Models | News | Reality TV | Transgender

Transgender Contestant Isis Stirs Up America's Next Top Model


Last night was the debut of Cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model which featured perhaps the most silly 'futuristic' themed overhaul ever put on by Tyra Banks, but also the debut of pre-op transgender model Isis, whose presence is certainly one good reason to keep your eyes on this season. The other models' reactions to this contestant in their midst presented a range of reactions from the most accepting to the most bigoted.

What stood out most, however, was Isis' own strength through it all.

Isis2The action starts at around 1:36 in the clip AFTER THE JUMP...

Says one contestant Sharaun: "Isis is over the top. America's Next Top Model is not going to be a drag queen. I'm sorry. It's not."

Says another, McKey: "Isis is a pretty cool chick. In the situation that she's in, you'd think that she'd want to hide everything, but she's open, she's forthwith, she's not gonna hide who she is from anybody. I'm a big fighter girl and I think that she is, like, tenfold more brave than I am."

McKey and Isis swim together in the pool, where Isis explains her transition from male to female:

Isis: "Transitioning is like going through puberty all over again. It's like, I started out as like, a kid and now I'm like... I'm developing.

McKey: "You're like a butterfly."

Two other contestants then share their discomfort:

Clark: "I'm not gonna lie. It makes me uncomfortable as hell. It freaks me out that she got something else different down there than me."

Hannah: "I think the thing about Isis though is like, I was like trying to convince myself I was comfortable. I can't even comprehend I'm comfortable. But really, I'm not. Sometimes people have a really warped view of transgender people...coming from a small town, hell yeah we have a warped view."

Clark: "Hell yeah. You walk around like that in a small town, you get shot. And it's not so much a close-minded view, it's just more traditional. Coming from a good Southern family I was really thrown back by Isis. Growing up in the South you don't exactly run into a 'he-she' every day. Isis has no place in this competition."

There are a few other reactions in this episode that aren't highlighted here. Asian model Sheena shows her support for Isis early on, and one other contestant (I believe she's already been booted) said that if she needs to, "she'll stomp that man down."

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

FOX Apologizes for Remarks about Transgender Model [tr]
FOX Mocks Next Top Model Transgender Contestant Isis [tr]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Shooting someone who's different from you isn't close-minded; it's traditional. Hmmm. . .WOW!

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 4, 2008 10:25:09 AM

  2. I look forward to the episode when they discover that Miss J may not be straight.

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 4, 2008 10:25:44 AM

  3. Why do all these models, transgender or not, stand around pigeon-toed?

    Posted by: hill_w | Sep 4, 2008 10:41:36 AM

  4. LOL Crispy =)

    Posted by: JP | Sep 4, 2008 10:41:37 AM

  5. Clark: Growing up in the South you don't exactly run into a 'he-she' every day. Isis has no place in this competition.

    But I guess a girl named "Clark" does? This is hilarious. Isis is going to rock some worlds. She knows couture. She's studied, self-confident and tough. Assuming Clark doesn't try to drag her by chains behind her pick-up, Isis is going to do really well in this competition. I'm proud of her.

    Posted by: Troy | Sep 4, 2008 11:49:47 AM

  6. I can't wait for the episode when Tyra tearfully relates the difficulties she had when she was a trans.

    Congratulations to Isis in realizing her dream, and the dreams of many trans before her, to be (relatively) famous and gorgeous. It's nice to see an opportunity for her other than one of the underground balls.

    Posted by: Mark in NYC | Sep 4, 2008 11:59:40 AM

  7. Clark rules! Shes totally the girl that gets all'er hair chopped, then sobs about being ugly. So getting cut. Flash forward 15 years, Clark trying to clean-n-jerk her butt into a pair of plus size Walmart jeans whilst downing Edies ice cream after she finds out her husband has been sleeping with their daughters gymnastics coach.

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 4, 2008 12:53:15 PM

  8. I've seen Clark a million every sorority house on every campus.

    Isis comported herself very well when those bitches were trying to goad her during her photo shoot.

    The hubby and I also noted that the bigots were in the bottom half at elimination. I only wish that Isis had won the first round so that they all had to look at her winning pic all week.

    Waiting for Tyra to blow up at them for their bigotry. After all, she's the one who blasted through the door of industry discrimination opening the way for black women to be supermodels.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Sep 4, 2008 1:07:12 PM

  9. Having a trans woman in millions of living rooms all over North America every week--and having the kind of bigotry and prejudice that trans people face right alongside it--will very likely change some people's minds, and lives.

    Tyra may be irritating, but this is a brave move on her part, on CW's part--and on Isis's part as well.

    Posted by: David D. | Sep 4, 2008 1:19:04 PM

  10. "And it's not so much a close-minded view, it's just more traditional. "

    Isn't this the new McCain / Palin campaign slogan?

    Isis FTW

    Posted by: Strepsi | Sep 4, 2008 1:41:39 PM

  11. I got a call from my friend who's a college professor and told me that his students/advisees is one of the models. Since he's in another time zone, he'd already watched the episode and said that he was proud that McKey (the redhead) came across as strong and compassionate. He also tells me that she's quite intelligent and studying to go to med school.
    I don't normally watch the show, but I know who I'll be rooting for!

