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

Tyra Banks surprises 'Top Model' contestant with sex change surgery


By Christopher Rocchio, 11/17/2008 

Isis King's America's Next Top Model journey will apparently have a happy ending after all.

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Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks surprised the transgendered eleventh-season contestant with an announcement that she's arranged free sex reassignment surgery for King during a pre-taped episode of The Tyra Banks Show that will air on Tuesday, Us Weekly reported Monday.

"This is not happening!" King when Banks surprised her with the news, according to Us. "[I feel] like I'm about to wake up."

The 22-year-old program assistant from Prince George's County, MD -- who was born Darrell Walls -- had yet to have the surgery because she was unable to afford the $20,000 to $35,000 price tag.

The surgery will be performed and paid for by Dr. Marci Bowers, a gender reassignment surgeon who has experienced the surgery herself, Us reported.

King -- the first transgendered contestant in the show's history -- was the fifth girl eliminated from Top Model's currently-airing eleventh season.

"I look at it like yes, I'm the first transgender contestant, but okay, lets move past it now," King explained on The Tyra Banks Show. "I'm just a woman trying to compete just like everyone else."

King had previously stated she felt like she was "born physically male" but "mentally, everything else, I was going female" -- a sentiment she reiterated on The Tyra Banks Show.

"It's hard. I try not to think about it because it is something I'm really passionate about," King told Banks about being transgendered. "I feel like I really was born in the wrong body, and it's just the one thing that makes me feel uncomfortable."

King wouldn't allow photos of herself as a male to be shown during Top Model's eleventh season, however they will reportedly air as part of the Tuesday segment on The Tyra Banks Show.

(Photo credit The CW)


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