Sunday, 27 December 2020

Interview with Cassandra Heart


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Cassandra Heart, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Cassandra!
Cassandra: Hi there! I feel really honored I was asked to do this.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Cassandra: I am a software engineer with a deep passion for cryptography, machine learning, and distributed systems. I’m also married and polyamorous.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Cassandra: When I was young, my exposure to transgender people was entirely through mainstream media depictions, which were frequently unfavorable. While the world is thankfully a much more understanding and accepting place today with significantly more positive depictions seeing time in the spotlight, the actual process of transition, what to expect strictly from hormone therapy versus additional procedures, is not as open.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Interview with Lindsey


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Lindsey, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Instagram and Reddit.com. Hello Lindsey!
Lindsey: Hi Monika! As someone who has read your blog, it is an honor to do this interview with you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Lindsey: I am a 35-year-old intersex and transgender woman. I have a wife and two amazing kids, have started several businesses and brands, I model and I am an advocate for LGBT+ rights whenever I can be. I started transitioning when I was 32.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Interview with Bobbi Dare


Monika: Today it is my honor and pleasure to interview Bobbi Dare, a Canadian poet, writer, and transgender activist that documents her transition on Reddit.com. We are going to chat about her amazing journey to womanhood and other related topics. Hello Bobbi! 
Bobbi: Hi Monika, good to be here thank you for inviting me.
Monika: Could you introduce yourself to the readers of my blog?
Bobbi: First of all I want to say that Bobbi Dare is a pen name that I have used for about 20 years. I am an out trans woman so I will share that my real name is Roberta Jane Heggie. I am 56 years old and I live in Toronto, Canada.
Professionally, I work in technology as a senior project/ program manager for diverse companies and I am a member of PMI - The Project Management Institute. I do volunteer work for PMI, being a past president of the Toronto Chapter, currently, I am the Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for PMI Toronto and the Executive Director for the Chapter.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Interview with Hannah Decker


Monika: Today my guest is Hannah Decker, a Canadian transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Hannah!
Hannah: Hello Monika and thank you for contacting me. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to interview me but I’m happy to share my story.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hannah: I am a 59-year-old freelance photographer/designer living in Canada. I have been married for over 20 years to a wonderful woman. I transitioned socially 9 months ago and started on hormones almost 6 months ago.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Hannah: I did it for one reason. To hopefully inspire others who are doubting themselves like I was. I usually post in r/translater because I’m “older” and I found that people of my age needed more inspiration and hope than younger people. When I receive comments saying I have inspired them I feel so good. Unlike many people, I make a point of posting before and after photos to show the incredible change that can happen when you believe in yourself and follow your heart.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Interview with Danielle Marie


Monika: Today I am going to host a special guest. Danielle Marie is an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. We are going to chat about her transition journey and inspirations. Hello Danielle!
Danielle: Hello Monika! Thank you very much for reaching out to me. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with others and I love that you're helping provide a platform for people to share their journeys with others.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Danielle: So I am a 33-year-old trans woman. I'm coming up on a year of HRT in January of 2021. It's definitely been an interesting year to start transitioning during, for sure. I am pretty geeky, and have a passion for entertainment. Whether that be movies, television, books, comics, or video games, entertainment has always been of interest to me.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Interview with Eirin Grinde Tunheim


Monika: Today I am taking you to Tromsø, a city in northern Norway, which is a major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle. This is the town of Eirin Grinde Tunheim, a young Thai-born girl from Norway, beauty pageant queen with university degrees in dentistry and economics. In 2019, Eirin competed in the Norwegian edition of the Miss Universe Pageant to become the first transgender woman in the history of this competition. She speaks five languages, and I am happy that one of them is English, so I can share her amazing story with you all. Hello Eirin!
Eirin: Hello, Monika. Thank you for inviting me for the interview.
Monika: You were born in Thailand. When in 2006 you came to Norway with your whole family, what did you expect to see and achieve in the country that is so different from Thailand?
Eirin: Back then, my mom told us that Norway is a country where the weather is very cold with less sunlight. My siblings and I watched the Narnia movie and tried to have that expectation. However, we did expect to live in a country with a good education, health system, and quality of life. I grew up with my grandparents and father, therefore I always wished to live with my mom wherever she lived.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Interview with Cynthia Luna Frost


