Thursday, August 14, 2008

Isis-The Transsistah On 'America's Next Top Model'

You loyal TransGriot readers know that I can't stand reality TV shows.

However, with transsistah Laverne Cox being a contestant on I Want To Work For Diddy and now hearing the news that a transwoman will be one of the contestants on the upcoming season of America's Next Top Model, it's making me reexamine my militant stance on reality TV shows.

Long time TransGriot readers know that I love Tyra Banks and when I was beginning my transition in 1994, she was one of my role models. I was happy to discover that Tyra loves us transwomen back as well.

Ironically an e-mail popped up back in May 2007 from one of her talk show's producers on the Transsistahs-Transbrothas Yahoo discussion group I founded seeking transpeople willing to talk about dating for an upcoming show. It popped up too close to the show's air date for some TSTB members to let them know they were interested, but the producer made it clear that Tyra was serious about her support of and being an ally and friend to the transgender community.

Not long after that e-mail popped up on TSTB, several transgender themed shows aired on her talk show. Tyra has treated the subject with a knowledgeable respect and dignity I haven't seen since Phil Donahue tackled the subject on his Emmy award winning talk show in the late 80's.

During the previous ten years America's Next Top Model has been on, there was speculation that there may have been a stealth transwoman contestant or two, but those rumors were never confirmed.

For Cycle 11, there will be a transwoman openly competing amongst the other 13 girls on America's Next Top Model to get the top prize.

22 year old Isis is an executive assistant for a non-profit organization from Prince George's County MD, but now resides in New York. If she wins, she'll get a management deal with Elite Model Management, a $100,000 CoverGirl contract and a cover story and six-page fashion spread in an issue of Seventeen magazine.

Isis is also known in the ballroom community as Isis Tsunami. She rocks the runway category and now she'll get the opportunity to do so on a much larger stage.

Isis stated in an US magazine interview on newsstands now, "My cards were dealt differently. I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams."


With Tyra handling this, it'll hopefully be treated much more seriously than Janice Dickinson disrespectfully did with Claudia Charriez on her first season of 'The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.

Here's hoping that Isis makes her dream come true. We'll get to watch her progress towards making that dream a reality starting on Wednesday, September 3 at 8 PM ET.


PinayTG said...

OH MY GOD! I am sooooooooooooo excited about this! I hope Isis wins. (I don't care if Tyra is doing this for the publicity. We need more transgender people on TV!). Thanks Monica for this info. I can't wait to tell everyone about this.

Monica Roberts said...

You and me both. BTW, any word on when the next Amazing Philippines Beauty pageant is going to happen?

PinayTG said...

Hi Monica!
I personally know the reigning Miss Amazing Beauty 2007, Rianne Barrameda and the last time I saw her she said she's off to Thailand in October to compete in Miss Queen International. So I guess the nest Miss Amazing Beauty pageant will be held the same month. :)

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

LOL! I knew you would give us more information on this. I read a nice post on this on Haute Like Fire's blog, that's where I got the news. However you gave me way more info on Isis. Loved the videos.

Tyra is a long time friend of the LBTG community, I think it is a side effect of growing up in the modeling industry a comfy home of many gay men. She has always seem to include models from the communities that are underrepresented and/or discriminated against on her shows. She employs experts in their field no matter their sexual orientation and I appreciate that.

I feel as a member of a minority I should advocate for equality for all those who seek it not just those who look like me, that would make me somewhat of a hypocrite if I did that.

I know you are a reality show novice so I will let you know ANTM isn't ten years old, its just cycle 11, she normally does two cycles per year. It started in 03. I'm a fan from the beginning.I would be your TV opposite I love reality TV it allows me not to have to think about what I'm watching, then again I am fascinated by human behavior.

I'm also a fan of her as a host, her show is coming into its own and I now believe she can take Oprah's torch,if it is ever handed to her.


Monica Roberts said...

Some of sites are too busy treating it as a joke or didn't think it was important enough to warrant further coverage.

Anything that puts African-American transgender people in a positive light is worth covering and digging for the details.

I think you're right in terms of Tyra being the next Oprah. She's got all the qualities to be this generations media mogul. She's smart, talented, eager to learn, not afraid to take risks and has a vision of what she wants to do.

I'm just glad that vision includes us.

I know Domanique Shappelle, who competed in the 2006 Miss International Queen Pageant and won the Most Talented Award that year.

When I was back home in Houston, I used to love watching Erica Andrews, the 2006 winner of the pageant who was based in San Antonio, but represented Mexico.

According to the website, the dates this year are October 27-November 1, but people are usually there for photo ops in Pattaya before then.

Best of luck to Rhianne. Somewhere on TransGriot since I'm a pageant junkie, I have posts I wrote on the Amazing Philippines and Miss International Queen Pageant.

Paul said...

If they wouldnt have told the world she was a transsexual i think she might have won, shed be smokin hot if she was indeeed a she. but the whole having a cock thing... big turn off...

Alexei said...

Oh Paul... I wonder what is on *your* brain? We don't know diddly squat about what is in Ms. Isis' pants, nor is it our business.
It seems that some people just can't seem to focus on anything but genitalia. It does make a person wonder sometimes...

PinayTG said...

Hi Monica! I know of your posts on Amazing Philippines, the Miss Queen International pageant and others which deal with issues outside the US. This is why I love your blog. It has such a global feel to it. You are able to talk about things American and international trans concerns as well. Thank you for writing about your trans sisters and brothers from all over the world. I know I appreciate it. Have a great weekend. :)

Monica Roberts said...

If they wouldnt have told the world she was a transsexual i think she might have won, shed be smokin hot if she was indeeed a she. but the whole having a cock thing... big turn off.

Paul, if you don't like pre-op transwomen, don't date one. There are plenty of other guys who will.

BTW TransGriot readers, the article mentioned she was pre-op. I didn't bother writing that part becasue i felt that was her business and it wasn't germane to the article.

While i disagree with Cathy Platine and her WWBT bunch on many things, there are two subjects that she's absolutely on target.

One is that transpeople need to know and embrace their history, and two is that what genitalia is between our legs is not anybody's business except the person we're dating because it opens us up to the sophomoric comments of the Pauls and Fox News of the world.

Nafeesah said...

OK. I am a fan of top model and I watch alot of documentaries. I have seen Isis on an documentary. Her and a few other transgenders...I thiught she was beautiful. Also she was on top model before. I am a HUGE antm fan. And there was an episode where the models took pics with people made to look homeless (I think it was the season Jaslean won) out in the street edgy pic....and Isis was one of the models. At the time I recognized her from the documentary....

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