Danielle Foxxx was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 27, 1979, the only child of a Brazilian mother and a German-American father. Today, Danielle is one of the world’s most recognizable transsexual film actresses in history. She was nominated for an AVN Award in 2005 for “Transsexual Performer of the Year” and is a graduate of the Motion Picture Special Effects Makeup School. She won the Queen USA Pageant in August 2006 and was nominated in 2007 for AVN Award for “Transsexual Performer of The Year”. She’s also worked with many acclaimed transsexual movie directors and well known studios such as Joey Silvera Video, Anabolic and Mancini Productions. She’s also made several appearances at Shemale Yum and other major transgender websites. She’s starred in over 30 feature adult films. Danielle knows that although she hasn’t even reached 35, I consider her to be an icon. It gives me great pleasure to present my interview with the beautiful and trailblazing Danielle Foxxx.
Danielle: My grand father was award winning Civil engineer working on sanitation issues. He actually wrote a book about it and was given medals for the work he did. His job took him all over and he ended up meeting my grandmother in Brasil. They adopted my dad from Germany and lived in Brasil where my dad met my mom while attending University.
Caramel: When you were 14, your family moved to the US. What was the motivation behind the move?
Danielle: My dad missed America and wanted to give us a better life here, it’s the typical immigrant story but a little easier since he was an American citizen. I followed my dad and later mom joined.
Danielle: I was dressing way before that. I remember at a very young age playing with my mom’s clothes, but then I just put it away and basically gave up on the idea. When I was growing up we didn’t have the Internet and the resources parents do today. For instance, parents today have some sort of idea that when your boy is dressing like a girl at age 5 there has to be something different and it could be gender identity disorder. I was put through many years of therapy, growth hormone treatments, you name it. I tried being a gay boy for a while and failed at that too. Then on my own I realized that I was a lot happier when I was a woman. So it just kinda fell into place. I still don’t feel like I was born in the wrong body, I was born trans and I am very secure with that realization.
Caramel: I would argue that it’s a heartfelt desire of most transsexuals both MTF and FTM to be accepted without question or suspicion. That said, very few will ever be able to achieve this most elusive of goals. The concept of “passing” is fraught with all sorts of racial and political implications, so I hesitate before using it. But let’s get down to brass tacks. Knowing that you should have been born in the body of the opposite sex is far from a blessing and often viewed as a curse. But do you feel that your features and build were sort of a blessing that made it easier for you to “pass” as a female better than most genetically born males whose physical makeup is more masculine?
Danielle: In a way I am very blessed to have been born a bit smaller then most males. I have always been small, hence the years of torture I endured from childhood all the way ’till I had to withdraw from High School in 1994. I feel lucky that I was able to survive through so much hate and mistreatment, I say that in the light of the recent suicides by Gay/Trans teens. I feel lucky about my health, family and friends. I feel what most trans girls feel – still even after surgery – that my physical appearance still resembles that of a man, even though others don’t see it that way. It’s a little voice in your head when someone in a crowd laughs, or someone stares at you – those fears are still all there.
I am a strong believer that “passability” isn’t necessarily too much to do with your physical, but a lot to do with how you carry yourself. I see a lot of trans women who spend no time at all learning what genetic females have had years to learn. We trans only have a few years to brush up on things. A lot of trans women still act like dudes. From mannerisms, poise, class, attitude, to how you walk, hold your cups, your voice, and the way you present yourself to the world. Those are all very important things that not only help you be more “Passable” but which help you be a better person. I also see girls wearing super low cut shirts showing off their implants and dressing inappropriately. I take great pride in always bettering myself and making a good example not as a trans woman but as a human.
Danielle: I don’t really have a relationship with my dad. We have talked a few times, but he just doesn’t understand. I have to also think that he may feel guilty or that he may have been a bad parent, that he may somehow have given me more attention etc… In contrary. My dad taught me so many things, such as my love for film, music, arts. He introduced met to things such as electronics and wood working, light car repairs. I am not afraid of getting dirty to fix a few things if I have to. I am very resourceful thanks to my dad. I just wish he would allow me to say that to him. But I understand how difficult it may be.
My mom, on the other hand, is a doll. She is probably more like a sister then a mother. She always has. One of my earliest memories was when I was 3 and slipped on a soapy floor helping her wash it. I busted my head open on a broken pipe and was too young to have anesthesia ( so the story goes ) and she calmed me down so much that I allowed the doctor to stitch me up. My mom is the strongest woman I know. She has endured so much bullshit in her marriage to my father, the death of my uncle, my ant having breast cancer, and so much more. She is a fighter and she thought me everything from table manners to sewing. Yes, I can sew a little.