Monika: Today I would like to share with you the story of Cynthia Luna Frost, a young Swedish vocalist, poet, and alternative model. Cynthia is the founder and vocalist of the band called Snow I.U. and the founder of the Snowfest festival. Hello Cynthia!
Cynthia: Hello! Thank you for having me!
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Do you feel more like a band vocalist or poet?
Cynthia: I see myself as a source of inspiration. Be that by being an entertainer with my musical works, an eloquent writer with my lyrical and story-driven poetical narratives, or as a gracious alternative model in front of the lens of a camera. I seek to inspire and empower people, to show the world that being different and unique is something that we all should strive for. I want people to be the best version of themselves.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Interview with Krysten


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Krysten, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Krysten!
Krysten: Hello Monika! Thank you for asking to interview me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Krysten: Sure, I'm a trans woman located in the state of Pennsylvania. I am presently 38 years old, starting to socially and medically transition at 36. I was married for 6 years prior to deciding to transition. I also work as a licensed therapist, being certified in trauma therapy. I'm also a huge fangirl at heart.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Krysten: I started to share on Instagram back in February of 2019. The original intention was to get feedback anonymously so I could become comfortable prior to coming out to others. At first, it was to test makeup attempts and to get a true picture of how steep of a journey I had ahead. I'm happy that early criticism was kind.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Interview with Ella Marques


Monika: It has been three years since my last interview with Ella Marques, a Portuguese-American writer living in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2017 Ella published her biographical book ‘I was born a boy, from Venus. It’s time to be yourself’. Today’s interview has been triggered not only by the fact that I missed her but also her two newly-released books: “Coming home to Venus” and "Eva's world". Hello Ella!
Ella: Hi Monika, It is such a pleasure to be here with you.
Monika: How are you holding up in the pandemic times?
Ella: Business-wise it has been a disaster but from my own personal perspective it has been an incredible year. I usually travel a lot, about every second week and in March we had a lockdown here in the US, so I took advantage to finish my second book “Coming Home to Venus”, then I got the idea to write a fiction novel Eva’s World.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Interview with Brooke


Monika: Today I would like to share the story of Brooke, a Canadian transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Brooke!
Brooke: Hi Monika, it’s a pleasure to speak with you!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Brooke: Sure, I’m a 38-year-old Canadian woman. I am blessed with a beautiful fiancé and daughter, and like everyone else, I’m just trying to find my own little slice of happiness in life.:)
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
Brooke: Well, mainly because my formative years were long before the Internet and the information accessible there. It was due to sheer ignorance that my own transition was delayed for so long, so I wanted to do what I could to provide as much information as possible for those questioning.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Interview with Stana


Monika: Today I am going to host Ms. Stana, an American influencer and owner of the popular blog called Femulate where she covers different aspects of femininity for ladies that opt out to be women without any operations and hormone treatments. Stana is the author of Fantasia Fair Diaries (2015) and evangelizer of the normality of crossdressing at colleges and universities. Hello Stana!
Stana: Hello Monika and in honor of our mutual Polish roots, “Dzień dobry!”
Monika: I must say that our chat is going to be a bit different compared to all my previous interviews. Given my own experience, I usually focused on the experiences of women that transitioned into womanhood with a little help from surgeons and hormones. However, we should not overlook the fact that many ladies will never go that path due to many reasons. So I am happy that I am making up for this now…
Stana: Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story or should I say “our” story because I have discovered that there are a lot of women in the same high heel shoes as me.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Interview with Hailey


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Hailey, a young American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com. Hello Hailey!
Hailey: Hi Monika, thanks for taking the time to reach out to me, and I’m really happy to be doing this interview with you today.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hailey: Absolutely! I’m a 28-year-old trans woman who has been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for 21 months as of now. I love meeting new people, working on my social media, and playing video games. Although it hasn’t happened much in 2020, I do generally enjoy going out and doing stuff too.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on social media?
Hailey: It was actually a big deal for me to decide to publicly share my story as I wasn’t sure if I wanted everyone to know I was trans at the time. I decided to share me with everyone because pre-transition there were so many women who were there for me when they transitioned before me.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Interview with Farrah Mills


