New York's Allanah Starr discusses her life and fame as a Transsexual
by Abby Ehmann
The stunning Allanah Starr is New York City's transsexual queen of all media, starring in films, radio, television, nightlife and the Internet. From Communist Cuba to the biggest city in America, Allanah has sculpted herself a new self and an enormous niche in the TVTS community. Eros Zine asked her to take some time out of her busy schedule to tell us all about her multifaceted life.
Eros Correspondent: Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you initially realize that you were "different?"
Allanah Starr: I was born under the Communist regime in Cuba and migrated to the U.S. when I was five years old. People always ask me how our family was able to leave; the reason is simple. My father was a political prisoner and they wanted him out. I grew up in Miami, but have lived in New York City for seven years now.
Ever since I can remember I have always felt extremely effeminate. I know it sounds very classic and cliché for someone in my circumstance, but I truly was never interested in boy's toys or games. I always wanted to play with dolls and dress up and play house. I didn't really realize I was different from anyone else until I was in kindergarten and the school kids started calling me a sissy and a faggot. I was totally in shock, because at five years old I really had no understanding what that meant. My parents had completely sheltered me and school was definitely a rude awakening. I basically dealt with that harassment constantly for 12 years of my schooling.
Through all that, I somehow managed to excel in my studies and become an awarded member of the high school's speech/debate and drama teams. (I fit in much better with the drama kids.) Back then, there was a lot less intolerance of effeminate boys in schools. Being a bully was not discussed as it is today, and, trust me, I was bullied my whole life.
After high school, I went to an arts school for two years and began dressing up soon after that. Slowly, I began to evolve, discover my true identity and look into my options regarding my physical transformation. It took me a while to figure it out, but I have been living as a woman now for nine years and it was definitely the best decision I ever made regarding my personal happiness. I am 100% certain this was my destiny and that I was born with a gender identify disorder. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a girl.
EZ: You appear to be very involved in the local TVTS community. Tell us about your events.
Allanah: A lot of people have told me that they see me as a role model for the community. I really do not see myself as a role model because I am nowhere near perfect, but I do accept that as a great compliment. A lot of transsexuals have very hard lives, and though I have had my share of very bad times, I am a deep-hearted optimist and believe that things will always improve if you want them to improve.
I guess the term "role model" may be applied to anyone who achieves goals that are far beyond what is expected of them from society. And I truly believe society does not have very high expectations of transsexual women. When I set out to do my website, not only did I want to create a business, but I wanted to create a fan site and an information site, especially to help admirers understand the life more.
The events came about because I was sick of going to tranny parties that were completely horrible. I believed that the girls and admirers deserved good, upscale places to come together and party. For me to be involved in a project it has to be fun and creative. Hence why all the monthly parties have themes and decorations, costumes, etc. Yes, I could spend a lot less money by cutting out those elements, but that would make it not worthwhile for me. I'm interested in representing the community in a positive way and showing people that, yes, you can be a transsexual and be a businesswoman and accomplish goals.
Unfortunately we as transsexuals have to fight against many stereotypes and misconceptions, and we are discriminated against all the time. Just recently, I was denied entrance to a popular gay nightclub in Manhattan, Splash, because they were not letting in transsexuals or women that night. It's sad but true that, in this day and age, in one of the most progressive cities in the world, it can happen to anyone.
EZ: How did you wind up being an event promoter?
Allanah: Just as I became an accidental New Yorker, you could say I became an accidental party promoter. I really never thought I would end up doing parties. The idea came to me as more of a promotional vehicle to improve my website memberships. I collaborated with a TS promoter at the time who had a party, and I figured I would advertise and do the party as a promotion for my website, with a personal appearance by me. I really didn't think many people would show up, but we ended up with about 250 guys in attendance.
I then realized something was sorely missing in the TS nightlife scene, so I began to do parties here and there without much organization or without an idea of what I was really doing. It took a while to get the formula down, but I must admit, the events and parties now are so much fun. I know for a fact there is nothing like my monthly events anywhere else in the world, and I am very proud of that.
EZ: And how did you wind up making movies?
Allanah: My career in films was something that I wanted to do to complement my web work and to help me promote myself. I really don't get to do too many of them because most of the business in is in California. I've appeared in about 12 features so far, but at the moment I will work with only very few producers and directors.
