Caramel: Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Ryder. Your debut at Shemale-Club is amazing and I want to discuss it. But the first thing I’d like to talk about is your education and passion for music. You chose the school I should have chosen, The Institute of Audio Research in Manhattan. I’d considered attending but enrolled at the Center of Media Arts which went belly up before my first semester was to begin. What was your study focus at IAR and how did you like attending school in NYC?
Ryder: I loved my time in New York, the people and culture are unlike any other city. People don’t know this, but my time in NYC is actually where I familiarized myself with the trans community and really began to discover myself as a trans woman. At the time I was pursuing production and working with local artists. I was working mostly in hip hop music, lots of late night sessions. I had so much fun…more fun than I should have, probably, but mostly I learned a lot about the business and myself.
Caramel: I know what you mean. I love NYC since I was born there and worked there for quite some time. I think it’s one of the best places to be in the US to begin one’s journey also. In the music world, You’ve worked with major label artists and producers such as Teddy Riley, J.R. Rotem, Troy Taylor, and Jason DeRulo. Those are some heavy hitters. Do you still plan to keep a hand in music?
Ryder: This is a tough question, because music is so much a part of who I am, but it is also a constant reminder of who I was before I transitioned. I have my moments where I really want to pursue music as an artist again. I often wonder if there is a place for me, as a trans woman in the pop music industry. At the same time, I do have several songs that have been placed with major artists that have yet to be released so, in some right, I am indefinitely a part of the music industry.
Ryder: Yeah, people assume I’ve been transitioning for years, but to be totally honest I’ve only been living full-time for about three months now and my hrt regimen began five months ago. Things are still so new but it feels very natural. Before I transitioned I was the “pretty boy” who wore tight clothes and makeup. I was lead singer of a glam rock band so I got away with wearing eyeshadow and lip gloss. I’m surprised at the overwhelming response from my fans and supporters. It’s been a wonderful experience living full-time and pursuing a career in the adult film industry.
Caramel: Pics! I wanna see the old pics LOL. Actually, I’m not kidding. I’m pansexual and femboi glam is one of my favorite indulgences. I checked you out at SoundCloud and you have a beautiful voice. I’m picky about music and I really think yours is really hot and marketable. If I didn’t think so, I’d avoided mentioning it. So, you’re living at Virginia Beach now, but are you considering moving to LA or Chicago?
Ryder: Well, I’ve lived all over and am not used to settling in one place for long. I love to travel. Virginia Beach has been my home for about two years now and my natural instincts as well as my blossoming career are telling me it’s time to hit the road. I’d love to move to L.A. eventually but first up, I’m hitting Chicago for the summer.
Ryder: Niteflirt is such a great tool for models to connect with their fans. Many of my supporters show love through purchasing my photos and video clips as well as skypeing with me or calling my hotline. I love it! I enjoy connecting with my admirers and it’s always a really hot time. My Niteflirt site is a place where fans can connect with me on a more intimate level.
Caramel: I definitely got the vibe that you love connecting with people. I can’t tell you how much of a difference that’s going to make for your career and continued personal fulfillment. Your warmth shines through in your work. About the trans woman who photographed you, I think that Jasmine Jewels is absolutely amazing and multi-talented as a model, performer and photographer. Did you have fun working with her?
Ryder: Jasmine is great! She has reached out to me and been a huge influence in my budding career. She actually discovered me on Twitter and did my first professional solo shoot! She’s a straight shooter and doesn’t take any bullshit, which I really appreciate. I have a lot of respect for people with a solid work ethic and a genuine personality.
Caramel: How long have you been with beauty consultant Valicia (Maria Alvarez)?
Ryder: My fiance and I met about two years ago and have been engaged for about three months now. We both were musicians working together briefly when we met, but we reconnected because I needed a makeup artist and she was a working beauty consultant with an open schedule and an open heart. She’s actually been a major part of my transition, helping me with my makeup and hair and accompanying me on my photo-shoots. She’s most certainly the love of my life and I believe, my soul-mate. She is in the early stages of her transition (female to male) and it’s awesome to have a partner who totally gets me in every aspect of my life.
Caramel: Congratulations on your engagement! That’s wonderful. Is she handling it well that you’re not just working solo in the industry, but with other performers, too? I’m hoping she’s not the jealous type.
Ryder: Valicia totally supports everything that I do. She encourages me and constantly pushes me to go for my goals no matter how high the hurdles may be. She’s my cheerleader, my best friend, and my lover. I can imagine she experiences a little jealousy because of my line of work, but at the end of the day she knows that my family comes first and she’s totally cool because I try to be as professional as possible.