Monika: Today I am hosting Farrah Mills, one of the most inspirational ladies from the United Kingdom, a London model, singer, entertainer, former adult movie actress, and YouTube vlogger. We are going to chat with Farrah about her career, music and movies, collection of Barbie dolls, ups and downs of show business, as well as her fascinating journey to womanhood. Hello Farrah!
Farrah: Hi there!
Monika: How are you holding up in the crazy COVID-19 times? Do you have any new projects now?
Farrah: I think like everyone this has been a tough and challenging time. I have just tried to stay safe and keep my family safe. Currently, I'm working on a new EP with my singing group called Tparty.
Monika: I guess this is the first trans ladies band in the UK, right? The band was formed in 2014 and it comprises you, Viktor Victoria, and Antonia Wood. Could you elaborate more on your music and the origins of the band?
Farrah: That's correct. The name Tparty was originally a once-a-month clubnite in London that Viktor started, and I and Toni were hostesses. Then we all decided to turn it into a group instead. Our sound is a blend of pop, electro, R&B, and '80s. Viktor writes 90% of all our original songs and I arrange the vocals and harmonies.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Interview with Eleanor

 
Monika: Today’s interview is with Eleanor, an American software engineer and transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as eleanorPDX. Hello Eleanor!
Eleanor: Hi Monika, thank you for interviewing me today!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Eleanor: I live in Portland, Oregon, with my wife Evan and our cat Percy and dog Riley. We're originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but we moved to Oregon five years ago because Oregon is much more accepting of LGBTQ people than Oklahoma is. We have not visited Oklahoma in several years due to safety concerns. For employment, I'm a software engineer.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Interview with Andréa Colliaux - Part 2


Monika: It has been almost seven years since I interviewed Andréa Colliaux, a French stewardess, transgender activist, the author of the autobiographical book titled "Carnet de bord d'un steward devenu hôtesse de l'air", one of the most inspirational women that I had the pleasure of talking to. Therefore I am extremely delighted that Andréa has decided to chat with me again. Bonjour Andréa!
Andréa: Hello Monika, long time, no see but I always have a look at your page on Facebook and I am always delighted to read the stories of all these extraordinary women who have chosen to transition from one gender to another and to live their life as a woman.
Monika: Andréa, you look so lovely! It seems that beautiful women never get old!
Andréa: Yes, I'm 55 years old now... and I feel like I am still 25 in my head! Still in the '80s. Listening to ABBA, and I think that growing old is not so bad especially when you feel so young in your mind. And I assume the fact is that I have had plastic surgery and injections recently. 
Growing old is not a problem to me, but in good health, physically and mentally. And then I sometimes wonder if the air conditioning in the plane does not preserve me like an old mummy!!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Interview with Elin McCready


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Elin McCready, an American linguistics professor at Tokyo's Aoyama Gakuin University. Married for 20 years, she has three children with her Japanese wife Midori, but registering her female identity has endangered her marriage because Japan doesn't recognize gay marriage. Hello Elin!
Elin: Hi! Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview. It’s great to get the opportunity to raise awareness about our situation and about the general situation for LGBTQ+ people in Japan.
Monika: Your story hit the international headlines more than a year ago. Has anything changed since then?
Elin: We first started getting media attention when it became clear that the Japanese government was going to take a weird line on recognizing my transition. The situation in Japan is that, if you want to change the gender marker on your official documents, you must not be married or have minor children, and you must be sterilized, in addition to having a diagnosis saying that gender marker change is appropriate from a medical professional. Since I only satisfy the last condition, I would not have been able to change gender marker if I were Japanese; but since I’m not, I changed my marker in the US, which of course changes my Japanese paperwork. But since I’m married, allowing me to change the gender marker on all my documents would mean the de facto recognition of same-sex marriage, so the government didn’t want to do it.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Interview with Maryanne Marttini - Part 2


The interview is the continuation of the previous conversation with Maryanne Marttini, an American comedienne, writer, producer, and designer from Arizona. She is known for her stand-up comedy performances across the country, and brief appearances in Transparent and Glee. She is also part of a writing team that has developed an animated television series and a three-act play based on that series. Since starting her transition 12 years ago she has volunteered with The Maricopa Community College System for LGBTQ awareness, fundraising for scholarships, and Human Resources for LGBT education.

