We first learned about Elle Schneider when the news broke that model Luke Worrall had been two-timing her and Kelly Osbourne. Cue the media circus. But in all that craziness, we never heard the full story from Schneider's point of view. Who is Elle Schneider? Out chatted with the 21-year-old college student to find out how her relationship with Worrall began, how she became friends with Osbourne, and how she's harnessing the international attention.
Out: First, I have to ask you about the leaked nude photos of Luke. Some people debated whether or not it's actually him.
Elle Schneider: Oh, it's him. I would know. Kelly and I actually had a huge laugh when that came out. It was almost like a slap in the face to him -- to learn his lesson.
Karma is a bitch. How did you and Kelly Osbourne become friends?
When we realized that Luke had been two-timing us, we began bonding. I would help her out whenever she'd call me and cry or need someone to speak to, because I was the only person that she could relate to. After I ended everything with Luke, she was there for me and helped me get through it.
So, going back to the beginning, you met Luke in a New York City nightclub in 2009. What was that first conversation like?
It was a short meeting. I was with my friends and he approached me and told me he was a model. He immediately told me he found me attractive and asked me where I was staying. We exchanged numbers and after I left I got a text message from him and we met up later that night.
You've said before that you told him upfront that you were transgendered and he was excited about that.
What made me come forward about that was until the last day we spoke he was telling me he was in love with me and he couldn't wait to see me at Fashion Week in New York. And then Kelly called me and told me he'd been having sex with some girl and taking her to parties for the last few days. I was like, OK, he needs to learn a lesson. He doesn't have a right to do this.
How did the conversation go when you told him you are trans?
I was already passable. You wouldn't know right away that I'm transgendered. I'm 5'3 and less than 100 pounds. I'm very feminine, but I felt like he knew. When he approached me at the club, the crowd I was with was all transgendered people or drag queens. It was obvious that I belonged to the crowd. Later that night when we met up, I told him, 'I'm transgendered,' and he said he knew and didn't have a problem with it.
What was your first time with him like?
I wasn't nervous because he was so aggressive about it. He didn't give me a minute to think. He kind of jumped on me. He's a very aggressive lover and he immediately started kissing me. He was very into me and I had nothing to worry about.
Once you got to know him, did you consider yourself his girlfriend?
No. I wasn't attached to him at first. I felt like, this guy is a model and I'm sure he's promiscuous. But when we spoke again for the second time around November 2010, we spent basically a month talking on the phone every day. There wasn't a moment I didn't know what he was doing because he was texting me, calling me, writing to me -- so it gave me reason to believe he was serious. From there on out I became attached to him. He asked me to be exclusive with him and I said, 'As long as you're not dating other girls, I'm OK with that.'
Momentarily ignoring that fact that he's a cheater, what's Luke like on his good days?
He proved to be a piece of crap at the end, but he's charming. He'll tell you he doesn't enjoy the modeling industry and he's not attracted to female models because they're stuck-up. His game is to make girls feel pity for him. He'll speak about his father dying and his brother dying and how poor his family is in London. You just want to nurture him and make him feel better. You want to make him smile.
And throughout your time with him, you never knew he was with Kelly?
No. I found out he was with Kelly when she e-mailed me on Christmas, and then she called me later that day.
You didn't know, even though their relationship was public? You didn't Google him?
I found out he was engaged to Kelly six months after we met in New York City. When I spoke to him again I knew they had broken up because it was all over the press and he told me they weren't together. He even once called her in front of me, but I thought they were just cordial. I didn't know they had anything going on.
An e-mail from Kelly Osbourne telling you your man is cheating couldn't have been a great Christmas gift.
It caught me by surprise, that's for sure. First she added me on Twitter, and I sent her a message like, 'I'm going to assume you have something to say?' And then she added me on Facebook and sent me a message explaining everything. She said she was with Luke and they were working things out and he'd been lying to her all this time. I had some doubts at first, but from the way she spoke, I could tell she was genuinely hurt.
Did you then contact Luke?
I did and he denied it all. He continued to deny it for the next three days, but Kelly and I kept speaking to one another and I told Luke, 'I don't want anything to do with you.' I told Kelly, 'I'm not a bitch. I'm not out to fuck you over and if you need someone to speak to, you can go ahead and speak to me. I'm not going to let Luke manipulate me.' I remember two days before that, I told Luke I was afraid I wasn't going to fall in love with him and I didn't want to break his heart. So I think that allowed me to believe Kelly. Even up until the last day we spoke, he told me not to give up on him. He wanted to redeem himself because he didn't want to lose me.
Will you ever speak to him again?
I don't have any desire to. I blocked him in every way possible: I changed my number, blocked him on Facebook, on Twitter. I don't even check my old e-mail anymore because I know he e-mails me there.
How did you react to other people coming forward about being with Luke?
Kelly told me more than 100 people have come forward and confirmed they've slept with him. Men, women, trannies, everything in between. He will deny it until the day he dies.
And you're in the process of transitioning, right?
I [started taking hormones again] about a year and a half ago. My surgery will be sometime next year.
At what point did you know you were transgendered?
From a very early age, only because I couldn't date men that were gay. It wasn't attractive to me, but I was attracted to men. Even the masculine gays, I wasn't attracted to. I felt Luke was bisexual because he's been with men and women.
When did you decide you wanted to have surgery?
I started taking hormones at 17 but I guess I [stopped when I] became complacent, because I didn't really need hormones to be a woman to attract straight men. I've always had men approach me. By the time 19 came around, I decided I wanted to feel comfortable with myself in dating. So that's when I decided and last year I had breast augmentation.
Was that pretty monumental?
No. Most people ask was it a huge deal. I felt more comfortable and more in my skin, but it really wasn't. It was almost as if I'd had them my entire life.
How did you choose your name?
Elle used to be my name when I was younger with my friends because I was obsessed with ELLE magazine. And then Schneider is my father's last name.
So now that you're in the public eye, are you planning to use that attention in any way?
It's completely caught me by surprise. A lot of media outlets are prejudiced and paint me in the wrong light and use the word transsexual. A lot of magazines say, 'Kelly Osbourne's ex cheated on her with a tranny!' Or, ''a girl with a penis!' Things that are quite offensive. But I'm also getting a lot of offers. The bigger benefit to me is if -- eventually, when this all dies down -- I could use this as a platform to speak about issues that affect our community. People have the wrong perception of who we are.
What issues do you want to address?
First of all, there's prejudice within our community. There's a lot of hatred and jealousy. Considering that we don't have the same legal rights as the rest of our society and our lifestyle isn't detrimental to anyone, that the government can still deny us rights is completely mind-blowing. It speaks to how united we should be.