Conestant on "Americas Next Top Model"
Monday, October 6, 2008 12:00 PM
Earlier this year, Prince George's County native Isis King became the first transgendered model to compete on the CW's "America's Next Top Model." King was online Monday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about her life and the impact of her appearance on the show.
A transcript follows.
DC: What type of feedback have you received? Do you get stopped on the street by fans of the show?
Isis King: All the time now. For the most part, I've gotten very positive feedback. People notice me, want to take pictures with me, tell me I'm an inspiration, so far I've been getting good feedback.
Bowie, Md.: Do you feel that your appearance on ANTM was a gimmick for producers to capitalize on, or do you feel that you were honestly and equally judged against your competition?
Isis King: I feel like I was judged equally. I feel like I was brought on the show because of my performance last cycle as an extra, that was the main reason I was a contestant.
Largo, Md.: I was rooting for you! Two questions:
What part of PG are you from?
And also, how'd you pick the name Isis? (I ask because it is my aunt's name.)
Isis King: I picked the name Isis after the powerful supreme goddess of Egypt.
I've lived all over PG, from Laurel, Mitchelville, New Carollton, Forestville and other parts, so that's why I chose just to put "PG."
Alabama: Hi Isis!
Have you read Clark's interviews since she's been eliminated, and if so, what did you think of what she said about you?
Who, in your opinion, deserves to win the competition, and who do you think will win?
Isis King: I haven't read any of Clark's interviews, and I'm rooting for most of the girls -- Sheena, Samantha, McKey, Jocelyn. I was friendly with most of the girls in the house, they were sweet, and I want any of them to win.
I talked to Clark after my elimination, and I didn't think she had any problems. I'll be interested to see what she said.
Boston: Hey Isis! So tell us, who was your favorite professional on the show? A photog, a makeup artist, a stylist, one of the judges?
Isis King: I got along with everyone, but Sutan, Christian, all the people behind the scenes that you didn't see, Larry, who was a hairsylist who did my hair for the most part, I miss all of them actually.
Call me confused...:...but could you please explain where you started, where you are now and where you expect to end up with respect to gender. Since you appear to have a penis I am assuming that you are a man undergoing hormone therapy and whatever else is required in order to become a woman. Do I have that right? Is transgender a generic term for anyone in the process of sexual reassignment, or is it more complex than that?
Isis King: Transgender is just a term to identify anyone who identifies with being born in the wrong body. They don't have to transition to be considered transgender.
I'm not a man, but I was born male. I'm in the process of transitioning, physically, into the woman I've always been. My surgery is my last step.
New York, NY: Isis, first of all: you are fabulous. OK, now the question. In typical ANTM fashion the producers made it sound like Clark and Hannah, especially, were acting like nasty transphobic witches. Was that actually the case or were the producers making drama out of nothing?
Isis King: For the most part, if the girls were faking it to me, I had no idea they felt like that. If they made comments to the camera, I had no idea. Me, personally, if I had problems with someone I would say it, but everyone is brought up differently.
Inglewood, Calif.: I would like to know how tall you are, and what your ethnic background is.
Isis King: I'm 5-8, and I'm African American.
Brookland - Washington, DC: Congratulations on your run on Top Model Isis! What you did on that show took a lot of courage and was an real inspiration to see you put yourself out there.
I have a question for you about Top Model. Many of us watch it as kind of a guilty pleasure (I must admit that it's my favorite show on TV), but sometimes it's hard to take it seriously as a modeling competition. Unfortunately we have not seen a previous contestant really break out and become a "Top" model. From your experience do contestants have realistic expectations of their potential for a post ANTM career in the modeling industry?
Isis King: I think everyone had their own goals and expectations in the competition and after the competition. For me, I'm also a fashion designer and I want to pursue acting and modeling, and I felt that like for me, getting my name out there would help, so for me personally it is.
