.
Life for Kirk immediately improved – especially at the moment when he summoned his courage and performed in drag at a talent show. Donna Sachet was born.
Since that time, Donna has entertained at venues as diverse as San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, the foot of the Washington Monument, Broadway, and at the International Mr. Leather Competition in Chicago. She has performed alongside everyone from Lily Tomlin and Carol Channing to Britney Spears and Andy Cohen. More importantly, Donna has raised millions of dollars for various causes, for which she has won dozens of awards including the 2005 San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance Award, the 2011 Bank of America’s Local Heroes Award, and the 2015 Horizon Foundation’s Leadership Award.
Donna is most proud of her annual Songs of the Season musical cabaret show which for 25 years has raised money for the AIDS Emergency Fund. With Gary Virginia, Donna Sachet created the annual Pride Brunch, now in its 20th year, honoring the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade and benefiting Positive Resource Center. In 2009, at a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park, Donna became the first drag performer to sing the National Anthem for a major league team.
In July 2016, Donna invited OUTWORDS to record her story at her stylish home just above the Castro in San Francisco. She talked honestly about her wretched childhood, and the freedom she finally found in the City by the Bay. And she sounded a wise warning against complacency within the LGBTQ community when it comes to our hard-fought gains: “United we stand. Divided, they get us one by one.”
Academy of Friends annual Oscar party, 2007. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Richard Sablatura, Candis Cayne, and Donna Sachet at GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Gala, 2008. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna and Mark Leno. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna photographed with Target mascot. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna and Armistead Maupin at a James Hormel party. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Debbie Reynolds, Donna Sachet, and Jan Wahl at Castro Theater for salute to Ms. Reynolds. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna and Nell Carter at SF Gay Men's Chorus concert. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna with Gilbert Baker, creator of the iconic Gay Pride rainbow flag. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna and Martha Wash, one of Sylvester's back-up singers, also known as Two Tons of Fun. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna Sachet's annual Songs of the Season cabaret benefit 20 year anniversary, 2012. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Drew Cutler, Donna Sachet, and Mark Leno at private birthday celebration, 2014. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna Sachet's annual Songs of the Season cabaret benefit, 2015. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Imperial Coronation, 2016. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna at Colma for annual Imperial Court visitation to Emperor Joshua Norton's grave. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing contest Union Square, San Francisco, 2016. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Sunday's a Drag weekly brunch show at Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet's annual Pride Brunch in June. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna at the Daytime Emmy Awards with iHeart team that covered Pride Parade on live television and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy, 2016. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.Donna Sachet portrait. Photo courtesy of Donna Sachet.
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