Carmen Carrera is an acclaimed model, who rose to fame in her breakout appearance on season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Carrera, who came out as trans after appearing on the Logo TV show, has established herself as a trans activist by starting a national dialogue about transphobic language used on the show. As a model, Carrera has been famously photographed by David LaChapell for the Life Ball, and campaigned to become the first trans Victoria’s Secret model.
While she hasn’t yet achieved that goal, Carrera is a successful Elite model who was recognized for her work by GLAAD in 2014. “The truth is LGBT culture and fashion go hand in hand,” Naomi Campbell said as she paid tribute to her fellow model, “They flourish in light of making bold and brave statements.”
Friday, as part of msnbc’s pride month programming, she spoke with members of the community to discuss her work and experience. Take a look at highlights from the Q&A with Carrera from msnbc’s Facebook page:
Carrera: I always love working with other creative talent. David [LaChapelle] specifically made me feel very comfortable and also very welcomed to express my own creative opinions which I love. Life Ball is the largest charity organization fighting AIDS in Europe. Its one that I plan to be a part of for as long as I am able. You can say I was born into it considering I was completely nude around the entire city on my first visit to Vienna [joke].
Antonia C.: What do you do for self-care?
Carrera: Skin care. Vegan food. Exercise. Great company. Keeping busy.
Gabe A.: What are you hoping for from the next president in January 2017? What are the first steps they should take to support the community?
Carrera: Equal rights would be great. We’d just like to be equal so that we can start living a bit happier and then we can talk.
Kavish Harjai: What advice do you have for those who are beginning to question gender identity?
Carrera: Write it down. Talk about it. Go back. Think about it. Consider your options. Be safe. Continue to grow. Make a choice. Create a change. Love yourself. Always be true.
Soto M.: At what age did you realize that you were uncomfortable in your body?
Laura Maulestein: How do you take your coffee? What’s your least favorite part of your day? What’s your favorite rap album? What’s your favorite quality in your best friend?
Carrera: My coffee usually is very light, very sweet with milk preferably Almond Milk but if not available I take whole milk but I’m trying to go vegan, so I try for at least soy. Least favorite part of my day would have to be going to bed. My favorite hip hop album would be the “Miseducation of Lauren Hill”. Loyalty is my favorite quality in a “bestie”.
Gillea A.: What do you think needs to be done on a poitical/policy level to ensure that the trans community is treated equally and fairly?
Carrera: Theres a lot that needs to be done. In my opinion, allowing us to transition safely and creating laws to protect us would be a great start so that some of us can live to see the end of our transition and finally begin to live free
Dave H.: What advice would you give trans rights advocates when they’re discussing the topic with folks who may not be as accepting?
Carrera: I always try to put the situation in their shoes. Ive spoken to many “not accepting” people and its usually a mind game, or mind dance I should say, to help them realize where they are wrong or judgmental in their thinking.
Yasmin A.: Do you think Caitlyn Jenner is a good representative of the trans-rights movement?
Carrera: I think Caitlyn represents a lot of people who transition late in life and I believe with her platform she can continue to educate the world on girls like us. The trans movement is a force that includes all unique women from different experiences working together to until the world on a conscious level of understanding of who we are and what we have been through in order to spark change for our youth.
Nisha C.: Do you think the trans rights movement has reached a “tipping point” as some say? How do you think trans rights have changed in the last few years?
Carrera: I think visibility is at an all time high with our cultures current interest in entertainment and acceptance. The next step would be working together as a force to tackle trans issues from a legal standpoint and make some changes official.
Peter C.: Who are your role models?
Carrera: God, Jesus Christ, Yoda, JLo, and my mom.