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.”