It's hard for a transsexual adult actress, because the system is not set up to make you a "star." There are no contract star transsexuals, and no big companies pushing a particular girl. A lot of producers will only shoot a girl once, then move on to the next. This, of course, is not the case with all of the top names today, but there are indeed very few top names in the industry that work on a regular basis. It's quite a disposable business, I suppose. So it's up to the actress to fight the industry and create her own name recognition and product.
EZ: You've been on a million TV shows. What's Maury Povich like?
Allanah: I've made four appearances on the Maury Povich show and I have enjoyed all of them. Doing the show is publicity for me. The producers are all very nice people and though I've only really shaken Mr. Povich's hand at the show, he seems very polite and cordial.
There is a reason why they do these types of shows: they are very popular. People always ask me is Mr. Povich into the girls, because they do so many of these shows. That is a bunch of rubbish and wishful thinking. The show is very professional and the ratings are good, and that's why they do so many. After my last appearance, I received over 100 fan letters from people who saw me on the show. I've gotten a lot of flack from some transsexuals because they feel the show represents the community in a bad way. I personally would prefer if they would use the word transsexual, rather than man as the reveal point, but I understand that it's entertainment and they are appealing to a certain audience.
I live openly as a transsexual, so I have no problems in revealing my sexual identity. Again, the show is pure publicity vehicle for me. Someone can hear my name on the show, Google it, and voila, they discover the world of Allanah Starr. There are a lot of guys who have become interested in transsexuals from watching those shows.
But most importantly, I think the show does a great job of blurring the lines of gender. The audiences always think that the genetic women on the show were born male. It makes a valid point that you can't always tell or define male and female features. There are genetic women who are tall, have big hands, big feet, big backs, and there are transsexuals who have small hands, small feet and small backs. As long as I represent myself well, I'm always happy with my appearances on Maury.
EZ: And you've been a cover girl a million magazines. You really are quite a media star. Do people recognize you on the street?
Allanah: Well, I do get recognized periodically, but it's usually in peculiar ways. Guys tend to be a little shy, so if they don't approach me, they usually send me an email about seeing me. It's all rather sweet. There's a homeless man who "lives" on the corner of my block and every time I pass by he yells "Hello, Star!" I'm not sure if he knows, but it's quite amusing regardless.
EZ: You are very up front about your plastic surgeries. What was your first?
Allanah: Plastic surgery has changed my life, and I am deeply grateful for all of the doctors who had made my life better. I'm very honest about myself, my surgeries and my work. I've had 30 actual surgeries and countless procedures. Of course, I plan to do much more. My first operations were my nose job and an otoplasty (I had my ears pinned back). Since then, it has become a hobby of mine. I always say I collect shoes, handbags, Hollywood memorabilia and surgeries.
EZ: What's next?
I'm always having something touched up, but I would now like to do my forehead contouring, another brow lift and reshape my hairline. People tell me all the time, "Oh, you don't need this stuff! You look great!" But I really don't have surgeries to please anyone other than myself. Then, after they see the result of what I had done that they didn't want me to do, they agree that it does look much better. I have an excellent eye for detail, which can actually be a bit of a curse because I'm always finding imperfections. Not that I'm trying to look perfect, but just the best that I can look for me.
EZ: You've posed for many photographers. Do you have a favourite?
Allanah: I've been very fortunate to work with photographers like Tony Ward, Misa Martin, Maya Guez and many others, but I must admit that Misa Martin is more than a photographer, she is a close friend. She exclusively shoots 99% of the content for my website and we have an outstanding relationship. Misa is my favorite because we work very well and very fast together. She knows what I like and that we can shoot, edit and be done in an hour or two when we are shooting for my website. I love that because I'm usually on a tight schedule and she understands that.
EZ: We love Misa too! What was your favourite photo shoot?
Allanah: My favourite photo shoot has yet to happen [laughs]. I like many of the sets, but I'm not sure if any one is my complete favorite. I'm extremely picky about my photographs and if I'm usually about 80% happy with a photo, then that's pretty good. I'm definitely my own toughest critic, especially when it comes to my photographs.
EZ: What are your inspirations?