Danielle: First things first, the show doesn’t ask “man or woman”, it says born as a man or born as a woman. Let me clarify further that my fans were not upset, they love me not only for my body but for who I am and what I have done. I get tons of supportive emails from people who I have reached on a personal level. The problem was with the haters, other trans women who feel they can build themselves up by tearing other people down. I mean, take the boycott of ” Ticket off Trannies with Knives ” how ridiculous was all that – how in the world is that movie giving people the wrong idea about trans people? If anything I would say it’s telling people ” Bitch don’t fuck with me cause I got a knife “. I had been on Maury numerous of times in the past, along with Ricky Lake, who’s show I co-hosted once. I have been in game shows and was even in a few main stream movies. The problem started when I called people hypocrites. My choices in life are made for me, and no one else. I do a lot for people as is, but they have to deserve it. I am not going to try and act like Mother Theresa or Princess Dianna and save the world because I’d rather help those close to me, through their troubled times, as they have helped me. I don’t feel as I am doing a disservice to anyone by doing such shows. And the bottom line is, the trans community is full of envious bitches. The mentality of a lot of society already sees us as evil and gross people. I am not going to set out to change their minds. I am not a therapist, and I don’t want to be – but I am strong enough to know that if I went to school for it I would be a damn good one. I am ranting sorry. I just despise negative people who always see something wrong in everything. I am making a difference by being the best human I can be – not man or woman – but just setting an example in the smallest ways – like a smile or holding the door for someone who is coming behind me. Fuck the haters, if I would listen to them I would never be where I am today – I am accomplished and I have used all of that hate as a driving force to make things better for me, so I am not like them. I do wish them well and may find their peace as I have found mine.
Caramel: When you were working as a makeup artist and a bartender and dancer at Diva’s in San Francisco, you appeared on Ricki Lake as Holly Gramm and were also crowned Miss Gay San Francisco. I’m not going to take you too far down that trip from memory lane, but how certain were you that you’d begin living as a woman full-time back then and how soon after did your actual transition begin?
Danielle: 2002 it was. I moved to SF in 1998 and started pretty much transitioning then. I met some really awesome Philippina sisters such as Tita Aida, and Lucy, Anna, and Azunta, who help guide me to hormones and the ” scene “. I had pushed all of that out of my mind till then. It was the right moment for me, I found my calling and I found myself in San Francisco. I actually took hormones for almost 2 years, still living as a boy, working as a boy, wearing baggie shirts to hide my mosquito bites LOL It was only when I went through some discrimination while working at Glendale Galleria in LA that I realized I needed to grow some balls and go full time – I was scared. I thought about stopping my transition, I shaved my head… all of that denial that some of us go through.
Caramel: After SRS (Sexual Reassignment Surgery) a lot of post-operative transexuals leave their pasts behind in order to get on with their new lives. One might think that since you were already living full-time as a woman and blended right into society as a woman, the only past you were leaving behind was a penis. Did your life change dramatically after your SRS?
Danielle: You never leave your past behind – it is always following you. If there is one thing I learned from subconsciously trying to run from “Danielle” is that no matter where you go, what you do, how you do it, you can never run away from who you are. I honestly never thought about SRS before 5 years ago. I was just living one day at a time, and again, the time was right and I was prepared mentally for it, and I worked hard ( literally ) and did it.
I had my surgery for practical reasons. As you mentioned I was already integrated into society, so there was nothing I could gain from “being a complete woman” other then personal freedom. I love my body now, more then ever. I know I am not a genetic female, I’m not from Venus. But I’m not from Mars either. I know my place in this world and I am smart enough to be content with who I am. I think it is sad when women go post op and lie to everyone, get married, etc… only to endure pain and suffering when people find out. What is all that for? Why not be honest about who you are? Be a proud post operative woman. Marry a man who loves you and appreciates you for who you are, your honesty, your uniqueness. Mutual respect is the most important thing when speaking of human interaction.
I feel sorry for those who still feel like they should hide who they are after such a long road. Own up! Be proud! We are very special people, we embody both genders. I think that it is very special.
Caramel: You were one of the leading pre-operative transsexual entertainers of all time when you announced you were soon to undergo SRS in March 2008. In fact, you were known as “the legendary Danielle Foxxx” and that term is usually reserved for women decades older than you. I read many of the reactions at adult forums and men were flipping out because you were “getting rid of your cock”. Even I who love, pre-op and post-op porn equally knew that I’d initially miss seeing you performing with your penis before my mind wrapped itself around the new Danielle with a vagina.
Danielle: Most were concerned with their own pleasures, I understood it was a selfish attitude but I felt sorry for disappointing some of my fans – for making my dreams come true??? Thank you for the lovely words. It’s funny cause I am far from the conceited self centered “star”. If I was, all of those comments would definitely get to my head. Being a “star” has allowed me to transition and make things happen for myself, I am grateful to my fans and to those who consider me a legend – and I am not as young as you may think – I am turning 35 in a few days. Sagittarius not Scorpio ! lol
Caramel: But something else was going on in my head since I’ve considered SRS myself. It was clear to me that your idea of success wasn’t all about how far you’d gone in you career, or how much money you’d made, or how well-known you’d become. Would I be way off to assume that the real success you found was in forging ahead against all odds and doing what you needed to do in order to find joy and comfort and peace on your own terms?
