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"Gracie Cartier is the same soul each and every day no matter how I choose to show up -- whether it's the spiritual me, the sexy me, the soulful me, the sassy me, the silly me. I'm always me, Gracie Cartier," she tells Out in a special interview as part of her partnership with McDonald's and their new LGBTQ+ campaign, "Livin' It," that's about inclusivity and celebrating progress and love in all its forms.
Throughout the interview, Cartier -- the host of Life+'s Transcend who recently came out as living with HIV -- perfects her makeup in front of a mirror while sharing the importance of found family.
"I have a beautiful tribe of unique, soulful, loving beings in my chosen family," she attests. "And I take my chosen family very seriously because like myself and many other in this community, I know what it feels like to have blood family not support you as much as you may need or you may desire."
Growing up, Cartier did not feel represented in the media. But she did find strength in the visibility of Black women like Oprah Winfrey, Tina Turner, and especially Grace Jones; a 2012 Halloween costume of Jones led to Cartier's coming out as a trans woman. "There will be no Gracie without Grace Jones.... That was the night that I felt like the most true, authentic version of myself. When you asked me when was the first time I ever felt like I was seen, it was in that moment. I felt like I was living my authentic truth, it was in that moment. And that's how Gracie was born."
Cartier, who is also a model, actress, and former celebrity hairstylist, was named to the Out100 this year. And she would love to see more Black trans pioneers like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera honored in Out's pages -- as well as a new generation of activists.
"Honestly, I feel like all the new kids of today needs to be celebrated," she says. "Because these young kids, they get it. They get it, they understand, they ... [live their lives with] such courage, with such bravery, with such honesty. And it inspires me."
In the BTS video above, Cartier invites us to Palm Springs Pride. "It's my life; and I'm loving it. And living it," she declares.
Directed by Joey James Salehi for Out and McDonald's.