Monika: You co-operate with the Maricopa Community College System to raise awareness about LGBT rights. Could you say a few words about it?
Maryanne: When I joined The Desperado LGBT Film Festival, which is sponsored by The Maricopa Community College System (MCCS) with corporate and community sponsors, I met the Director of The MCCS Diversity Program for students and staff. MCCS has almost 280,000 full and part-time students and is the center of diversity for Maricopa County. The MCCS is dedicated to promoting diversity despite the reputation of Arizona being a red state.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Interview with Tanja von Knorring


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Tanja von Knorring, a Finnish businesswoman and human rights and transgender activist, co-chair of the 2019-2020 Board of Transgender Europe (TGEU), the roof-top organization of transgender organizations of Europe and Central Asia, fighting against discrimination and supporting trans people rights. She is also the Chairperson of the NGO Transfeminines of Finland, ex-chair of Transgender political committee of SETA – LGBTI Finland, board member in Trasek, and an array of other LGBTI associations. 
Hello Tanja!
Tanja: Hello, and nice to meet you, Monika, in these very special times we are living currently. I'm happy to have an interview with you.
Monika: Before we focus on your activism, I would like to touch upon your managerial career. You can boast a solid portfolio of managerial positions within the Finnish corporate community.
Tanja: Yes, I have had many both demanding and rewarding opportunities in my work life, first as a high ranked civil servant in civil aviation, then leading an airline for 8 years, and finally before giving more time to myself and the activism, as CEO in the transportation field for another eight years.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Interview with Veso Golden Oke


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Veso Golden Oke, a Nigerian-born beauty queen and model, professional make-up artist, Miss Ghana at Miss Trans Star International 2019. In 2019 Veso became the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Europe Continental Ghana, a beauty pageant for cisgender women. Hello Veso!
Veso: Hello Monika, thank you for this opportunity.
Monika: You were born in Nigeria. Could you say a few words about your teenage years there?
Veso: Yes, I was born in Nigeria and lived in Nigeria for 20 years of my life. It was hell every day because as a young Christian child I was made to believe that my lifestyle was demonic and I needed deliverance. Society had no pity on me, I felt hate and isolation every single day. I was once arrested and put in jail with criminals just because I identified as a woman. I was lucky once when I almost got stoned in the streets after protesting against the 24 years imprisonment for LGBT people. I would have died if I had not found a way to escape.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Interview with Maryanne Marttini


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Maryanne Marttini, an American comedienne, writer, producer, and designer from Arizona. She is known for her stand-up comedy performances across the country, and brief appearances in Transparent and Glee. She is also part of a writing team that has developed an animated television series and a three-act play based on that series. Since starting her transition 12 years ago she has volunteered with The Maricopa Community College System for LGBTQ awareness, fundraising for scholarships, and Human Resources for LGBT education.
Hello Maryanne! 
Maryanne: Thank you Monika it is an honor and pleasure to meet you. I am a fan of your work bringing awareness and the reality of the Transgender Community to your readers. One of my favorite expressions in life is, “the more you know…!”

Monday, 1 June 2020

Interview with Madi (ChutDillio)


Monika: Today’s interview will be with Madi, an American transgender woman that documents her transition on Reddit.com as ChutDillio. Hello Madi!
Madi: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for interviewing me. I've never been interviewed by anyone!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Madi: I'm a sarcastic, extroverted, super proud trans woman born and raised in New York City. I love to sing, skate, and be my crazy Aries self (unabashedly). I also never stop talking. It's a problem.
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on Reddit?
Madi: Honestly, as a way to give back. I followed every trans subreddit for YEARS before I could even admit to myself I was trans. The trans community on Reddit are some of the most amazing, strong-willed people I know of. Once I started HRT, I started counting down the days until I could post about my progress, simply just so I could finally be part of the community. I've made a bunch of really great friends on there.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Interview with Bella Joie


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Bella Joie, an American vlogger, and transgender activist. Her Bella Joie vlog on YouTube was created in 2018, and as we speak, it can boast almost 700 thousand views and over 5 thousand subscribers. Hello Bella!
Bella: I'm super excited to be a part of your blog, the whole purpose of this blog is so important for so many transgender women all over the world! It has been such an interesting experience growing my YouTube channel and sharing my story. One of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Bella: I am a 21-year-old transgender woman, I started my transition at 17 years old during my senior year of high school. I have been on hormones for 3 years now.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Interview with Maria Tymoshenko


