ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" & Candis Cayne Break Transgender Ground
AUGUST 2, 2007: Rebecca Romijn may have broken new ground with her performance as the transgender character Alexis Meade on ABC's "Ugly Betty," but Manhattan-based actress, impersonator and entertainer Candis Cayne (born Brendan McDaniel) will take that a step further on ABC's upcoming prime-time soap "Dirty Sexy Money" with her scandalous supporting role as Billy Baldwin's mistress Carmelita.
Brendan, who transformed himself into "Candis Cayne" and became one of the United States' most popular, award-winning and sought-after female impersonators, can be seen in NYC hot spots with her husband DJ Marco in their weekly dance-and-glamour-filled show. She is also filming a new reality series for cable's LOGO channel aimed at GLBT audiences.
In an interview with Homo Xtra, New York's guide to gay nightlife and culture, Candis reveals tidbits about her upcoming role:
How did you get involved in the upcoming ABC drama series, Dirty Sexy Money?
Patricia Field was the costume designer for the pilot and actually recommended me for the role! I play Billy Baldwin's character's mistress, and every time you see her she's either in her bedroom or in a hotel room- wearing Louboutin. I thought I was maybe going to be in it for a couple episodes, but the writers must be getting a good response, because they've put me in four more episodes so far and keep writing new scenes for my character. It's a dream for me.
Were you intimidated by Billy?
Totally. But when I met him at the table read, he was like, "Candis! Give me a hug!" He was so relaxed and not awkward. He later asked a lot about my relationship with Marco, because his character is sort of in the same situation. A lot of people have weird notions that I'm gay or that people who date me are gay, but he got it and was really into it. Well, not into it, but...
Is it true that your voice was digitally lowered for the pilot episode in post-production?
Yes, but if they want to lower my voice for shock value, fine. They asked me to lower my voice, but I couldn't bring myself to do something that was completely unnatural for me. It's really important for me as a trans actress to be in situations that I'm comfortable with, because there's a lot of weird stuff thrown at trans actresses that we'd never do. So you have to pick your battles, because there are trannies with lower voices, but no tranny would ever stand to pee, for example. As soon as that happened in Transamerica, the movie lost me. With my role in CSI: NY earlier this year, they had a lot of stuff like that written in-like going into a men's room-and I said, "I won't do that because I would never do it in real life." That part was originally written for a drag queen, but I auditioned and I snatched. I snatched!
Isn't Dirty Sexy Money the first time that a trans actress has played a recurring trans character on television?
I think so! The first recurring trans character was on Ugly Betty, but Rebecca Romijn's a woman—which is better than a man playing it! I'm just happy the media is really starting to embrace us, and I'm happy to be working again. After I started transitioning, I stopped working for nearly 10 years. I couldn't go out for the drag roles because I was too womanly, and I couldn't go out for the woman roles because there's a gay guy in every single goddamn casting who'd be like, "She's a man!" It's always the gays spooking you. But now I think it's the year of the tranny. It's finally my year!
"Dirty Sexy Money" airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.