Caramel: I’ve dated people who’d rather see me sleep with someone than to flirt with them. I’ve felt the same way. I’m sure that Valicia understands that work is work and that’s it. Anyway, I’m really happy for you. You two make such a lovely couple. A few years ago, when I was new to Florida, I regularly attended my local TG/TS support group at the GLBT center. I had a crush on a FTM (Female To Male) transsexual. I’d never learned so much about what a FTM goes through in life leading to his transition. In terms of visibility and understanding, a lot of MTF’s (Male To Female) think we’re still light years behind gays and lesbians. Kyle to me “If you think you’ve got problems, millions of people don’t even know that people like me even exist”. Do you and Valicia ever discuss that Chaz Bono is perhaps the only high profile FTM in today’s society?
Ryder: We both really like how Chaz is being portrayed in the media, it’s such a great shedding of light on FTM transsexuals! The interview Chaz did with David Letterman was totally transparent and I’m sure his influence has educated a lot of people out there who don’t know or understand the plight of the FTM. There’s tons of resources for MTF’s but not as much is known about FTM’s…that being said, everything we go through as a couple is a genuine learning experience and we strive to be each others unconditional support.
Caramel: Just about everyone I know in America and other in other countries considers turning thirteen a milestone. For me, my family made a big deal out of it and told me I was almost a grown up now when I turned thirteen. But I was like, “Almost a grown up what?!” I’d wished I’d been born female, dressed up only in private, and no one else knew. I was purging my female clothing and in denial about my bisexuality. I hope things were easier for you growing up. How old were you when you first started dressing and did you consider that you might be bisexual or even gay before you realized it was about being transgender?
Ryder: I think I’ve always known I was a t-girl. It wasn’t until I was about 21 years old when I really accepted the fact that I was transgender although I didn’t begin my transition until three years later. I can remember being in preschool and wanting to be my teacher, a pretty blonde lady I admired. After spending my later teens and early adulthood working to be successful in the music industry and continually get screwed by A&R’s and record labels, I felt that it was time for me to transition with nothing holding me back. My writing partner Justin Joy and I had a publishing deal with Jason DeRulo that turned sour and it was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back and the thing that thrust me into transitioning. I’m sure other people assumed I was just an effeminate gay guy, but I’ve lived my entire life dealing with gender dysphoria and it’s just this year that I’m really able to share my story with other people.
Ryder: Unfortunately it wasn’t my decision to come out to my friends. Before coming out I had two Facebook and Twitter accounts. Sadly I was living a double life due to the harsh reality that the trans lifestyle is not widely accepted in society. Basically, I had one boy account and one girl account. I was accidentally outed by one of my best friends who posted one of my tweets on Twitter from my “Ryder Monroe” account which was re-tweeted to all of my friends on my boy account. People instantly recognized me and basically put two and two together. At first I was mortified, but the overwhelming support and reassurance from my friends opened my eyes to see that I didn’t need to live a double life at all. After that, I came out to my parents which was has been a very emotional process. I love my parents but things will never be the same between us. I’m glad I have my fiance and my best friends for support.
Caramel: I’m sorry about your being outed by accident, Ryder. I wish you could have done it on your own terms. Back now to music, as a teenager, I looked up to androgynous rock and R&B stars like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Freddie Mercury, Sylvester, the 80’s group Kajagoogoo, Pete Burns from Deal or Alive; actually too many names to mention here. When you were with your band and performed as an androgyne, Even though so many other musicians had taken this path before and kicked down doors, did anyone give you flack about it?
Ryder: Musically my influences are artists like Tokio Hotel, David Bowie, and Duran Duran as well. I love Lady Gaga and other trailblazers who don’t fit the status quo and push the limits of what society considers normal. I have a great deal of respect for that, and that is what I try to do. Often times throughout my childhood and teenage years I’d been mistaken as a girl, even before I began wearing makeup. Most people were very encouraging about my androgynous look as an artist, but there were people (mainly females) who had negative things to say about my look. Growing up I did experience quite a bit of bullying because of my naturally androgynous look but when I found music, I found a place where I was more accepted because of my uniqueness.
Caramel: I love Lady Gaga also and about Tokio Hotel, I’ve enjoyed looking at Bill Kaulitz for the last few years and with your recommendation, I’m going to check out Tokio Hotel’s music, too. LOL Speaking of hot, at this moment, you are currently the #1 favorite tgirl at Shemale-Club! Congratulations, Ryder, a 5.00 out of 5! Can I let the cat out of the bag that your hardcore scene will soon be released at Shemale-Club and another at Interracial TGirl Sex?
Ryder: Well, I guess the now the cat is out of the bag! I’m just really appreciative of my fans and supporters well as my friends and of course my fiance. I’m excited for the future.
Until next time, keep up with Ryder on Soundcloud.