Sunday, 21 June 2015

Interview with Yuni Carey

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Yuni Carey, an American model of Cuban descent, dancer, and beauty pageant queen. Hello Yuni!
Yuni: Hello Monika!
Monika: Yuni, you look absolutely beautiful! What is the secret of your everlasting beauty?
Yuni: Aww thank you my love that's very sweet of you. Well, I like to stay on top of myself by always taking good care of my diet and eating well-balanced food as also maintaining straightforward nutrition. Few secrets would be hormones, which are very important, as well as dancing to stay in shape... And always on top of all, fashion and the best products for beauty. A trans woman has to always stay on top of things to be stunning.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Yuni: I was born in Cuba 20 years ago lol lol just kidding. I was born in 1981 on the most beautiful island of the Caribbean Santa Clara, Cuba. I moved to the United States with my grandparents, but in reality, in my eyes, they are my parents because they spent their years raising me always with love and support.
Here in America, I had the opportunity to become the woman I always dreamed of being. I am very passionate about beauty and fashion and all the beautiful things God has put on this earth for us to enjoy.

Courtesy of Yuni Carey.

I enjoy beauty pageants, modeling, traveling, music, dancing, and learning about the history of other cultures from the world. I'm very strong because life has made me tough that way! I'm loving because my parents taught me to love everyone equally and respect. 
I'm very funny and enjoy making my friends laugh and just live life as it comes and not regret anything... I have learned that things happen for a reason and we can't change that but I'm a person that likes making history so that one day when I'm gone, people from around the world can look at my life, and hopefully I can give them a little hope and smile so that they somehow feel inspired and never give up. 
Monika: How does it feel to be a beautiful model?
Yuni: Well, I don't feel that way since I don't feel that my transformation is complete. But it does feel amazing to know that I'm living the life I always wanted to live.
Every day I look in the mirror and I feel proud to have achieved all my dreams of becoming the woman I always wanted to be. I feel accomplished but not finished since I feel like we "Trans" women are never done growing and becoming the best woman we can be.
I feel like the older we get the more beautiful we get because we learn to love everything from the inside to the outside... The older the wiser and more confident. And that makes any woman just beautiful.
Monika: How did you start your modeling career?
Yuni: I started back in 2004 when I was asked to model for a local fashion show here in Los Angeles and I just got addicted!!! And I had to do it more lol lol. I enjoy pageants more; it has become my passion in life.
Monika: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Yuni: I have many!!! It always depends on the mood I'm in!! I love the out-of-the-world couture these days, so I would say Alexander Mcqueen.

Queen of the Universe 2006. Courtesy of Yuni Carey.

Monika: The fashion industry is full of beautiful transgender models: Roberta Close in the past, now you, 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? 
Yuni: We "Trans" women just love fashion and always like to be wearing what's hot!!! We like the best of the best!!! So we always look for the best fashions to rock the world.
We have a great interest in fashion because through fashion we always show the world who we are inside. So we trans women just are born to be different and to make a statement in life! Fashion is the same way!
So to me, fashion comes naturally to a Trans woman! We enjoy runways and just showing the world that anything is possible. I think a Transgender woman should be next to fashion in the dictionary.

Courtesy of Yuni Carey.

Monika: What kind of outfits do you usually wear when you do not do modeling? Any special fashion designs or colors?
Yuni: I feel like I'm always modeling because I never leave the house without looking amazing!!! I always say a girl should never stop looking the best she can look because you never know who you might run into!!! :)
So I always dress up!!! I love all colors but somehow I always end up wearing black or black and white because it looks so elegant... But I do enjoy all colors... I love all seasons and colors that come with it. I love showing off my woman curves, love jewelry, and shoes! A girl's best friends.
Monika: With your talent, beauty, and intelligence, you would be a great actress. Have you ever thought about acting?
Yuni: Sometimes... Sometimes I want to be a famous transgender actress but then I see what famous people go through and I rather stay private in my little world. Maybe in the future, you just never know what life will bring... But for right now I just enjoy the little things life has to offer.
Monika: In 2011 you participated in the Miss International Queen pageant, organized in Thailand for the most beautiful transgender women in the world. You reached the top 10 and got the title of Miss Photogenic. How do you recollect that event?
Yuni: Oh Lord, what can I say ... boot camp anyone?! Lol lol lol All I can say is well... I was a whole day late! 24 hours at that so once there it felt awkward like I didn't belong there ... 
But some of the girls were really nice and made me feel better...
Takes a lot of hard work! It's full of stress!!! That year the girls were very catty!!! And very competitive!!! I really didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to... I cried every night in the shower!!! Because I was all by myself!!! And I had no one just to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be OK!!! Or you are doing great!!! No team there supporting me!!!
The language barrier was crazy at times!!! Everything went by so quickly and we didn't enjoy each other's company. It was very political! That I can say because sometimes they didn't know how to hide who their favorite was!!! And to me, that wasn't fair... for the rest of the girls! Because it just made you give up and not try your best. I think everyone should be treated equally... But the staff sometimes showed favoritism and that to me was a little unprofessional.

Courtesy of Yuni Carey.

But I did enjoy the friends I made... And the few laughs I had... I enjoy the experience knowing though I was not going to win! I just smiled... and put on a show but I really just wanted to be over.
I feel that when you go to things like this across the world, miles away from home, it is good to have support and love around you and when you have that it will help you with the stress, and you will want to be your best and give your best.
Monika: What was the atmosphere among the pageant contestants? Did you have a chance to make friends with some of them?
Yuni: Yes, I made a few friends that I still till today keep in contact with, so that's beautiful! But the atmosphere was very competitive at all times!!!! Just imagine a bunch of cats in a cage. Lol lol But for the friends I made I'm thankful.
Monika: In 2014 you went back to Thailand to take part again in the Miss International Queen pageant, claiming the titles of 2nd Runner-up Best Talent and Miss Congeniality. Was this event different for you in comparison with the 2011 pageant?
Yuni: 2014? What can I say without getting controversial or starting an earthquake lol lol. 2014 was very different... The girls were a lot nicer... The pageant got a lot harder! Lol lol. I was so prepared this time around but once there it all fell apart...
I don't wanna get into details but once again! I should have brought a team to support me and help me stay in my A-game! And a make-up artist and hairstylist that knew my face and understood the look I was going for. Lesson learned but again things happen for a reason.
Monika: You can also boast many other beauty pageant titles…
Yuni: Aw thank you, dear ... But the only title I dream of now is Miss Continental. I'm getting ready for that these days. The pageant takes place in Chicago and they don't need any boast or introduction since they are the most prestigious pageant in the world.
Today besides that title, I think I am done with pageants for now! But I do enjoy helping upcoming young girls get ready for competition and I really enjoy that, too.
Monika: At the time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Yuni: Not really. I did my whole transition following my heart and staying true to who I was inside... And not giving up no matter what. When I first started I felt very lonely but somehow while listening to Mariah Carey's songs and believing in my dream I just didn't give up. I knew someday somehow I would accomplish everything I ever dreamed of. The power of hope and belief. I can say Dreams are real today.

Courtesy of Yuni Carey.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Yuni: Not knowing who I was inside. Not having any knowledge or information on how to pursue my dream... How to start or explain to people that I was dying inside because I felt lost and alone and misunderstood... But thank God for my loving parents! Otherwise, I would not be here today to tell you my story. They are my true role models.


All the photos: Courtesy of Yuni Carey.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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