Fortune Feimster on Being 'Obsessed' with Dog, Having Kids with Wife – PEOPLE
Brianne Tracy is a staff writer on the PEOPLE music team. She has been with the brand since starting as an intern nearly six years ago, covering all things entertainment across print and digital platforms. She earned her Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Southern California and has been seen on Good Morning America.
Fortune Feimster is living on a high.
With a happy marriage to her wife of two years, Jacquelyn “Jax” Smith, and her second Netflix comedy special, Good Fortune, now streaming, Feimster describes her current state of mind using a former Real Housewives of Orange County star as a point of comparison.
“I feel like Vicki Gunvalson! The love tank and the work tank are full,” the comedian tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “I am so grateful that I met Jax seven years ago and get to do what I love to do.”
Considering their lives — which also includes their Pomeranian, Biggie — are so full, Feimster and Smith, both 42, say kids aren't in the cards for the foreseeable future.
"Who has the time for kids when you're obsessed with your dog?" Feimster says with a laugh. "I mean, doing stand-up and acting is a lot of hours and traveling, so a family would be difficult. But we're the never-say-never type. Jax would be an awesome mom."
In Good Fortune, Feimster says she "picks up" where her first special, Sweet & Salty, left off.
"Sweet & Salty was very much about my journey growing up in a tiny town in North Carolina and figuring out my sexuality, and Good Fortune shows who I am as an adult," she says. "It was fun peeling back that curtain to show people where I'm at in my relationship with my now-wife and telling stories about us getting engaged and dealing with things."
Feimster first met Smith, a former kindergarten teacher, at Pride in Chicago on June 27, 2015 — one day after the U.S. court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
"It was love at first sight, baby!" Feimster says. "We happened to meet in a parking lot, because Pride commandeers different parks and areas. I'd only been there 10 minutes when we met, and we kept running into each other all night."
Adds Smith: "Right away, we just had an ease with each other."
Smitten, Feimster asked Smith's friends to give more information about her. "I said, 'Is she trouble?' They had rave reviews and said she was a salt of the earth, lovely woman. They were right," she recalls.
Shortly after Pride, the couple started dating long distance. A year later, Smith moved from Chicago to be with Feimster full-time. "It was a huge act that said, 'I want this to work. I believe in us,'" Feimster says.
Feimster asked Smith to marry her during a getaway to Big Sur in California in January 2018 — and she gives all the details about her proposal-gone-haywire in Good Fortune.
"Nothing went how I thought it would go, but the victory is that she said 'yes,'" Feimster says. "That's the most important part. Once we got further away from the actual engagement, we would tell friends about it, and they would start laughing. I went, 'Oh, maybe this is a fun standup story.'"
When COVID-19 sent the country into lockdown a year after their engagement, Feimster says she and Smith "leaned on each other even more."
"Jax was watching YouTube videos, learning how to make things. I was useless," she says. "She's the person you want to be when the zombie apocalypse hits. She'll make it, and I'll be yelling, 'Tell my story!' as I get pulled away by the walking dead."
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Not wanting to wait any longer to get married, the couple decided to tie the knot in a small wedding in Malibu in October 2020.
"Jax always wanted a small wedding, and I think I probably felt more pressure to invite a lot of people because I've been out here in L.A. a long time," Feimster explains. "Then we were kind of like, 'Well, actually this is kind of the perfect time, and we can celebrate with people when it's safer to do so.' We had the best of both worlds. She had the small, intimate ceremony, which ended up being perfect and so special. And then we got to celebrate with people a year later."
Throughout their relationship, Feimster says she and Smith have helped each other grow in different ways.
"There's nothing that Jax can't do," she shares. "She knows who she is, and she doesn't bend from that. I've grown up a lot with her, and I think I've brought out the silly in her a little bit more. We never compete with each other. She is never trying to dim my light. In return, I want her life to be good and happy and balanced."
Currently on her standup tour, Feimster will continue performing live through January 2023, with both Smith and Biggie by her side.
"Since I tour with her a lot, we talk about the jokes because I hear them so often," Smith says. "I'm not the funniest, but I'll be like, 'Hey, I think there's something there. Maybe you could find a funnier bit in that.' I am always so proud of her and love seeing her bring joy to theater full of people."
Adds Feimster: "She's probably glad I get that out of my system on stage so I'm not bouncing off the walls at home!"
Though Smith served as an executive producer on both of her comedy specials, Feimster says "she does not want any attention."
"She does not want to be in spotlight," she says. "She's the brains helping me. We're teammates."
Adds Smith: "It's a good balance. I don't have a problem seeing her shine and getting all the attention. I love that for her. But I don't want any of that! I never want to get on a stage."
Raised in Belmont, North Carolina, Feimster moved to Los Angeles when she was 23 in 2003 to pursue comedy. At 25, she realized she was gay while watching the film The Truth About Jane on Lifetime, a moment she references in Sweet & Salty.
"I heard from the director, and he said, 'I've never thought in a million years I would hear my hear my movie come up in someone's comedy special,'" she says. "That's the beauty of this art form: you put stuff out there, and you never know who's going to respond to it or how it will touch somebody. When it does, it's just such a cool full-circle moment."
By sharing her own coming out story in Sweet & Salty, Feimster says she's people have messaged her saying she gave them the courage to come out.
"I couldn't believe how many young people wrote to me and said, 'I was nervous how [my parents] would react to me coming out so I had them watch your special.' They would watch their parents watch me, and if they laughed, then they felt more comfortable saying to them afterwards, 'Now I need to tell you something,'" she says. "I was like, 'Holy cow, I can't believe I'm now part of that person's coming out story.'"
Feimster — who got her break when she was chosen to join the Groundlings' famous Sunday Company in 2019 and went on to book gigs on Chelsea Lately and The Mindy Project — hopes people see themselves just as much in Good Fortune.
"I want people to know me and Jax are like everybody else," she says. "We happen to be gay but our story is not much different from other people's. I want the special to be something everyone can relate to. You don't have to be gay to relate to an engagement story."
"I get a lot of men coming up to me after shows being like, 'Oh my God, the proposal was the most nerve-racking thing,'" she says. "It's neat to be able to relate to them on that."
Asked what joke people reference most when they meet her, Feimster says, "I have a lot of people on tour throwing Fun Dip up on stage because of my swim story from Sweet & Salty, and a lot of people will wear homemade Hooters shirts because of the story about my mom and Hooters."
"Those get brought up the most for sure," she adds. "Then I have this silly character Brenda that I do on Instagram. A lot of people show up in turquoise now at my shows because of that. It's just neat. I imagine that's what a musician feels like when they hear someone sing a song. The fact that I made it to Hollywood and have any sort of recognition feels like a miracle."
Not to mention Channing Tatum is a fan. “Channing Tatum told me I was funny. I turned into a dainty lady when he said that!” Feimster jokes.
Ultimately, having this life and career is only something Feimster could have dreamed of as a kid.
"I always wanted to have peace," she says. "When I was growing up, I never knew if I would end up with someone, because I came out later in life. There was a time where I was like, 'Maybe I won't have a person.' So I put all my energy into my career. Then when I met Jax and the career stuff was going well, it felt like, 'Is this too good to be true?' But I'm grateful that I have both."
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Good Fortune is now streaming on Netflix.
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