& PERFORMERS CREATIVITY THRU TRANSGENDERISM
Lepore - Performer
The Amanda Lepore Story as told by the Lady herself.
I was born in New Jersey.
My mother was German and my father was Italian. Ever since
I can first remember, I knew I was a girl. I couldn't
understand why my parents were dressing me up in boys
clothing. I thought they were insane.
Actually, my mother was schizophrenic and was always being
hospitalized, so everything was really centered on her.
My brother and I grew up with nannies. My father would
take us to toy stores every week and let me buy dolls.
I think he felt bad that my mother wasn't around. Actually,
that made it a lot easier for me.
Even when I dressed up
as a boy people thought I was a girl. I was always the
smallest in the class. I remember some substitute teachers
weren't sure what I was. When I was 13, I grew my hair
long and arched my eyebrows and wore really light makeup.
I was into rock n roll music so I used that as an excuse
for my look. I did whatever I could get away with.
School was really hard. I didn't get beat up but the other
kids would make fun of the way I looked and my gestures.
That always makes you strong though. Once you are an outsider,
you tend to follow your own path. Creativity comes from
that. In one way it made me really withdrawn, but being
different does amazing things for you. I probably see
things that other people don't see. I think it makes you
more compassionate and I'm still drawn to outcasts.
It just came naturally
to me and I couldn't stop it. In the first year of high
school, I started wearing women's clothing. I didn't have
many friends, but I met this girl who was an outcast as
well. She was my age but was already go-go dancing in
a nearby town. I started making outfits and we wore them
in the club where she was dancing. I guess I was into
nudity even back then because the outfits were just the
smallest things made of beads and feathers. A transsexual
that worked there wanted to buy some of them so I asked
her to give me hormone pills instead of money. I got breasts
in a month!
I was thrilled! I loved having breasts! I even loved the
pains I'd get when they were sprouting. The hormones worked
really fast because I was just entering puberty. So I
took them anytime I could get them. For the rest of the
school year, I wore huge baggy t-shirts and whatever I
could to hide them but one day my mother caught me coming
out of the shower. She asked me "Where did you get hose?"
I said, "I don't know, they just grew…".
It I got so used to being
harassed in school for so many years that I just dyed
my hair bleach blonde and started wearing push up bras.
The first day that I went to school like that was the
first time I didn't' get harassed. Everyone was in shock!
I was sent to see my guidance counselor right away. She
said I couldn't go to school like that and I explained
to her that I was taking hormones and there was no way
I could go back to being a boy. I still wanted a high
school education, so they gave me a tutor at home. They
also sent me to a psychologist. He recommended that I
get hormones prescribed by a real doctor, so my doctor
took me to one. I don't think they really accepted me
- I think they just got used to me. My father was hoping
that I would dress as a boy during the day and only dress
as a girl on the weekends and go to beauty school. He
was hoping I would be like a gay hair dresser! He'd tell
me "you look pretty now because you're young but you are
not going to look like a girl when you get older." He
thought I'd have a better life if I just dressed like
At beauty school I was more interested in learning how
to do my own nails, getting my hair bleached and learning
all these beauty tricks to do on myself. I had no interest
in doing it on anyone else. It was kind of a girl's dream
just to handle this beauty stuff especially since I was
deprived of it all my life.
I knew I liked guys, but
the whole thing was very awkward because I didn't have
a vagina. I went to some gay bars but the boys weren't
interested in me at all. Only the lesbians would come
onto me. I started going to straight bars and the guys
there really went for me. I would make out with them but
I never let it get too far. I was scared. But then I met
one who really liked me. We had some sex but it was only
focused on him. I would tell him I wasn't ready to go
all the way. The more I would hold out, the more he liked
me. I guess the other girls were putting out real easy!
He even introduced me to his parents, and they really
liked me. I was over at his house a lot and they were
so sweet, you know, like the beavers. It was very normal
and I loved it. Three months went by and he was really
pressuring me to have sex. I did whatever I could, until
there was nothing else I could do. So I was forced to
tell him my situation. He freaked out. He had no idea
at all. I was so depressed because I liked this guy and
felt like I had finally found the family I never had at
He told his father about
me and he was very sympathetic. He thought of me as a
real girl and decided to help. They took me to a doctor
who recommended a sex change, the only problem was I needed
to get my mother's consent, and she didn't want me to
do it until I was 21. My boyfriend's father figured out
that if he legally adopted me, I could become an emancipated
minor and get the surgery. I didn't' have any money, but
my boyfriend was saving for a car and gave me some of
that money, and the father paid the rest. We got married
and I moved into his family's house.
The operation made me so happy! I was euphoric. I still
have this euphoric feeling even now. I guess that's why
I'm not materialistic, because I finally have this body
I've always wanted.
After we got married,
my husband didn't want anyone to know I was a transsexual.
He accepted me, but for whatever reason he didn't want
anyone else to know. I wasn't allowed to work, and I had
to stay in the house. I was always by myself. It was ok
at first because I was happy just to look in the mirror.
I just to look at my pussy for hours and hours! It was
fun to have sex with him and cook with the family. I had
a lot of energy so I started to do aerobics and then he
bought me a sewing machine so I could make clothes. I'd
look at pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield
and Anita Ekberg - all those 50's bombshells. I thought
they were the prettiest things I'd ever seen, so I started
dressing like them. I thought that I was just being a
normal girl. Maybe not everyone looked like that, but
there were women like Dolly Parton and Eva Gabor who did.
