Amanda Lepore - Performer

The Amanda Lepore Story as told by the Lady herself.

I was born in New Jersey. My mother was German and my father was Italian. Ever since I can first remember, I knew I was a girl. I couldn't understand why my parents were dressing me up in boys clothing. I thought they were insane.

Actually, my mother was schizophrenic and was always being hospitalized, so everything was really centered on her. My brother and I grew up with nannies. My father would take us to toy stores every week and let me buy dolls. I think he felt bad that my mother wasn't around. Actually, that made it a lot easier for me.

Even when I dressed up as a boy people thought I was a girl. I was always the smallest in the class. I remember some substitute teachers weren't sure what I was. When I was 13, I grew my hair long and arched my eyebrows and wore really light makeup. I was into rock n roll music so I used that as an excuse for my look. I did whatever I could get away with.

School was really hard. I didn't get beat up but the other kids would make fun of the way I looked and my gestures. That always makes you strong though. Once you are an outsider, you tend to follow your own path. Creativity comes from that. In one way it made me really withdrawn, but being different does amazing things for you. I probably see things that other people don't see. I think it makes you more compassionate and I'm still drawn to outcasts.

It just came naturally to me and I couldn't stop it. In the first year of high school, I started wearing women's clothing. I didn't have many friends, but I met this girl who was an outcast as well. She was my age but was already go-go dancing in a nearby town. I started making outfits and we wore them in the club where she was dancing. I guess I was into nudity even back then because the outfits were just the smallest things made of beads and feathers. A transsexual that worked there wanted to buy some of them so I asked her to give me hormone pills instead of money. I got breasts in a month!

I was thrilled! I loved having breasts! I even loved the pains I'd get when they were sprouting. The hormones worked really fast because I was just entering puberty. So I took them anytime I could get them. For the rest of the school year, I wore huge baggy t-shirts and whatever I could to hide them but one day my mother caught me coming out of the shower. She asked me "Where did you get hose?" I said, "I don't know, they just grew…".

It I got so used to being harassed in school for so many years that I just dyed my hair bleach blonde and started wearing push up bras. The first day that I went to school like that was the first time I didn't' get harassed. Everyone was in shock! I was sent to see my guidance counselor right away. She said I couldn't go to school like that and I explained to her that I was taking hormones and there was no way I could go back to being a boy. I still wanted a high school education, so they gave me a tutor at home. They also sent me to a psychologist. He recommended that I get hormones prescribed by a real doctor, so my doctor took me to one. I don't think they really accepted me - I think they just got used to me. My father was hoping that I would dress as a boy during the day and only dress as a girl on the weekends and go to beauty school. He was hoping I would be like a gay hair dresser! He'd tell me "you look pretty now because you're young but you are not going to look like a girl when you get older." He thought I'd have a better life if I just dressed like a boy.

At beauty school I was more interested in learning how to do my own nails, getting my hair bleached and learning all these beauty tricks to do on myself. I had no interest in doing it on anyone else. It was kind of a girl's dream just to handle this beauty stuff especially since I was deprived of it all my life.

I knew I liked guys, but the whole thing was very awkward because I didn't have a vagina. I went to some gay bars but the boys weren't interested in me at all. Only the lesbians would come onto me. I started going to straight bars and the guys there really went for me. I would make out with them but I never let it get too far. I was scared. But then I met one who really liked me. We had some sex but it was only focused on him. I would tell him I wasn't ready to go all the way. The more I would hold out, the more he liked me. I guess the other girls were putting out real easy!

He even introduced me to his parents, and they really liked me. I was over at his house a lot and they were so sweet, you know, like the beavers. It was very normal and I loved it. Three months went by and he was really pressuring me to have sex. I did whatever I could, until there was nothing else I could do. So I was forced to tell him my situation. He freaked out. He had no idea at all. I was so depressed because I liked this guy and felt like I had finally found the family I never had at home.

He told his father about me and he was very sympathetic. He thought of me as a real girl and decided to help. They took me to a doctor who recommended a sex change, the only problem was I needed to get my mother's consent, and she didn't want me to do it until I was 21. My boyfriend's father figured out that if he legally adopted me, I could become an emancipated minor and get the surgery. I didn't' have any money, but my boyfriend was saving for a car and gave me some of that money, and the father paid the rest. We got married and I moved into his family's house.

The operation made me so happy! I was euphoric. I still have this euphoric feeling even now. I guess that's why I'm not materialistic, because I finally have this body I've always wanted.

After we got married, my husband didn't want anyone to know I was a transsexual. He accepted me, but for whatever reason he didn't want anyone else to know. I wasn't allowed to work, and I had to stay in the house. I was always by myself. It was ok at first because I was happy just to look in the mirror. I just to look at my pussy for hours and hours! It was fun to have sex with him and cook with the family. I had a lot of energy so I started to do aerobics and then he bought me a sewing machine so I could make clothes. I'd look at pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield and Anita Ekberg - all those 50's bombshells. I thought they were the prettiest things I'd ever seen, so I started dressing like them. I thought that I was just being a normal girl. Maybe not everyone looked like that, but there were women like Dolly Parton and Eva Gabor who did.

