Friday 5 March 2021

Interview with Alexis

Monika: Today I am going to host Alexis, a Spanish model, fashion designer, and social media influencer living in London, UK. Hello Alexis!
Alexis: Hello Monika! Thanks for having me.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Alexis: It is always hard to talk about oneself. I was born in Madrid, in one of the most rebellious districts of the city called Vallekas. My parents were working-class people climbing their way to the middle class with nothing but hard work.
I started feeling like a woman at the age of 5. However, growing up as a transgender girl in the 80s was very challenging as the portrayal of the transgender community was both negative and marginal.
In addition, I knew I liked men, so I was still contemplating that I might be gay. I came out at 16 when my mother found a letter written to me by my then-secret boyfriend of 29 haha, which was quite an experience. But fortunately, regardless of all the concerns my parents had, they allowed me to continue my relationship that lasted 2 years. I have always been quite openly gay and very feminine. Perhaps frequent dates with much older men fulfilled my private fantasy to play the "girl" role.
Monika: How did you realize that you were not gay?
Alexis: Well I always wanted to feel like a woman in bed. Despite my loving gay partners, something was missing. So my first sexual experience with a straight man seeing and perceiving me as a woman was an eye-opener for me. How I felt when he touched me! I felt my brain was on fire. Afterwards I remember saying to him: you know I think I'm not gonna wear trousers again! He replied: that's good eh! And I replied: it wasn't you, it was me! I found who I really am.

"Sharing my Instagram photos began as a
validation of my transition and being
a woman."

Monika: What inspired you to share your intimate life moments via Instagram?
Alexis: Sharing my Instagram photos began as a validation of my transition and being a woman. I started my transition in July 2017, though I had a pre-coming out stage when I had some sessions of laser facial hair removal and some experiences with crossdressing.
So once I started to live full-time as a woman, my Instagram became the place for encouragement from my friends and loved ones. However, the negative aspect of this was my exposure to men and all different kinds of chasers that started to follow my pictures to assess my physical changes into a woman. At one point I reached 20 thousand followers but I blocked so many "tranny chasers" that I reduced the number to 12.5 thousand. Now I just use it for fun but it's a completely unrealistic view of my life, which is much serene and simpler in reality.
I think it's good to be older, and unlike this new millennial culture, I don't care if my views, pictures, or comments are liked. I have a strong relationship with my boyfriend who met me at the early stage of my transition; literally, he was the last man I slept with as a crossdresser, and he knew I was a girl, and we have been with each other ever since.
Monika: Do you get many questions from your followers? What do they ask for?
Alexis: I don't get many questions as my followers are mainly male, so I do get lots of likes and loving comments via DM (Direct Messaging) and unsolicited x-rated pics. LOL I suppose being pleasing to the male eye means I had very few hate comments. I had more negative comments from other transwomen. I can say that I advocate rather conservative opinions and values. I'm Spanish, and yet I'm pro-Brexit, which earned me nasty comments from the trans/gay community.
I support wholeheartedly racial equality and the Black Lives Matter action but I am against it as a political movement, which also sparked some hate mail from some of my followers. Oh haha, and I love wearing fur coats!!!
Monika: I see. Yes, some people may regard it as controversial. And what was the strangest question that you answered?
Alexis: The strangest thing?... Oh yes someone proposed to me having sex with his dog. I think transgender women are still such a morbid taboo for a lot of men, and the porn industry could be blamed for this, as it's a very distorted view of what our real lives are. 
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Alexis: I came out to my mum, brother, and best friends. It was very hard. I went through the early acceptance of the gay community during the 90s, and I must say that now trans people are just at that point! It's hard to deal with prejudice all over again.
I was outed at work as my way of dressing began to change into a more gender-fluid, which provoked my employer to "have a chat" about my appearance. So being cornered I had to come out, and it was a very difficult and very public transition, as I worked as a retail manager in a huge London department store. Yes, I lost some friends that were uncomfortable with my being trans. But I also believe that I wanted a new life so much that I didn't fight too hard to keep them.

"I went through the early acceptance
of the gay community during the
90s, and I must say that now trans
people are just at that point!"

I had special encounters with cis women that can be categorized into three groups. One group consists of those who celebrate us no matter what. The second group members are those who love masculine or butch trans, so there's an element of control and superiority sense that they have over their pet trans friends.
And finally, there are those who behave as If they feared us because we are competition. I get nothing but compliments on a daily basis from men. And women? They hate fishy trans ladies because they are very aware of the allure we have over men.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Alexis: Well I guess so. Hormones play a small/huge part in our transition. I think the physical changes are different for all of us but the placebo effect is always great.
We always long for the hormones to begin our journey and yet the biggest changes come from within. I was very lucky to not have "the blues".
Besides being brought up in the Mediterranean culture you cure depression by cleaning your home in depth. LOL
Monika: I was not born in Spain but I do the same. :) We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Alexis: I really don't care how feminine I look. I have a deep voice that I am still trying to reign in. But regardless of how feminine we might look, there will always be someone that will point at us and say: look that's a man! So I walk with confidence and I'm proud of being a different kind of girl.
And I always dress like if I was a model, and there's virtually nothing that anyone could miss about my looks: hair, makeup, shoes, and posture. Whether it is Monday at 5.30 am or I go to do inventory at work on Saturday afternoon I always look perfect like I learned from my mother.
Monika: Do you resemble your mother either physically or mentally?
Alexis: Well physically I have her face, especially when she was in her 30s. We model our hair in the same way to our left side. We are both pale, we both make up in a similar way. Mentally we share values but it seems like that I inherited her teachings and her moral compass. And her defiant way of walking in heels! Sometimes she tells me off for wearing very high heels and she says stuff like: "How can you walk in those heels!!" to which I reply "By watching you all my life!". I learned from her how to walk, move, touch my face and hair, and how to take all attention on me when I touch up my lipstick!
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow or followed?
Alexis: Role models? Not really. But I am a fan of some transwomen or trans movies and series. My real role models are old Hollywood ladies with their glamour and looks from the 1940s and 50s. This is how I picture myself, as a woman living with my man where we have very defined roles and it suits me just fine.