The only time I got out of the house was to get my hormone
shots or to go to the plastic surgeons. I would get stuff
done to look more bombshell-y. I started getting lips,
and then cheekbones, and a little body stuff. I started
doing all these things I learned in beauty school - I
was "done" all the time. My husband was really attracted
to how I looked, but it got a lot of attention, especially
in the suburbs of New Jersey, and that he didn't like.
I thought that he was just too controlling, but when I
look back at it, look what happened, right?
I was in that house for
five years and I couldn't stand it anymore. All I wanted
to do was have a little job working at a make-up counter
in a mall or something to get out of the house. I wasn't
asking for much, but my husband wouldn't let me, and I
started despising him for that. I met a singer at the
plastic surgeon's office, and he would always invite me
to his shows in New York. I finally explained that I wasn't
allowed out of the house and he couldn't believe it. He
just thought that was horrible. He said, "If you ever
want to leave him, you can stay with me." Once he said
that, I became obsessed with the idea of leaving my husband
and moving to New York.
I started taking money from my husband and putting it
in a suitcase. I would tell him I needed the money to
buy stuff for the house then save it. I also sold all
my jewelry. I was plotting my escape for almost seven
months. Finally I came to New York. My husband had a detective
looking for me so I got a restraining order against him,
but I kept in contact with his father. The father knew
we were fighting and understood that I needed to get out
of there. I even offered to pay him back for everything,
but refused. He turned out to be like a real father to
So you know, I had never
really paid bills or anything before. I got this job at
a salon doing nails and I was only making around $45 a
day. I clearly needed money. The singer I moved in with
turned out to be a hustler, so I had to be out of the
house all the time while he was entertaining his clients.
I used to go to this coffee shop, and I met an ex-marine
there who suggested I move in with him. We became lovers.
He was into S&M, which I didn't like at all, but he told
me that I could make a lot more money doing that instead
of working in a salon.
I started working as a dominatrix, and I made a lot of
money. The good part was that you didn't have to have
actual sex with anyone; but it was very weird. I worked
out of a dungeon and I'd have to do spankings. Some clients
would come up with entire scenarios and scripts, so it
was kind of like acting. One guy was very into lipstick,
and he would just make me put on more and more. He would
just get so excited about the whole thing and by the end
I had tons of lipstick on! Another liked to be hit with
pies in the face like a clown. Another liked to pretend
that we were waiting for a bus, and I would have to sit
there and ask him the time - you know like, "what time
is it?" or "Time sure flies, it's one o' clock," and then
"Oh, it's 1:02!" he would get off on that. I didn't love
this job but I was able to do things like get an apartment
Then a friend took me
to Michael Alig's party Disco 2000, and everyone was floored
when they saw me. I started going out all the time and
became a star over night - the girl of the minute. It
felt so good to finally be appreciated. I quit the domination
job and started doing make up at Patricia Fields during
the day and working clubs at night.
I worked as a dominatrix, I had to hide the fact that
I was a sex change. At Pat's anyone could be whatever
they wanted. When I went to night clubs I saw so many
different types of people and when it came out that I
was a transsexual, I was celebrated even more for that.
It felt so good to just be out in the open.
One day, I was working
at bowery bar, and David Lachapelle saw me. He was amazed.
"Oh my god, I've got to photograph her - she looks like
the girls that I used to draw when I was in high school."
He used to doodle sexy women with big breasts and huge
lips, and I guess I really looked like this imaginary
girl he used to draw. So that week he started taking a
lot of pictures of me.
think David and I share a creative bond and we see things
that other people don't. The first time I worked with
him, he shot me snorting diamonds cocaine. I didn't even
know those were real diamonds. There was one glued up
my nose, so after the shoot, I took it out and threw it
on the make up table and everyone freaked out! I collaborated
with him on the Warhol Marilyn picture, but most of them
are his ideas, his fantasies of me. He likes to completely
change me into different characters, like a black woman
with a watermelon, or completely painting me pink for
the Heatherette video. I rely on the acting training I
got being a dominatrix when I model for him. David says
I am his best model because I take direction well
Working with David really
helped build up my confidence. I've always been extremely
shy, even when I worked in night clubs, I hardly talked.
I guess people just like looking at me. I didn't do much
either - I was like the dancer who didn't dance! But it's
a lot better now, I have a lot more confidence. Now I'm
doing things like singing that could never imagine doing
before. I'm just starting to come out of my shell.
I just got out of a two year relationship and I'm dating
a lot now. I'm totally faithful when I have a boyfriend,
but now I'm just playing the field. For a while, I didn't
have that much sex and I thought my vagina was closing
up - I was scared I'd have to have another operation!
With a vagina, when they do the inversion, the outside
becomes the inside. So, if you weren't very big to begin
with, you are not very deep; but it stretches too. Then
I met a Russian guy who got it really opened up, so now
I'm having really good sex. I am having orgasms like crazy
lately. I used to only have orgasms from penetration;
but when I was in Germany I met the really hot guy, and
he was fingering the outside and I came. That was the
first time I came that way! I didn't think that it was
possible and it is. So now I have everything I've always
wanted. Everything and then some. I am a lucky girl. I
love my life.