She�s a Lady

8.13.2006

By Christine Champagne

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

Naturally, I'm 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. That's the world we live in. But everyone I meet on a personal level, they don't 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. It's 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 didn't have the America's 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. I'm 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.

You're talking to a diehard Madonna fan!

Me, too! Did you see the Confessions tour?

My friends and I go to nearly every concert'no matter how much the tickets are, we're on Craigslist searching. And we all go as Madonna'my 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?

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

Here's 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.

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