Proof That Carmen Carrera Is The Trans Latina Warrior We All Need In This Crazy World
We all know and love Carmen Carrera for her unapologetic assertion that trans lives matter, in the face of political warfare, and even just ignorant, disrespectful remarks. We haven’t always known her to be this warrior, though. When we first met Carmen Carrera, she was just meeting herself for in a real way on RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she identified as a gay man.
Today, Carmen Carrera has put RuPaul himself in his place on his transphobic remarks and has become a Puerto Rican-Peruvian supermodel. Hear her open up about her childhood and where she is today.
Carmen Carrera was born in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
Her parents were Puerto Rican and Peruvian and moved to the United States for a better life.
She’s been criticized by other Latinos for not being “Puerto Rican enough.”@carmen_carrera / Instagram
In an interview with HuffPost, her response was bella: “I think that if you are in America, you should live as Americans do. I have Puerto Rican roots — I eat rice and beans everyday! (laughs). I was born here and this is my country. I do visit Puerto Rico often; however, what the other girls think is a bunch of bullshit in my opinion. It’s like if I said they aren’t American enough. Kiss my ass!”
She named herself, Carmen, after her mother.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
Her mother is Peruvian and Carrera has penned in W Magazine that she is a “big beauty inspiration.”
“We’d always be singing the latest hits, and she would enroll me in little plays, but I was shy. I was more into doing things by myself: I’d wrap a T-shirt around my head and put on makeup to try to look like her. I knew that I was different, but my mom never told me I should be any other way. Consequently, I didn’t grow up thinking that I was wrong being who I was—until I got to school. That’s when the actress in me had to come out.”
Her father passed from complications to AIDS.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
In 2013, Carrera opened up on Facebook about her relationship with her father and with herself:
“I grew up without a father because he was too selfish to understand he was needed at home. He spent his time running the streets, catching AIDS, and leaving me and my mother behind when I was 2. I hid who I was in high school because I was afraid to be me. I grew up partly ashamed of who I was because I wasn’t like the “normal kids”. I couldn’t enjoy being happy in school, I was so focused on playing a role just so I can be with the popular kids. I played the role so well that after high school I met someone that loved my act so much, he married me. It took me 25 years to realize I couldn’t take it anymore, no one was giving me an Oscar anytime soon. I was done acting… Time to move on… Now that I’m being true to who I am on the inside, you’d think I’d be happy right? I’ve never experienced the type of heartbreaks I’ve felt in the past 2 years. Rejection, judgment, hatred, prejudice. I swear these are the times I realize how strong I am. Will I let it get to me? Hell NO. It’s not my fault the world isn’t ready to begin to understand how real I am, how deep I am. I will never go back to pretending. God made me a strong person for a reason. If I can pick myself up from the type of pain that almost feels like its manifesting on my body as physical pain, you can deal with whatever you’re dealing with, my loves.
Don’t ever sell out. Always stay on your grind. Never lose the ability to love. Be at your best and understand that life is a lesson. The quicker you learn, the quicker you can reach your promise-land “
She was kicked out of Catholic school for being too feminine.@GAYLETTER / Twitter
She had a crush on this boy named Anthony and “the nuns were not having it,” Carrera told Cosmopolitan. “I ended up going to public school in the first grade, and that’s when I knew I had to be very strategic about my survival in school. I tried my best to be friends with people who were going to protect me. I hid behind people. As a result, I didn’t go to my prom, I didn’t get to have any slumber parties, I didn’t get to develop myself as a young person — it really impaired my growth.”
On RuPaul’s Drag Race, she was called “the pretty one.”@internet_gril / Twitter
I mean, because we’ve all seen her at this point right? Total smoke show. Today, she’s a supermodel.
Fans petitioned for Victoria’s Secret to include her in their fashion show.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
The petition received 45,000 signatures back in 2013 and received a ton of media coverage. To this day, Victoria’s Secret has yet to include a transgender model on their runway.
Carrera finds peace with her baby pictures.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
It makes perfect sense why many trans people are pained to see childhood photos that reflect a time of total vulnerability to society before they were free from living up to a standard that didn’t match their innermost desires. Carrera shared this photo on her Instagram with this caption:
“I’m so proud to say that I’m still in touch with my inner child ???????? This baby is turning 33 today feeling empowered, standing up for what she believes in and also never forgetting how far she’s come. I look into my own eyes in this photo and remember having way too much knowledge of self at the time and being almost afraid of it because the outside world reflected the opposite. I was too smart. I remember how my inner dialog, even back to the day this photo was taken, had always been center focused on how or where I would fit into this world. I’m glad to say that even through all the adversity and tribulations, that I am still able to smile and still able to rise to the occasion of my destiny, keeping true to the loving and joyful nature I was born with. ???????????????? ”
Carrera came out as trans immediately after her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race wrapped.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
She tells Attitude, “When I came through, I was a wide-eyed kid in New York City, not knowing who I was, I just wanted to learn. So I was like a sponge. I went to the gay clubs and made tons of friends that I still have, and I got to know the trans girls in the drag scene and the drag community, and performance art. Now I feel like after I’ve transitioned, there’s still that kind of disconnect between drag performers who live their life as male and go on stage as female, versus the trans performers. That’s where I feel like we need the most work.”