The only time I got out of the house was to get my hormone shots or to go to the plastic surgeons. I would get stuff done to look more bombshell-y. I started getting lips, and then cheekbones, and a little body stuff. I started doing all these things I learned in beauty school - I was "done" all the time. My husband was really attracted to how I looked, but it got a lot of attention, especially in the suburbs of New Jersey, and that he didn't like. I thought that he was just too controlling, but when I look back at it, look what happened, right?

I was in that house for five years and I couldn't stand it anymore. All I wanted to do was have a little job working at a make-up counter in a mall or something to get out of the house. I wasn't asking for much, but my husband wouldn't let me, and I started despising him for that. I met a singer at the plastic surgeon's office, and he would always invite me to his shows in New York. I finally explained that I wasn't allowed out of the house and he couldn't believe it. He just thought that was horrible. He said, "If you ever want to leave him, you can stay with me." Once he said that, I became obsessed with the idea of leaving my husband and moving to New York.

I started taking money from my husband and putting it in a suitcase. I would tell him I needed the money to buy stuff for the house then save it. I also sold all my jewelry. I was plotting my escape for almost seven months. Finally I came to New York. My husband had a detective looking for me so I got a restraining order against him, but I kept in contact with his father. The father knew we were fighting and understood that I needed to get out of there. I even offered to pay him back for everything, but refused. He turned out to be like a real father to me.

So you know, I had never really paid bills or anything before. I got this job at a salon doing nails and I was only making around $45 a day. I clearly needed money. The singer I moved in with turned out to be a hustler, so I had to be out of the house all the time while he was entertaining his clients. I used to go to this coffee shop, and I met an ex-marine there who suggested I move in with him. We became lovers. He was into S&M, which I didn't like at all, but he told me that I could make a lot more money doing that instead of working in a salon.

I started working as a dominatrix, and I made a lot of money. The good part was that you didn't have to have actual sex with anyone; but it was very weird. I worked out of a dungeon and I'd have to do spankings. Some clients would come up with entire scenarios and scripts, so it was kind of like acting. One guy was very into lipstick, and he would just make me put on more and more. He would just get so excited about the whole thing and by the end I had tons of lipstick on! Another liked to be hit with pies in the face like a clown. Another liked to pretend that we were waiting for a bus, and I would have to sit there and ask him the time - you know like, "what time is it?" or "Time sure flies, it's one o' clock," and then "Oh, it's 1:02!" he would get off on that. I didn't love this job but I was able to do things like get an apartment by myself.

Then a friend took me to Michael Alig's party Disco 2000, and everyone was floored when they saw me. I started going out all the time and became a star over night - the girl of the minute. It felt so good to finally be appreciated. I quit the domination job and started doing make up at Patricia Fields during the day and working clubs at night.

When I worked as a dominatrix, I had to hide the fact that I was a sex change. At Pat's anyone could be whatever they wanted. When I went to night clubs I saw so many different types of people and when it came out that I was a transsexual, I was celebrated even more for that. It felt so good to just be out in the open.

One day, I was working at bowery bar, and David Lachapelle saw me. He was amazed. "Oh my god, I've got to photograph her - she looks like the girls that I used to draw when I was in high school." He used to doodle sexy women with big breasts and huge lips, and I guess I really looked like this imaginary girl he used to draw. So that week he started taking a lot of pictures of me.

I think David and I share a creative bond and we see things that other people don't. The first time I worked with him, he shot me snorting diamonds cocaine. I didn't even know those were real diamonds. There was one glued up my nose, so after the shoot, I took it out and threw it on the make up table and everyone freaked out! I collaborated with him on the Warhol Marilyn picture, but most of them are his ideas, his fantasies of me. He likes to completely change me into different characters, like a black woman with a watermelon, or completely painting me pink for the Heatherette video. I rely on the acting training I got being a dominatrix when I model for him. David says I am his best model because I take direction well

Working with David really helped build up my confidence. I've always been extremely shy, even when I worked in night clubs, I hardly talked. I guess people just like looking at me. I didn't do much either - I was like the dancer who didn't dance! But it's a lot better now, I have a lot more confidence. Now I'm doing things like singing that could never imagine doing before. I'm just starting to come out of my shell.

I just got out of a two year relationship and I'm dating a lot now. I'm totally faithful when I have a boyfriend, but now I'm just playing the field. For a while, I didn't have that much sex and I thought my vagina was closing up - I was scared I'd have to have another operation! With a vagina, when they do the inversion, the outside becomes the inside. So, if you weren't very big to begin with, you are not very deep; but it stretches too. Then I met a Russian guy who got it really opened up, so now I'm having really good sex. I am having orgasms like crazy lately. I used to only have orgasms from penetration; but when I was in Germany I met the really hot guy, and he was fingering the outside and I came. That was the first time I came that way! I didn't think that it was possible and it is. So now I have everything I've always wanted. Everything and then some. I am a lucky girl. I love my life.