Danielle: You’re right on the money. I used all of my blessings to better myself and to make things happen. I am a better person because of my generous fans who helped me fulfill some of the goals I had set out to achieve. Against all odds is right. When I see the sadness that some of these starlets are in, oblivious to their own wrong doing, I feel somewhat responsible to say something, as an older woman. Some people work so hard to be over achievers simply to reach higher status, and rub other’s noses in it over how much better they think they are.
Caramel: It’s clear that social stigmatization of transsexualism leads many young people to internalize a lot of undeserved shame, embarrassment and guilt about their condition. As a result, young transsexual girls often waste precious years before they seek help and many never find a way to correct their gender condition. How did you avoid potential pitfalls and did you have a support system of friends and family to help make things easier to deal with?
Danielle: I honestly go through this all the time still LOL. People still try to put me down, and you won’t believe the things I hear when they are angry. Somehow, through the selfishness of their own existence people tend to want to project. I was in therapy for years trying to disconnect myself from all of that. But by withdrawing myself from sadness I opened up my heart to such wonderful supportive friends such as my mama Roseanne, my sister Felicia Katt, my mentor Sammy Mancini and a very few others. I am very very private and I am guilty of closing myself off at times, but that keeps me out of trouble. And trust me, people will ask for help, allow you to help them and when it comes time for you to ask for help there is no one around. My few friends will be there for me in those times, and they have. I stay away from parties, drugs, read self help books, I try to stay away from “picking up straight men for validation”, all of that negative Karma comes with a price.
Caramel: Recent calculations indicate that 1 in every 2,500 males in the U.S. has already undergone SRS. Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 post-operative transsexual women live in the United States, and many thousands more are now in the process of gender transition here. Does it surprise you that the mainstream media seldom deals with postoperative women?
Danielle: I actually never gave that question any thought really. If we are always fighting for equality why should recognition be so important? Isn’t that ” searching for validation “? I think we have plenty of educational shows on trans issues.
Caramel: Do you think that the mainstream focuses on gender transitions mostly with sad outcomes and spotlights only transsexuals when someone “well-known changes sex” and when someone is a victim of discrimination, harassment or attack?
Danielle: Everyone loves a good drama, a good car crash on the freeway… Have you watched the news lately? I don’t watch the news at all, I rather watch Natgeo, History and Science shows. If something outstanding is happening I will eventually hear about it. I hate the over dramatization of news programs, politics and nonsense.
Caramel: I understand that you feel the lack of respect for transsexual people in the porn industry and that one of your missions is to continue to work hard and do quality work with the aim of shaping the mainstream opinion of transsexuals in the industry. That’s an incredibly huge responsibility to take on but firmly believe you’ve made a lot of progress. Can you feel the impact you’ve made as well?
Danielle: Actually I am working hard to retire from being a model. I have been in the adult entertainment business for 17 years, as a boy, pre-op and post-op. It is time!!! On a lighter note: I think the porn industry is as narrow minded as the rest of society. I hope I have changed some people’s minds by being a good professional model, unafraid of my sexuality and treating everyone who deserves respect – with respect. The others… well… you have seen my public outbursts – I am the first one to rip someone a new asshole.
Caramel: Oh, I’ve seen those disagreements and my reactions were “ouch” and never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. You’ve slain some pretty ignorant people I’d thought were far more intelligent than they turned out to be.
So, how long of a break did you take from the porn industry before launching Sex Change Girl in 2009?
Danielle: 2008. It has been almost 3 years since my surgery. I took a year and a half off. First for my surgery, then the following year my revision.
Caramel: Danielle, thank you for being so candid and in closing, I’d like to share with you a comment from Beatlephil who often contributes to Caramel’s TGirls. Here’s what he had to say about you:
“The word “Goddess” has been used quite a lot over the years particularly in female impersonator/ transsexual shows and pageants. Danielle certainly was one for many years, but now she has transcended it by simply becoming the woman she was always meant to be. Of course it didn’t happen by chance. It’s the result of a lifetime of struggle and stress, overcome by discipline and desire. She mastered the artistry of style, and through the miracles of medical technology, and with poise and refinement was able to transform her physicality into the complete woman she is today. And her Sex Change Girl website…it’s certainly a blessing for admirers of post-ops like myself. So Danielle thank you.”
Danielle, I’m not as eloquent as Phil, but that sums up how I feel about you, too. Thank you so much for this interview.
Danielle: OMG no thank you, I am honored and grateful. Those were some really nice words. It is nice to know people see that I do work very hard and that I do live all of my emotions equally. I am glad to be emotionally intelligent and able to get by this very difficult path we were all placed on. Thank you so much.