Catching Up With Candis Cayne
By Gregory Miller
Candis Cayne may have made a name for herself as a New York City performance artist, but it was her job as prime-time television's first transgender woman playing a transgender woman on Dirty Sexy Money that put her in the media spotlight. After a stint on Nip/Tuck and a successful weekly club show in L.A., Cayne is back with a gig on this week's Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime.
Out: How'd you get this part on Drop Dead Diva?
Candis Cayne: [The show] called me and my agent and asked if I wanted to do this part that they were writing for me. And I was like, 'Of course!' It was super exciting.
What's your role?
I play a transgendered woman who, before her transition, was married to a woman. They married and they'd been in a relationship for a long, long time. She suddenly dies in a car accident, and her family comes after all of her assets. Even though they're mine, legally, because gay marriage is illegal, they have a basis for taking everything. And so it's about the fight to keep her and her dead wife's stuff.
How was it being on set?
I was in Peachtree City, Georgia, which is so crazy, like in the middle of Georgia, shooting this television show. It was so much fun. It was beautiful, the locals were really nice, and the cast was just great. Everybody was just wonderful. I had a few cheeky moments with Margaret Cho, which was so much fun. I love her.
Had you ever worked with her before?
I met her before a few times at different like events and red carpets. I'd never worked with her. But it was really fun. She's hilarious. She's one of those people you're just obsessed talking to her -- you're laughing.
How was hosting the GLAAD Media Awards earlier this year?
It was a little flinching. I mean, it's live theater, pretty much, which I'm good at, it's what I do. But instead of, like, a local crowd or 10 people in the audience, there's like the cast of Glee sitting two tables down. It was really scary, but so much fun. And it went off without a hitch, thank God. I usually get kind of nervous, but for some reason that night, I walked up and there were no nerves or anything. And I was singing live. And I was like, "This is not very good that I'm nervous." But it actually went really well!
And you're still doing your weekly show in L.A. at the Abbey?
Yeah, I do a show at 10:00 every Monday at the Abbey. California is completely different from New York City, but it's still fabulous. And I love doing my show. Even though I really love doing film and television stuff, my show is where I started at. I could never not do it. It's what I love.
Even if you become a huge movie star, you'll still keep doing it?
Yeah, for sure! Maybe not weekly [laughs].
There were rumors of you moving back to New York.
Do you ever get tired of people constantly drawing attention to the fact that you're transgender, rather than letting your accomplishments stand alone?
When you're first doing something that hasn't been done before, you have to be that person. People want to ask questions. It would be lame and stupid of me to not want to talk about it because that's who I am, and I'm really open about it. If you show a representation for the community, that's going to be a positive step for everyone in the right direction.