Isis being honored by Equality Maryland

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LIKE EVERY OTHER serious contender for "America's Next Top Model," Isis King knows her stuff when it comes to makeup.

"A little lip gloss helps freshen any look," the Prince George's County native says. But when she offers another nugget of wisdom — "I've learned concealer is your best friend" — it's hard not to recall that King, who was booted at the end of last week's episode, is not entirely like the other women on the show.



LIKE EVERY OTHER serious contender for "America's Next Top Model," Isis King knows her stuff when it comes to makeup.

"A little lip gloss helps freshen any look," the Prince George's County native says. But when she offers another nugget of wisdom — "I've learned concealer is your best friend" — it's hard not to recall that King, who was booted at the end of last week's episode, is not entirely like the other women on the show.

Although they all had to work it in a series of shoots, King faced the additional challenge of posing in skimpy outfits while obscuring from view signs that she's a pre-op transsexual. Not that the other contestants and panel of judges weren't clued in. From the first round of the competition, her fellow models gabbed catty comments to the cameras. And host Tyra Banks sent her packing with a speech telling her she was already an inspiration to the LGBT community.


What seemed to stun her fellow contestants, as well as, undoubtably, viewers at home, was how even-keeled she remained under such pressure. Whether it was fielding questions from her house mates or injecting herself with nausea-inducing female hormones (something she must do every two weeks during her "transition"), King managed to make it seem like no big deal.

"In my everyday life, I never have issues, because I'm comfortable with myself," she says. "Once people realize that I'm no different, it makes them comfortable, too."

But King admits that when she signed on to do the show, she didn't realize how pioneering the move would be. "A lot of people told me this was going to be big. I was just hoping to start my career," says King, who, in addition to modeling, plans to pursue her interests in fashion design and acting.

It looks like a fourth job of role model has emerged. On Nov. 2, Equality Maryland — a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group — is presenting her with its Visibility Award, and she's thrilled to come back to town to see her family and friends.

Many pals from her days at Flowers High School in Springdale haven't seen her since 2006, when she decided to go forward with living as a woman.

"It wasn't hard, because I knew that this is who I've always been. But in high school, nobody knew — I was living as a gay male, which wasn't right," says King, who adds that she nevertheless managed to be voted most unique and outgoing in her senior class.

She hopes those same traits will help her land jobs as quickly as possible, considering the $20,000 to $30,000 price tag for her surgery.

"I'm not nervous. The longer I don't have my surgery, the more nervous I get," she says. "It's not even so physical. It's more mental. Once I have the surgery, I'll be ready to take on the whole world. It'll be my cherry on top."

And she has another plan that's uncommon in the modeling industry: putting on some weight. King wants to add 20 pounds to fill out her stick-thin frame, so she's been devouring loads of mac and cheese.

She's going to need that extra energy to achieve her goals. But there's no question King is capable of success. And she knows it. After all, this is a woman who named herself after an Egyptian goddess. "You can't get any stronger than that," she says.

Photo by Mike Rosenthal/AP/Pottle Productions



I was gonna go to the award presentation, but it's like $80 and I'm poor. Still, I love her. Yay Isis!

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