    Posted by: John | Sep 4, 2008 1:54:53 PM

  12. It was good to see that Isis wasn't just a gimmick entrant, a token minority member.

    She knew her stuff and the judges all seemed to love her and think she has great potential. Not a single bad thing said about her by the judges, just positives.

    Do they call the names in the order of which they were graded, as in 2nd to be called, 2nd best? If so, yay for Isis. 2nd is nothing to be ashamed of.

    And wow Sharon is such a bitch. I watched all the way 'til the end. She looked sad/upset/wtf:ed when Isis' name was called, like it was something horrible.

    I'm so glad Sharon was the one to go. Yay!

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Sep 4, 2008 2:24:08 PM

  13. And wow, did anyone notice how Marjoria looks a kinda like Audrey Tautou?

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Sep 4, 2008 3:13:48 PM

  14. Wah, triple post. I meant Brittney B., not Sharon.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Sep 4, 2008 3:18:17 PM

  15. Apparently I meant Sharon. Damn that girl for using two different names.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Sep 4, 2008 3:26:26 PM

  16. Trannies have no place in the gay rights movement.

    Posted by: Douglas Berman | Sep 4, 2008 3:50:31 PM

  17. "Trannies have no place in the gay rights movement."

    Hey, Bigot!!! You don't have a place in the gay rights movement. We are eliminating our a-hole quotient and you are the first to get eliminated.

    Posted by: Richard | Sep 4, 2008 4:07:55 PM

  18. I hate to sound harsh, but Isis really has no place in the competition. There is a world of difference between a biological woman and a person who simply puts on women's clothes and makeup and has affected mannerisms. Isis is an individual who deserves to be treated with respect, but let's not ignore the obvious. When you look and the other girls and then look at Isis, it's literally apples and oranges...or maybe bananas in this case.

    Posted by: Ron | Sep 4, 2008 4:17:22 PM

  19. Hey, Ron:

    Maybe biological women and the over glamourized glamour of high fashion, movies/TV/theater personalities, recording divas are not natural to each other. Maybe that world is the perfect place for biological males who want the fun parts of being a girl!

    Maybe boys who want to be girls had a great deal to do with creating the feminine images we see in fashion magazines/movies/theater/recording industry, etc.

    Posted by: Derrick from PHilly | Sep 4, 2008 4:29:41 PM

  20. Derrick,

    So designing/sewing a dress equates to being a woman?

    i think not

    and neither do you.


    Like I said, Isis deserves respect as a human being. But trying to pretend trans women (or men, for that matter) are the same as their biological counterparts is absurd. Isis is a trans-woman, no more, no less. But acting like everyone should just play along and not say anything is wrong.

    Posted by: Ron | Sep 4, 2008 4:54:26 PM

  21. RON,

    No Ron, showing biological women how to walk, wear, "show off" that dress equates to being glamourous in a way that many biological women don't have time for, or interest in. Many of them are too busy raising children, working two jobs, and maybe running for vice-president.

    What I'm saying is that gender-bending homos and transfolk have been greatly involved in the evolutin of feminine glamour and style for generations...and some of them can do "fem glamour" with more heart & soul than biological women--not just caricatures.

    you ever seen Pepper Labeija "pump" a runway at a ball? Not a biological female on this planet could ever compete with "her".

    "Paris Is Burning" is the movie to rent.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Sep 4, 2008 5:08:54 PM

  22. RON, so where in your comment are you showing an example of respecting Isis as a human being?

    it's FASHION (not facism). What leads you to believe that a model needs to be biologically born female in order to model clothing?

    Have you never seen one of Thierry Mugler or Gaultier's fashion shows with ConnieGirl, Lipsynka, Joey Arias in full couture?

    Posted by: Mark in NYC | Sep 4, 2008 5:09:31 PM

  23. Thank you Mark, couldn't have said it better myself.

    Posted by: Pekemo | Sep 4, 2008 5:31:07 PM

  24. "trying to pretend trans women (or men, for that matter) are the same as their biological counterparts is absurd."

    Uh, dude, it's a show about taking pretty pictures. Isis was pretty upfront about herself. I didn't see any of this pretending crap you're talking about. What show are you watching?

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 4, 2008 6:56:26 PM

  25. Contestants are called in order from best to worst.

    And this Ron believes Isis has every right to be where she is. She is female even if she hasn't been able to transition yet. She is NOT "a person who simply puts on women's clothes and makeup and has affected mannerisms". She has more life experience than the rest of those girls combined.

    FYI, model/author/actress Caroline Cossey (aka Tula) was born Barry Kenneth Cossey. She has fought hard against discrimination to wedge the door open to give Isis this chance. And let's not forget the fabulous Alexis Arquette (although I'll grant that she's a little...flamboyant for mainstream).

    Oh, and Other Ron, Gay Rights includes EVERYONE. If even one person is discriminated against, everyone loses.

    AggieCowboy (aka Ron, who hates seeing his name associated with ignorant dribble)

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Sep 4, 2008 7:13:27 PM

Post a comment


« «East Hampton Turns Alec Baldwin into a Nudist, Meat-Eating Gay Man« «