Carrera has called RuPaul himself out on his transphobia on the show.@JWilliamJames / Twitter
The show used to have a “SheMail” as a way of notifying contestants of their upcoming challenged, which obviously plays off the transphobic slur “she-male.” The show changed the phrase after she continued to speak out and there was backlash against Carrera for ‘biting the hand that fed her.’
Carrera has had to break down Katie Couric’s own ignorance during an interview.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
Carrera literally shushed Katie Couric when she straight up asked about her “private parts.”
“I don’t want to talk about it because it’s really personal and I’d rather talk about my modeling stuff, being in Italian Vogue, and showing people that after the transition, there’s still life to live.”
After that snafu, Couric was inspired to create an entire documentary on “Gender Evolution.”
She publicly came out as trans on an episode of Primetime: What Would You Do?@anorderlymess / Twitter
You remember those social experiment shows? Carrera played a transgender server that was being hurled (staged) abuse by a customer to see how many people would come to her defense. From the beginning of her transition, Carrera has been speaking out for others in her position.
Carerra’s transition has been entirely public, and for that, she’s become a trans icon.PopSugar / YouTube
We first met her on RuPaul as an out gay man, and last saw her on the show at the beginning of her transition. Since then, she’s gone on to model in Miami Swim Week, for David LaChapelle and on countless magazine covers. Her modeling career and public name is making waves for trans awareness.
Carrera urged all of her followers to vote in the midterms.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
It’s no secret that the Trump administration has actively been trying to hide trans people behind closed doors. Carrera refuses to allow that to happen and you can find her posting lingerie photos followed by VOTE promotional images in the same Instagram post.
Carrera held out hope at first that Trump wouldn’t attack her and her community.@carmen_carrera / Twitter
She told People Magazine, “I wanted to try my best to believe that [Trump would] be here for us and to understand what we were going through. I would just urge him to look at the facts and to understand the people that he’s affecting and how they are being affected. Just take a couple of moments to empathize with what we’re going through.”
She’s one of 1.4 million Americans to update their birth certificates to match their gender identity.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
Carrera is doing all of this for herself and for young trans kids who don’t see themselves reflected accurately in the media. “Just know that we’re here to fight for this. I’m trying to break ground in the industries I work in and I’m doing it for the trans youth across the globe,” Carrera told People.
Carrera became the first transgender person to get married on public television.People / Pinterest
She married her longtime partner Adrian Torres on Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn. The two started dating a decade ago and were in a domestic partnership until their split in 2013, around when Carrera began her transition.
The two have two daughters together.@carmen_carrera / Instagram
They are not these pomeranians. Torres’ daughters, Ahsia and Leeah, are from a previous relationship and Carrera considers them as her own children.
“When we originally got together, we sometimes felt like it was us against the world. But now, incredibly, it’s us with the world,” she told People. “Our children are so smart and such a big part of our lives. Having them there with us while we made this commitment really solidifies our existence as a family.”
She made a cameo appearance on Jane the Virgin‘s pilot episode.@MisterManu / Twitter
In an interview with Attitude, she said, “ideally I’d like to do non-trans roles. I’d like to just play a female character, just a teacher, a mom, or whatever, you know. Something relatable to women so that it normalises the idea that trans people can play regular roles and have regular jobs and be embraced for how they present themselves to be.” BOOM. She’s crushing it.
Carrera’s idol is J.Lo–just like us!@carmen_carrera / Instagram
The first song she ever performed on stage was actually Jennifer Lopez’ “Step Into My World” at Escuelita’s Diva Search in New York City. She told we are mitú that she remembers every exchange she’s ever had with the icon.
“Throughout the years, she’d watch me. I saw her at the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards and she congratulated me. Then I saw her again in Vegas at her concert and she asked me how things were going,” Carrera says. “It was just so good to know that someone else that comes from a similar background like me and who I have similar struggles with, other than being Latinx, [supports me]. It was just good to know that she was supportive and that she still watches so that really inspires me to be better.”
We can’t wait to see what’s next for you, Carmen!@carmen_carrera / Instagram
Victoria’s Secret doesn’t deserve you, Archangel, and we’re so happy that you’ve taken on the very personal task of raising awareness for trans people, their stories and breaking stereotypes. ????????????
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