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HOME > America's Next Top Model > America's Next Top Model 11

'Top Model's eleventh-season cast includes transgender contestant


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 08/13/2008 

America's Next Top Model is trying to break the norm with one of its eleventh-season cast members.

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"Some people might say I'm transgender, some people might say transsexual.  Personally, I prefer 'born in the wrong body,'" eleventh-season Top Model finalist Isis explained in a The CW-released video obtained by Entertainment Tonight.

Viewers will be introduced to the pre-op 22-year-old non-profit organization program assistant who currently resides in New York City during Top Model's eleventh-season premiere when creator and lead judge Tyra Banks is narrowing down the cycle's semifinalists.

"I tell my staff, 'This girl is absolutely amazing.  She has to come back for America's Next Top Model,'" Banks asked Isis during the semifinals process.  "I said, 'this girl,' and my staff said, 'Tyra, there's something a little different about that girl.'  So what's different about that girl?"

<a class=America's Next Top Model finalist Isis" src="http://i.realitytvworld.com/images/topmodel11/topmodel_isis.jpg">
America's Next Top Model finalist Isis (The CW/Jim De Yonker)
"I was born physically male," Isis replied.  "But mentally, everything else, I was going female."

"Tell me about when you knew you were a girl," Banks said.

"As long as I can remember," answered Isis.  "It's not something I chose.  This is who was always there."

Although Top Model's eleventh season will be the first time Isis has competed on the show, she has previously participated in one of its photo shoots.

Last season, Top Model's initial photo shoot, which was intended to put a spotlight on homeless youth, required each finalist to pose with several "homeless partners" -- one of which was Isis, who told the finalists she was a "fashion designer" and was not presented as transgendered at the time.

"Isis is wearing me out down on the mattress," Jay Manuel remarked as Isis and two other girls served as background models for Atalya Slater's photo shoot.

"The girls are definitely amazing, like I can't imagine what it would like to be homeless," said fellow finalist Stacy Ann Fequiere.

Top Model's cast has consisted of only non-transgender women since the show premiered on the now defunct UPN in May 2003, and Banks' decision to include Isis in the upcoming season hasn't gone unnoticed.

"[It's] an unprecedented opportunity for a community that is underrepresented on television," GLAAD president Neil Giuliano told Us Weekly in a Wednesday report.  "We applaud Tyra Banks and The CW for making this historic visibility of transgender people possible."

Top Model's eleventh season will premiere Wednesday, Septmeber 3 at 8PM ET/PT.

"My cards were dealt differently," Isis told Us.  "I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams."

(Photo credit The CW)


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