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Maria Tymoshenko, a Ukrainian composer and piano player that documents her transition in front of thousands on YouTube. Hello Maria!
Maria: Hello, Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Maria: I am a composer and sound designer. I like contemporary art and sometimes participate in different art projects as a musician and as a model. As a hobby, I like roofing. My last clip was shot on the highest bridge in Ukraine. I climbed to it without safety gear. Last year I participated in LGBTQ and human rights activism actions. 
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Maria: When I launched my YouTube channel, I never wrote that I am transgender. Even record labels and movie producers with which I worked did not know about this part of my life. I did not hide, but no one asked me and I did not say.

Photo by Serhiy Morgunov.

First time I came out to my YouTube subscribers as transgender was one year ago. My friend, artist Maria Proshkowska made an exhibition FEMININE that was presented during Kyiv Pride week in 2019 year. Maria invited me as a model. It was an exhibition about the daily life of Ukrainian transgender women. We spoke a lot with Maria, I showed her all my transition pictures and we decided to create a video about this. In this video, we aggregated several thousand of my transitional pictures chronologically. I created music for this video.
To be honest, it was really scary for me to open all this to the public. This video included ALL my pictures taken during the transition, even ones, that I thought, would never be shown to anyone. But I met a very warm reaction on Kyiv Pride. And I published this video on YouTube. In the first days, I lost approximately 100 subscribers but gained much more new ones. Many people supported me. And this encouraged me to make more videos about my transition.
Monika: What is the situation of transgender women in Ukraine in general and how they are perceived by society?
Maria: The situation is not easy. I’ve never experienced any violence personally because I live in Kyiv and only my friends know that I am a transwoman. But many people did. I work as a freelancer therefore I do not have problems because I am trans. But for many other trans people, it is very difficult to find a job. Many companies are not ready to hire such people.
Also, many religious organizations promote “family values” guess that transwomen are perverts and freaks. In 2018 such organizations attacked participants during Transgender Day of Remembrance. Authorities failed to protect us. During the March of Equality 2019 group of extremists stuffed approximately 200 condoms full of feces to throw at KyivPride marchers and police. Thanks to the police their attempts were not successful. Transgender Remembrance Day 2019 was without any incidents only due to the massive police protection. During such actions, the number of police usually is several times bigger than the number of participants.
When the pandemic of COVID19 began, the primate and Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate claims coronavirus is ‘God’s punishment for same-sex marriage’ In general, the life of transgender women is much better than several years ago but it remains difficult.

Photo by Serhiy Morgunov.

Monika: Did you have any role models or any trans sisters that helped you in the transition?
Maria: I received psychological support from an LGBT organization and met many other trans people. It was very important to me for understanding that I am not alone and I am “normal”. They helped me to overcome the internal transphobia that I experienced before. 
Monika: Are there any well-known Ukrainian trans women that have managed to promote transgender rights in the media?
Maria: Yes. Now, this topic is very popular. There are several well-known trans women, and LGBT organizations. They work a lot for transgender rights and human rights in general. Now it is very important for us to have the Istanbul Convention ratified.
Monika: Is the Ukrainian Health Service prepared to provide services to the transgender community?
Maria: It is a difficult question. I am not a professional in this field. There are endocrinologists who can help to choose the correct hormones replacement therapy. Other doctors are the same for trans and not trans, so as I said it is difficult to say.
Monika: What kind of music do you compose? Do you have any musical inspirations?
Maria: The main inspiration is the process itself. I would just close my eyes and improvise on the piano. After a while, I would play something fresh, interesting, and worth recording.
I started to create music right after I started my HRT. I do not know why. I just wanted to. It started to be pleasurable. In my life “before” I liked technological stuff and worked in IT. But hormones changed not only my body but also my mind and the things that I love to do.
First I composed piano music in neoclassical style. I published two EPs with the Italian label Halidon: Magic Flow (2017) and Clarity (2018).

Photo by Serhiy Morgunov.

