Monday, October 24, 2011
TransGriot Ten Questions Interview- Isis King
As you TransGriot readers know I have had much love and admiration for my multi talented baby sis since I first saw her appear during Cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model and the recent ANTM All Stars show.
She has evolved to become an eloquent speaker on trans issues and a beloved representative for my section of the trans community in addition to being a talented fashion designer and actress.
But it's time to ask this Maryland native and New York resident the TransGriot's Ten Questions
1- I wrote in my open letter to you back on September 25, 2008 that you will eventually get to the point in which you feel as strong, sexy, beautiful and confident as the Egyptian queen you chose to name yourself after. This America's Next Top Model experience will only help speed that inevitable day along. How close are you to fulfilling that part of what I wrote in that TransGriot open letter?
IK-I am so close I could taste it! LOL literally, I have developed so much in a quick time and yes I believe that doing it publicly on television was the main reason for the rapid "evolution". I believe that the last major thing on my list is getting my teeth fixed. Sounds simple, but I'm someone who has so much to do include help my family out back home, and I'm no rich girl.....so, could never do it yet. So once my lifelong battle with not having perfect teeth is over I will feel like a complete Goddess!
2-What was the tipping point moment that finally motivated you to transition?
IK-The tipping point was when I finally got the strength to leave my very abusive ex lover who I was living with during some of my college life in Philadelphia I knew that it was what I wanted to do but he verbally, and mentally put me down so much that I put it off. I had to pack up and leave mid night when he wasn't home one night with the help of my mom as the only resort to saving my life in the long run. I spent the summer of 2006 in domestic abuse counseling and surprising enough the counselor helped me develop some inner strength I didn't know I had. Although her specialty was in abuse and not transgenderism she taught me to never let another being dictate who I was, or what I could do. I told her thank you and now I'm going to move to New York and transition!
3-Who were some of your role models when you began your transition?
IK-Plain and simple my mom has always been my role model, her strength is unparalleled to any other person I have ever seen. I knew since I was a small kid I wanted to grow up and be just like my mommy! I had no transgender role models because I knew of non, and most of the transgender women I met in New York were escorts, did drugs, or both, and although I couldn't judge others, I just couldn't relate nor did I want to try.
4-What is the experience like being considered an international trans role model for an African American trans community that up until this point in time has had precious few of them?
IK-It's a title I take, I didn't have any so it's an honor for me to feel like others look up to me. It is also a lot of stress because I'm just trying to be me, not a cooker cutter perfect person who don't make mistakes. But with hope and a dream, I hope that people see my story and say wow I can make it too!
5-What are some of the current projects you are working on that are near and dear to your heart?
IK-My most exciting project is Hello Forever. Its a full-length film that will be shot in the Philippines late November-December of this year about friendship, love, life, and a secret between four girlfriends.
6-What is your impression of how African-American transwomen are perceived by society and do you think that your visibility and the visibility of other out African American transpeople has helped to dispel some myths about us?
IK-It's something about the term 'out' that just don't click with me. I feel that term refers to the Lesbian, and Gay population since I'm not outing a sexuality. Sorry just wanted to clear that up. To be honest I think there are not enough positive women of transgender experience in the media to help change the image but one day at a time. To be frank I think that transwomen in general (at least what I have analyzed) are perceived as sinful prostitution whores and/or freaks of nature with no morals. In the black community I feel this is even more evident. I believe that I and others have helped some of those myths one house hold at a time.
7- If you were mentoring a young transperson, what advice would you have for them?
IK-This is something that I love doing and the whole point is to help them realize that they are worth it no matter what others might say or do, and to never walk away from their dreams.
8- When you get some 'me time', what do you like to do during that downtime?
IK-I love going to the movies! I love spending time with loved ones, I am more of a homebody so spend time in my apartment where it's just me and I have a peace of mind. Designing stuff is also something I like to do. Other then that traveling, but I always try to book an appearance every when I travel to so that's still work LOL.
9- You have the opportunity to host five people at a dinner party living and deceased. Who would those five people be and why?
IK-I would invite to dinner:
A.) Beyonce- to give me tips on being the best entertainer I could possibly be in life.
B.) Donatella Versace- to give me tips on being the best fashion designer I could be.
C.) Oprah- just to rub some of her wisdom off on me, and give me tips of being the best mogul I could be.
D.) Halle Berry- to give me acting tips, maybe go through a few skits and get her feedback for improvement (Oprah would be right there giving feedback also) LOL
E.) Ellen- because I feel we would keep everyone laughing and have fun (and I would learn how to fuse comedy with hosting more since its what I love to do)
10- Where do you see the African-American trans community in the next ten years?
IK-Hopefully free, educated, out of shelters because their families accept them more. Healthy and focused, and more of the population not believing they have to settle for selling their bodies because it's the only way they could survive. More jobs available for the trans community, and employees more tolerant of the ones they work with. I see progression! Hey, maybe I see me as the president LOL.
Thank you, Isis for your time and hope you TransGriot readers enjoyed this Ten Questions interview.