Hyattsville, Md.: It was great to have someone from PG County on the show. It seemed like you had modeling experience before being on the show, but usually they only take amateurs. Were you just starting out as a model, or had you been doing it for a while? Anyhow, best wishes, I'm looking forward to seeing you on billboards, magazines and runways. What designer would you most like to work with?
Isis King: Well, my favorite designers are Versace and Dior.
Thanks for wishing me good luck. I was always a model for my own designs, I've worked in local fashion shows in high school and college and I did some competitions in the ballroom scene, but no real modeling, just things to develop my skills and confidence.
Reston, Va.: I don't have a question for Isis, but I do want to say how proud I am of her, for being so strong, and for moving forward as the beautiful person (on the inside, too) that she is!
Isis King: Aww! Thanks for the compliment.
Boston MA: It seems that Tyra and the other judges act in fairness, judging by merit, not at the whim of producers. You seem to feel that way, as do I. But I wonder if the other contenstants felt that way? Did they ever comment to you that you were on the show for a reason other than talent?
Isis King: Not necessarily to me, but I'm pretty sure some of the girls felt like that. But I know the reason why I was asked to come in and audition, from Tyra herself, so for people to feel like that, I think they're just jealous, you know?
Portsmouth, VA: Ms. King, I just wanted to let you know that you were my favorite model among the contestants this year. A lot of the comments about how a transgendered person couldn't be America's Next Top Model bothered me, but to a certain extent I felt it was true. Not because America isn't ready for it, but because I feel that ANTM doesn't actually look for the person who is the best model, but rather for the person who will give them the highest ratings. I really hope that you'll continue to model, and that one day I'll see you in all the magazines!
Isis King: I honestly believe it's the overall package. They want somebody who can walk, who will represent them well, the over-all best package. I felt like I was that package, and I feel like I've been blessed to have this opportunity and I will continue with my career.
Long Beach, Calif.: Isis you are amazing! You are definitely a model for people who are still struggling to accept who they really are. I see your confidence and strength soul in you.I'll be rooting for you no matter a model or fashion designer you're gonna be.With the good attitude you have,you'll be successful. Good luck to you!
Isis King: Thanks for the compliments, and for acknowledging my designing. My myspace page is up, so if anyone wants to go ahead and look at my work it's at, myspace.com/isisking.85.
If I had your legs...: Hey, we can all dream, right? Anyway, do you think you would have been more up to a highly stressful competition like this post-transition?
Isis King: Definitely. I feel like that's the last thing that's holding me back -- that I'm a confident person, but I'm like a 90, and after that, I'll be 100.
I feel like if I had done the show after the surgery, I would have done better, and that's just because of the personal confidence it would have given me.
Urbana, IL: Isis,
I think it's great you went on ANTM. What prompted you to do the show? What did you learn about yourself while you were on it? Has the cattiness of the other girls in their interviews bothered you? (I hope not - it makes them look bad, not you, because they're small-minded and haven't lived in the real world, clearly).
Best of luck to you! Keep representing well!
Isis King: I did the show because I got a call to do it, and I figured I want to pursue fashion, modeling, I want to be in the entertainment and fashion industry, and if this can put me a step up, I'm going to go for it.
As for what I learned, I learned that I'm really ready. I put myself out there about my struggles and my transition, and it was especially hard as I'm still at the beginning, and I learned that I'm ready for it, no matter what.
Richmond, Va.: Isis:
ANTM is only one of two reality shows I watch every season. I was surprised to find out that you were "transgender." Although I am a conservative Catholic, I did support you, especially in the face of your competition's petty snide remarks. Did they realize, I wonder, that they were engendering support for you, I wonder? Because I came to support you as a competitor. It appeared to me, as a viewer, that there comments were causing you to lose the light. Blessings to you on your journey.
Isis King: Well, I wouldn't say it was the competitors, because I had no idea until after I watched the show over. For the most part, they said it to the camera and not to me. Other than that, it was just a struggle for me. I tried to stay focus for as long as I could.
Isis King: That's all I have for today. Keep me in your prayers as I try to make it in the industry and make my mark.
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