Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Interview with Amy Tashiana

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Amy Tashiana, a former model, fashion coordinator, performer, one of the most famous transgender icons from Singapore. Hello Amy!
Amy: Hello Monika!
Monika: Amy, you look absolutely beautiful! What is the secret of your everlasting beauty?
Amy: The secret of my beauty? For me, only minor issues need to be fixed and the rest depends on my doctor's advice, including some beauty creams. Not too many interventions, but of course breast implants were indispensable.
Monika: How did you start your modeling career?
Amy: I entered into the modeling world when I was 17 years old with basic professional modeling training.
Monika: In the mid-1980s, you were a well-known model, and then a fashion coordinator. Was the fashion industry-friendly towards transgender models then?
Amy: In my modeling career days in the 80s and early 90s, I knew quite a handful of people and choreographers that I was always with, and yes, they were very supportive towards me, and yet I had to be very careful when I talked, paying attention to social etiquette, and behavior which should not attract the attention of others.

Monika: Nowadays the fashion industry is full of beautiful transgender models: Lea T, Felipa Tavares, Andreja Pejić, Valentijn de Hingh, and many more. How could you explain such a great interest of the fashion industry in transgender ladies?
Amy: I think it's almost the same way as I was; we need to be humble and mix around with the fashion industry people to get more support. As I would say, having courses and training is still very important to know how to be a good model. All transgender women would live to be on that edge of being a model but without skills and courses, it's still difficult to get you anywhere.
Monika: What kind of outfits do you usually wear now? Any special fashion designs or colors?
Amy: I like wearing something nice and up-to-date fashion collections, according to the season color, no specific designers, only the one that attracts my eyes' attention.
Monika: In addition, you were a performer in various clubs on Bugis Street in Singapore. Do you still remember the names and atmosphere of those clubs and their atmosphere?
Amy: The name of the club that I was performing at Bugis was Boom Boom Room. The atmosphere there was completely different than the one in Europe; guests would come by on shows time slots, it's like in the 80s when club guests would come and sit to watch a show. Nice place, nice people, and of course LGTB supporters.
Monika: With your talent, beauty, and intelligence, you would be a great actress. Have you ever thought about acting?
Amy: Actually I acted in 2 short movies already: "Kopi Julia" and "03 flats". It was a great experience and if I have a chance or invitation to act again, why not.
Monika: Have you ever taken part in beauty pageants?
Amy: Yes, I did take part in beauty pageants before and I won a few: 2nd runner-up for Queen of Queen 1986, Winner of Ms. Glamour 1987 (somewhere around those years), Ms. Glamour 1987 (Chinese TG community - not official).

Courtesy of Amy Tashiana.

Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Amy: The role model that I followed was also another Chinese transgender woman, then she was also in Singapore. Her name was Christine; she was tall and fashionable but soon she left Singapore. 
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in Singapore?
Amy: The situation of transgender women in Singapore is not as bad as 20yrs ago but I still see some newcomers struggling for their life. My advice is to find a job as soon as possible.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Amy: I don't participate in politics but just love to watch. Singapore is not a good place for transgenders to participate in politics but the government decided to give us a new identity after our gender reassignment surgery. In other words, the gender bracket in our identity card and passport will be changed to Female.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Amy: Nothing important is happening in my love life. I have rejected partners twice, and I am not sure if I could find my Mr. Right. At this moment I am busy with work, having not much time for love... My love is my cat.
Monika: You have a perfect figure. What do you do to stay so slim? :)
Amy: Perfect figure? Maybe 20yrs ago, now having reached 50, my weight has doubled up but I still need to take care and beware of cakes and ice-creams.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Amy: Yes, I have given a thought to my memoirs but maybe I am still young for that; it has to wait a little more.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Amy: My next step within the upcoming 5-7 years? I might be more relaxed to concentrate on love and looking for a life partner to retire with.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, dreaming about such a career like yours?
Amy: My advice to transgender women is that in order to fit into my shoes, they should mix with the right people, behave themselves, do take classes and courses that will really help to improve their lives in order to face challenges from the public society, gossip and hatred. And they should always look presentable. :)
Monika: Amy, thank you for the interview!
All the photos: courtesy of Amy Tashiana.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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