After that, I started to work on electronic multi-instrumental music. But my musical style has not formed yet. Maybe it will be chill-out downtempo music. Last year I published one clip “Do Not Try to Fly”. It was a very extreme and risky video.
Apart from music, I work a lot as a sound engineer and sound designer for movies and TV series. It helps me receive more experience and accumulate resources for my new compositions.
Monika: I watched “Do Not Try to Fly” and I was scared a lot looking at you so high up on the bridge!!!
Maria: I like roofing and other dangers. It makes my mind so clear. I feel so alive when I do it. Actually, roofing is a double dangerous activity, it is not only about being so high, but it is also about not being caught by the police. The shooting on this bridge was the second attempt. The first one was not successful. I climbed to the construction crane near an unfinished skyscraper. We made all shooting, but the police caught a drone operator and forced him to delete the whole video. We saved only several pictures. The second attempt with the bridge was successful.
Monika: The song itself is about lesbian love... 
Maria: It is about lesbian love and mental disease. We wanted to show several types of reactions to severe stress. One of the girls freaks out, throws rocks at the wall, screams. But she's fine in the end.
The other one accumulates stress in herself, and she starts hallucinating, she starts to think she's a bird, and she tries to take off. Although it's probably not clear without an explanation. That was our first video work.


Monika: Who was more behind the idea of the video: you or Antuanetta Mishchenko? 
Maria: I suggested an idea, Antuanetta found a team and organized the work. However, in the whole process, the original idea evolved very much.
Monika: But my favorite music of yours is "We Maybe Have the Second Chance". A bit sad but very beautiful ... Can you say a few words about this composition?
Maria: Thank you very much, Monika. It's a composition from my second EP "Clarity." I was living far away from the city at that time, near a forest by the lake. I could play the piano all night without risking waking the neighbors. This and other compositions were recorded live, without rendering in computer software, and without a predetermined structure. I improvised and recorded a small piece of the composition. Then I would play it, and when it ended, I would play the piano extension, the first thing that came to mind. Usually for about 20 seconds. If I liked it, I would leave it, so I would record the next part of the song.

Pivdennyi Bridge, Kyiv, 2019.

So the music in this mini-album sounds exactly as it was played for the first time. Actually, by composing this EP, I broke everything, even the most basic musical rules. For example, I wanted to write songs in such a way that there wouldn't be any repeating in them at all, so they would be perceived as a whole piece. I really wanted to create something really new and fresh. If we talk about the event underlying this composition, it was a very personal story from my life.

END OF PART 1

 
All the photos: courtesy of Maria Tymoshenko.
© 2020 - Monika Kowalska

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Interview with Solange Dekker


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Solange Dekker, a fashion model from the Netherlands, hairstylist, beauty pageant queen, Miss Netherlands at Trans Star International 2019, Miss Evolution 2019, and Finalist Miss Beauty of Noord-Holland 2020. Hello Solange!
Solange: Hi Monika! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Monika: You have already taken part in three beauty pageants! What is so special about being a beauty queen? :)
Solange: Thank you for your question. I have actually taken part in 2 beauty pageants! Miss Evolution is a title I won during my participation in 2019 Miss Trans Star International held in Barcelona, where I was the first-ever Miss Netherlands. The title goes to one woman who has shown the absolute most interest in the pageant and who has been the most 'evolving' girl in the pageant. Things such as being on time every time, taking extra catwalk lessons, trying to learn Spanish to talk to the girls, etc. Since this was my first ever pageant and I showed so much determination, I earned the title of Miss Evolution 2019.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Interview with Anna Skinner


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Anna Skinner, a liberated transwoman from New Zealand, passionate cyclist, and happy parent of three. Hello Anna!
Anna: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. I love to share my journey so that people may gain a better understanding of what it is to be transgender and also to touch those folk who may be struggling with their gender identity.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Anna: I am a 55-year-old transwoman, born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. I have been living in Christchurch for the last 22 years which is a beautiful place located on the east coast of the South Island. When I was younger, I dreamt of living as my authentic self but for many reasons it never eventuated to a lot later in my life.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Interview with Rachel Reese


