She�s a Lady

She�s a Lady


So much for Janice Dickinsons love and support for transsexuals. As we saw on the season finale of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, transsexual model Claudia Charriez was one of several models fired because they werent making any money for the agency. It was so hard for me to let Claudia go but this is a business, and, unfortunately, theres no place for her here, Dickinson opined.

What a lame excuse. Dickinson knew that the 24-year-old Charriez would be a hard sell from the beginning. Obviously, Dickinson hired her to create some buzz for her Oxygen seriesnot because she planned to put in the time and effort it would take to land Charriez work.

Its bad enough that Charriez was fired. But she really got beat up on the way out. Troy, one of Dickinsons lackeys, insisted, Shes gotta goshes a legal disaster waiting to happen. Really? How so?

And to make matters even worse, Dickinson, clad in a white tank top that read Gay Friendly, dared to ask Charriez to pose as a man right before she swung the ax. Charriez seemed stunned, initially replying, Excuse me? to Dickinsons offensive request, then gamely went along with it, clearly hoping she might save herself.

In the end, though, Dickinson ditched Charriez, who tearfully told the camera, It hurts big time. Im really trying to hold all this in because I dont want to be a cry-baby. I just really wanted to work with Janice.

This isnt the first time Charriez has lost out because she is a transsexual, by the way. She made it all the way to the semi-finals of UPNs Americas Next Top Modelthen she got kicked off the show for being a transsexual. spoke with Charriez recently, and she said she wouldnt be taking part in the show if Oxygen renews The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency for a second season (at this point, the network has yet to announce whether the show will be back). But she didnt actually reveal that she had been firedits likely that contractual obligations kept Charriez from sharing the revelation.

Some models are so dour, but you have such a beautiful smile. When you smile, your whole face lights up.

This guy at the Burger KingI went to the Burger King because now [that the show is done taping] I can eat whatever I want!was saying how pretty my smile was and how it made his day and how its good to smile. So I try to get in a couple good smiles a day.

Well, your smile drew me to you. I dont know if you ever have a bad day and get bitchy, but if so, we havent seen it on the show. You just radiate positive energy.

We models as a whole were so happy to be there. There werent attitudes.

Except for Janices

Janice is a very theatrical, outrageous woman.

What kind of reaction have you gotten to being on The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency?

I didnt expect it to be as much of a hit as it is. The gays love the show. Ive been getting such a positive response from people from all walks of life. Its been so inspiring.

How did you get started in modeling?

These past two years have been a journey for me as far as modeling goes. I started the modeling thing when I was 16, 17 years old. Peter BeardI dont know if youve ever heard of him, but he is a pretty famous guy[photographed me]. Then I did this audition for Americas Next Top Model with Tyra, and she was the one who actually initially got me noticed. She flew me out to L.A., and they had us at the Ritz, and we did that show, and then they really didnt know what to do with me because they thought it would be unfair if I won, which is bull. I think that they werent prepared to have someone like me on the show. So they sent me back out to do Americas Next Top Transsexual Model on Tyras talk show [The Tyra Banks Show], which honestly I didnt even really want to do. But Tyras just been so supportive of me that I did do it, and I won the silly thing.

Then Janice hired you to work for her agency and be on her show.

Janice, from when [she was a judge on Americas Next Top Model], took a liking to me, which was really, really cool.

Has working for Janice helped you develop as a model?

Im one of the older ones in the group, and like I said, Ive been taking pictures since I was 16, 17 years old, so I came in knowing what I was doing. I didnt need that much coaching. But as far as Janice goes, she is a natural. There are certain people that are naturals in front of the camera, and her age has no importance, no relevance, because she gets in front of the camera, and her poses are like clockwork. She knows what shes doing, and, of course, I was soaking in all that like a sponge.

You mentioned before that you were hesitant to take part in the Americas Next Top Transsexual Model contest on The Tyra Banks Show. Why?

Naturally, Im going to be a little protective of my identity.

Do you find that you have been able to overcome labels and have people respond to you as Claudia?

I know that the transsexual thing is going to have some shock value. Thats the world we live in. But everyone I meet on a personal level, they dont look at me like that way. All my friends that I have now that are straight or gay or whatever, the whole transsexual thing after knowing me becomes secondary. Its not me, or anyone for that matter.

It must have been a fantasy come true to leave your hometown of New York and live it up in L.A.

It was. But it was definitely hard. We didnt have the Americas Next Top Model budget, so my funds began to disappear very quickly. A lot of time when we were shooting, I thought, Should I keep on going, or should I just go back home? But I stuck it through. Im pretty proud of myself for that.

I know you have some acting auditions coming up. Have you acted before?

My first [acting job] was in the movie 54 [about Studio 54]. I was the little go-go girl, and I must have been about 17 at the time when I did the movie. But it was fun. We did it in my old stomping grounds in New York. It was awesome. That was a good movie.

I wish I had been an adult in the 1970s because I would have loved to live in New York when disco was hot and Studio 54 was the place to go.

I know. New York is awesome, but that was a totally different time. I had a couple of boyfriends who were DJs, so I have always known New York nightlife, but I always wanted to know it back in the day of Donna Summer.

Yes, we missed the heyday of disco and the early 1980s when Madonna was first coming up in New York.

Youre talking to a diehard Madonna fan!

Me, too! Did you see the Confessions tour?

My friends and I go to nearly every concertno matter how much the tickets are, were on Craigslist searching. And we all go as Madonnamy girlfriend will go as Madonna from Like a Virgin, my other girlfriend will do Nothing Really Matters, and I went one time in a complete latex body suit like Madonna wore in Human Nature. Oh, my God. We make it an event. We really have a good time.

Oxygen has yet to announce whether we will see a second season of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, but if the show is renewed, will you be back on it?

Its time to move on to a different path now. Everything Ive done so far has kind of been good at leading me to the next level, so Im going to hit the agencies very seriously, and, hopefully, with the show and all the stuff thats going on today, somebody will take a risk. Theres got to be some gay designer out there who will put me in their clothes.

Heres your chance to make it known what designers you would like to work for.

Roberto Cavalli and Karl Lagerfeld. They just mean everything to me.