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Saturday 10 October 2009

This Top Model contestant has a little something extra

Posted in: Television
By Matt Akersten - 25th August 2009

"Some people might say I'm transgender, some people might say transsexual. Personally, I prefer 'born in the wrong body,'" says America's Next Top Model hopeful Isis in new episodes of the star-making show Friday nights on TV3.

Isis is in the running: America's Next Top Model
So can the 22-year-old non-profit organisation programme assistant stay in the running to become America's Next Top Model?

According to the hit show's executive producer Ken Mok, the decision to cast a transgender contestant in the show was done to help further one of host and Executive Producer Tyra Banks' initial reasons for launching the long-running reality series.

"We want to redefine what beauty is," he says. "You can be tall, you can be short, you can be plus size, you can be transgender; you don't have to be what the modelling industry says you have to be. That was one of Tyra's original missions."


Will Isis stay in the contest and win fame as a Top Model?
Although Top Model's latest series will be the first time Isis has competed on the show, she previously participated in one of its photo shoots after producers found her living in a homeless shelter. The shoot required each finalist to pose with several homeless partners - one of which was Isis.

"She participated in the shoot and we didn't know anything about her," explains Mok. "But when we started reviewing the photos, the girl that kept popping out of the background was Isis. She really knew what she was doing."

"Tyra wanted to know who she was. It was clear she really had a passion for modelling. So when it came to casting this season, we said, 'Why don't we find that girl?'"

Tyra Banks knows her shows have a big gay following and her daytime talkshow (shown on TV2 weekdays at 11am) regularly features LGBT guests telling their real-life stories.

Kiwis can check out how Isis does on America's Next Top Model as the show continues its 11th sensational series each Friday at 7:30pm on TV3.

Isis introduces herself on the video clip shown below.

Matt Akersten - 25th August 2009

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