Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Interview with Jerrine Jeffries

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Jerrine Ka’iulani Madayag Calantoc aka Jerrine Jeffries, Former Empress 26/29 of The Imperial Court Of Hawaii, Former Golden Goddess 97 and Queen Of Queens 2000 of The Hawaii Boa Arts Ball Pageant, 2nd Runner up to the Universal Showqueen Pageant Hawaii 2006 & 2007, 4th Runner up to the Continental Elite Beauty Pageant in Chicago 2006 and the presently reigning Miss Fusion Waikiki Honolulu, Also a former cast member of The Paperdoll Revue and The Glades Revue. An American entertainer and beauty pageant queen. Hello Jerrine!
Jerrine: Aloha Monika!
Monika: You look fantastic, Jerrine. What is the secret of your beauty?
Jerrine: My Asian bloodline and my doctors.

Empress 26/29 of The Imperial Court of Hawaii.

Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jerrine: Well, as you know, I’m from the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Born May 1, 1953, I am 61 years of age, Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, German, Irish, Indian, Spanish and most important I'm a Transsexual.
I transitioned at a late age of 27 and set goals for myself and accomplished 90% of them within the past 20 something years. At first it was hard as we all know.
Monika: When did you decide that you would like to be a stage artist?
Jerrine: My first appearance was back in the 70s at the Glades Show Lounge in Honolulu.
Monika: Could you name some of the venues and shows/revues in which you participated?
Jerrine: Fusion Waikiki, Venus Night Club.
Monika: Have you ever thought about acting?
Jerrine: Not really.
Monika: Do you remember your first beauty pageant?
Jerrine: Yes, 1993 Miss Elsies Club Polynesian, Winner.
Monika: Could you say a few words more about your best pageants and trophies?
Jerrine: Hawaii’s Universal Showqueen Pageant, It’s a Las Vegas style competition consisting of Black and white Coutour Cocktail, Evening Gown, Talent and Showgirl Costume.
But the best was when I became Empress of the Imperial Court of Hawaii, being able to give back to the community by raising money and donating to various charitable organizations. Examples: Life Foundation, The Gregory House, Save the Food Basket.

Miss Fusion Waikiki 2014.

Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it?
Jerrine: You could say I'm a very modest person but sometimes it helps.
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Jerrine: I was pretty much alone in the beginning stages of my transition but as the years past and I found my true calling.
Being an entertainer, Miss Yoshiko Oshiro was my idol and someone whom I was inspired by.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Jerrine: I had a very awesome support group, my family and friends.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the American society?
Jerrine: Being a child of the 50s We as transgender women have seen and been through a lot.
Performing with The Paperdoll
Revue on 7/16/2014.
But I must admit we have made an impact on society in more ways then one. We are active in so many aspect of life. We are her to stay and we all have a voice.
Monika: Transgender ladies are subject to the terrible test whether they pass as a woman or they do not. You are a lovely lady yourself but what advice you would give to ladies with the fear of not passing as a woman?
Jerrine: As Yolanda Adams sings “Never Give Up” stay strong and true to yourself. 
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Jerrine: Of, course!
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Jerrine: Somewhat and yes, We do have a few Transgender women here in office, Kim Coco Iwamoto on the Hawaii Board of Education, and Kumu Hina Wong vying for the seat of Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Jerrine: Love from family and friends are most important to me because without their love it would be very hard to go on and pursue in whatever I wanted to.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Jerrine: I am such a Fashionista, I have turned my spare bedroom as a walk in closet. I love anything that looks good on me.
I love Chanel and Emilio Pucci and because of my body size I can walk into clothing store and buy straight off the rack.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Jerrine: One day I would love to but I don’t know how to go about it.

Last month performance with
The Paperdoll Revue.

Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Jerrine: You know, I have done just about all I could do in such a short period and I am very contented with the results.
Being able to be a mentor to my sister transgender sisters here in Hawaii and hopefully I have reached out to others in the mainland and abroad. That is the most gratifying to me. 
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, thinking about the entertainment career?
Jerrine: Do It and do it to the best of your ability. Never let anyone tell you different.
You are your worse critic, live to entertain and entertain at your best.
Never Give Up.
Monika: Jerrine, thank you for the interview

All the photos: courtesy of Jerrine Jeffries.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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