"The perception of transgender women? I
would describe it as apathy, it's more a
media subject."

And I don't forget what I lived through before my transition and the lessons I learned. I think it's the best thing of coming out in the latter part of your life, as you are better prepared mentally to deal with the reality of trans life. I'm xx years old. Do not publish my age, otherwise, I will hunt you down, haha haha.
Monika: I won't. You look amazing. Do you remember the first time when you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Alexis: I think it was a TV movie, it was a trans prostitute and drug addict who got beaten to death. I did not explore the whole context about why she is trans or why transwomen hate their bodies. I definitely didn't connect with any of it.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Alexis: Well, now my country is the United Kingdom. The perception of transgender women? I would describe it as apathy, it's more a media subject.
In professional life, people don't care, and employers don't want to deal with trans people. So they do not hire them, and anyway, most people don't even know who we are. I broke my principles and I participated in the first Trans Pride in London but in truth, it was a circus. It was precisely what other people would expect, so I felt mortified.
I also question the situation in which transwomen are now included within the whole gender discomfort groups. I have nothing to do with agender nor two-spirit people or gender fluid etc. To me, they are all variations of GAY. Transgender women are something else. This preconceived idea may stem from the fact that we are always a part of a marginalized group: progressive groups, lefties, world peace, and all this kind of people, hahaha. Well, nothing further from the truth.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Alexis: I love fashion but I wear what I know looks good on me. Funny enough I looked older when I began transitioning. Now I have a younger look (my boyfriend loves the present version). You know less makeup, fewer accessories, etc.
I wear mainly solid colors and dimple cut fitted dresses. I mean I'm a Latina, so hoops, strap black tight dress and heels are my outfits. I don't wear any necklace or other accessories, maybe sometimes matching cuffs, no bangles, or noisy bracelets. And no rings that make your hands bigger, LOL. And I rarely wear prints unless leopard print.
My fashion taste is based on what I saw in the 80s as a child and in the 90s as a teenager. So my fashion inspirations are Gaultier, Galliano, Lacroix, McQueen. I'm inspired by famous, dark-haired, strong, and sexy women with ivory skin: Elvira Morticia, Maria Callas, Dita Von Teese, Gina Lollobrigida, and all kinds of others. I love the whole white skin-red lips-black hair look. I have a blood red cell deficiency like my mother, so I am extremely pale and I love it, hahaha.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Alexis: Absolutely! But feminism has killed all the joy. I love being complimented but only by men (women's compliments are rarely honest). I get wolf whistles, car beeps, and waving, so men are like children. You can't be ugly if you look good to men.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Alexis: Ahh yes! I came out at my current job, which I hated even before coming out. And I tried ever since to leave it. I did about 37 interviews. I can boast 11 years of experience in retail with a very strong CV and a university degree in fashion. However, all interviews for retail management began and ended in the same way; simply I did not get a job (just in case you think they had any kind of prejudice). Then a long email followed about how wonderful I was and how brave and blah blah blah but alas the job was given to someone else. 
Sometimes I get contacted via LinkedIn by employment agencies and I reply and once they learned that I'm trans they even did not bother sending a turn-down email. So no wonder why there are so many of us in the sex industry.
My ex-employers took advantage of Covid-19 to get rid of me. So if it wasn't for my very loving partner I don't know how I would survive. Now I'm a full-time girlfriend, being dependent on my boyfriend.

"Be true to your feelings and you'll know
when to do the jump!"

Monika: So tough! What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Alexis: I cannot offer any advice. People's lives are very personal journeys, and my advice means nothing to others. But if I can suggest something, I would say, don't give up, keep applying, and keep bringing the trans issue upfront!
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Alexis: Nope but with those other transwomen that I follow or I know, I try to be a sympathetic ear and engage in cordial conversation.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Alexis: Love is everything to me. Enough said.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Alexis: Not really, as I doubt anyone would be interested. I left behind my previous identity and have no wish to revisit it nor talk about it. My past brought me to my presence. This also is the reason why I don't do those kinds of posts like before and after or transformation Tuesday. This is a closed chapter for me.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Alexis: I keep on living and try to be true to myself, hopefully being married to the kindest and most handsome man on this Earth. Oh, and I need to lose this Covid-19 overweight!!! 
Monika: Fingers crossed! What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Alexis: Be true to your feelings and you'll know when to do the jump!
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Alexis: Yes, I agree most certainly.
Monika: Alexis, it was a pleasure to interview you. Good luck with your job hunting. Thanks a lot!
Alexis: Thank you! The pleasure was all mine! Although I doubt I will be of interest or much less inspirational to others, hahaha.

All the photos: courtesy of Alexis.
© 2021 - Monika Kowalska

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