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Rachel Reese, who trained be a Solicitor, transgender activist, Vice-chair of the Law Society’s LGBT Lawyers Division Committee, former Avionics Software Engineer working within the defense sector at GEC Avionics Ltd (now British Aerospace), trustee of Give Out, a charity that funds LGBT+ causes worldwide, the founder of Global Butterflies, a consultancy that helps firms develop trans and non-binary inclusive work environments. She is a co-author of the 2019 Lloyds of London Trans & Non-binary Guide. In 2017 she was nominated for the European Diversity Award’s, Coca-Cola Hero of the Year Award.
Hello Rachel! In the introduction, I have listed only some of your positions. Do you have any time for yourself? :)
Rachel: Hi Monika, great to meet you. You know it’s got pretty crazy timewise but I love my life and the work I do. Time management is key but my motto (and my partner Emma) is “you have to have a little fun every day”, and we do. The people in all the organizations I volunteer for are amazing and fun, so it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Interview with Michelle Relayze


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Michelle Relayze, a fashion model from Spain, beauty pageant queen, transgender activist, Miss Spain at Miss Trans Star International 2019. Hello Michelle!
Michelle: Hello Monika! It is a pleasure, to be able to share with you a bit of my history. I am honored that you want to know about me and be able to reach many more people.
Monika: Michelle, you look like a million dollars! Could you say a few words about yourself?
Michelle: Thanks Monika! Of course, I will tell you about myself. I have the honor of being the current queen of Miss Trans Spain and being able to represent this beautiful country in two international competitions: the Miss Trans Star International held in Barcelona in 2019 and in future in Miss World International in Italy.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Interview with Diane Keinanen


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Diane Keinanen, a Minnesota lady of many talents, RN Vascular Access Specialist. Hello Diane!
Diane: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Diane: Old life dissolved, been left to the past. Now Diane has evolved, loving life at long last!
Monika: You are a nurse but you have an artistic hobby ...
Diane: Creation is my serenity. I love to create in stained glass. I also enjoy woodworking as well. I find great fulfillment in crafting things that will bring happiness to another.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Interview with Dina Jacobs


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Dina Jacobs, a Hawaii entertainer, a star at the famed Chicago drag club, The Baton Show Lounge, proud holder of 70 beauty contest titles, and Houston’s Grande Dame of Drag. Her biography "Forever Her Mother's Son: The Dina Jacobs Story" (2020) was published a couple of months ago.
Dina, You look fantastic! What is the secret of your beauty?
Dina: Actually, I'm very fortunate. My Mom and Dad had great DNA. This year in February I turned 73 years old. I've been doing shows since 1964. I started my career in Honolulu, Hawaii, and I worked as a female Impersonator for 56 years!

Friday, 24 April 2020

Interview with Danielly Drugge


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Danielly Drugge, an inspirational fashion model from Sweden, beauty pageant queen, Miss Trans Star International Sweden, cosmetician, and happy wife. Hello Danielly!
Danielly: Hi Monika, first of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here on your blog, giving all of us visibility and voice.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Danielly: Well, I am a girl who was born in Brazil, with a strong temperament. I am a dreamer, who never gives up on dreams, even though there are many difficulties imposed by society for being a trans woman.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Interview with Joelle Circé Laramée


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Joelle Circé Laramée, a Canadian artist and feminist, painter, authoress of the biographical book titled “Breaking Free: 45 Years In The Wrong Body” (2020). Hello Joelle!
Joelle: Hello Monika, nice to be having this interview.
Monika: You are a woman of many talents. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Joelle: First I think you for thinking of me as I'm now just getting back to creating my art (paintings) and find this an excellent moment to speak out a little. I was born in a lower working-class home and neighborhood in Montreal, Canada, and have always known of my difference though not necessarily in terms like transsexual or queer which I came to understand later on in life. My whole world has been one of observing from the outside and I think this made me becoming a visual artist.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Interview with Hope Giselle


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Hope Giselle, an American activist from Miami, writer, artist, activist, founder of The #AllowMe Movement, and author of the biographical book titled “Becoming Hope: Removing the Disguise” (2018). Hello Hope!
Hope: Hi Monika!
Monika: You describe yourself as an artist and activist. Could you say a few words about yourself?
Hope: I’d like to call what I do “being the change I want to see”. I found my passion by simply inserting myself where I once complained. I found that it was easier to create solutions and art rather than criticize them.

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