Allanah: I'm really inspired by so many people, artists and mediums that I could probably write a long dissertation about what has inspired me at different points in my life. However, I'm always inspired by stars of the golden age of Hollywood and women like Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren, Gloria Swanson, some for their beauty others for their talent.
I am inspired by films like Sunset Boulevard, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, Mommie Dearest, all the John Waters films, and so many more, all for different reasons as well.
I'm inspired by many artists like Mondrian, Dali and The Chapman Brothers, to name a few. Fashion is also a great inspiration for me and I'm very enthusiastic about Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, all designers who are visionaries. I could go on an on, but my inspirations are really an eclectic mix. I am inspired as much by Dolly Parton as I am Jocelyn Wildenstein.
EZ: Do you have any fetishes?
Allanah: I have a lot of traditionally sexual fetishes that not are non-sexual for me, like high heels and large boobs. I guess I have aesthetic fetishes. I'm turned on by beauty and beautiful things!
EZ: Do you run your own web site?
Allanah: Yes. I'm not the CEO of my site, but I am the "star," creative director and producer. We have a webmaster who does all the technical work, but I do produce all the content and direct operations. As far as my new party site, ShemaleEvents.com, that is exclusively run by me and my webmaster.
EZ: What are your fans like?
Allanah: My fans are very gracious individuals who are from all walks of life and all over the world. Sometimes I'm shocked at some of the fan mail I receive because they're all so kind and thankful. I have everyone from professionals to artists to blue collar workers, who are fond of me. I receive email from all over the world, including Africa, the Middle East and even a couple from Iceland. I'm deeply grateful to anyone who takes the time out to write me a note of appreciation.
What I'm most proud of is all the thank-you notes I get from gentlemen who read all of the contents in the free area of my website and about my life, experiences and opinions on what it means to be attracted to a transsexual. A lot of men who are first introduced into this world may have a lot of trepidation or fears and I try to explain to them that they are not alone.
This is a huge interest. My website gets 4,000 to 6,000 unique hits a day. The problem is that no one talks about it because, in a way, transsexuals are one of the last sexual taboos because of all of the stigmas attached to being sexually attracted to a transsexual. There is no language to describe a man or a woman who likes a transsexual sexually. Perhaps it is because transsexualism is a relatively modern scientific phenomenon.
My fans are indeed great. My gratitude for their kindness cannot really be expressed. All I can say is that I'm grateful beyond belief to all of them for their interest in me.
EZ: Okay, so TV shows, magazines, porn videos, web sites, parties...is there anything you don't do?
Allanah: Well, I'm waiting for the TV sitcom and movie script and book deal to come around [laughs]. The truth is, I'm a very ambitious person and I would like to try my hand at many things. During my life, I've held many careers, and these current jobs as an adult actress, model, web mistress, party promoter, columnist, TS personality. I think they suit me well. I would love to do much, much more. I am so very lucky to have all the opportunities I've had and will keep on knocking on more doors searching for new ones.
EZ: What exciting things do you have coming up?
Allanah: There are a few exciting projects that I have finished and I am working on. One is MTV's I Want a Famous Face which I filmed with my dear friend Gia Darling (who is the subject of the show). I'm very excited because the show has been selected as the season finale for the series and will be airing on MTV June 15.
I'm travelling to Europe soon to appear on the live panel of UK's Channel 5 hit program Cosmetic Surgery Live (for which I already filmed an interview and my surgery). I'm thrilled as it will be the first time I'll appear on live TV. I also recently finished filming a segment for Playboy TV's Sexcetera, which focused on myself, Gia Darling, Joanna Jet and Danielle Foxxx. It's a documentary based on one of my events. Of course, I'm continuing with my weekly Thursday parties and monthly parties the last Friday of every month.
And a group and I are developing the first ever Adult Transsexual Awards show, which will honor excellence in all mediums of transsexual adult entertainment, from film to magazines to websites. I'm particularly excited about that project because I know that we're often overlooked by the mainstream adult industry. It's really about time we got the recognition we deserve, as transsexual erotica is a huge and viable part of the adult industry. And beyond those projects, I wish for bigger boobs, higher heels, bigger hair and longer lashes!
EZ: Well, we can look forward to all of that with you! Thank you, Allanah.
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Interview courtesy of Eros-London.com
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