Amanda Lepore (born Armand Lepore on December 5, 1967) is an American transgender icon who has received attention for her modeling, fashion, partying, and business skills. She has been the advertising face for Heatherette, M.A.C. (cosmetics), Mego Jeans, Swatch, and more. Fashion design company Heatherette has used Lepore's image on much of their clothing and has chosen her several times to model their brand during Fashion Week. She had a cameo in the film Party Monster, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Lepore resides in New York City and works as a nightlife hostess at many of the city's popular parties and clubs. She has also had cameos in music videos for artists such as Elton John, the Dandy Warhols and Girl in a Coma.
Serving as David LaChapelle's muse, Lepore has been included in advertising campaigns for companies such as Armani and MTV. Lepore is also noted as a regular subject in much of LaChapelle's work. She participated in his Artists and Prostitutes 1985-2005 exhibit in New York where she "lived" in a voyeuristic life-sized set.
Currently, Lepore is exploring musical projects with producers Fatal Art Syndicate. Her first single "Deeper" is a trance dance song written by Lady Bunny, a drag queen and hostess of Wigstock. Other available songs are "Champagne," "My Hair Looks Fierce" and "My Pussy (is Famous)". Many of her songs were produced by Cazwell, whose 2006 album features Lepore in the title track "Get Into It". Lepore also sings the main title for Another Gay Movie, "I Know What Boys Like". There is an unreleased track that was played in NYC nightclubs circa 2003, entitled "Up In This House". It was produced by DJ Gomi and featured additional lyrics by Kevin Aviance. Another track, "Turn Me On, Turn Me Over", has not yet been released.
During mid-2007, Lepore was a part of the multi-artist True Colors Tour, which traveled through 15 cities in the United States and Canada. The tour, sponsored by the Logo channel, began on June 8, 2007. Hosted by comedian Margaret Cho and headlined by Cyndi Lauper, the tour also included Erasure, Debbie Harry, The Gossip, Rufus Wainwright, The Dresden Dolls, The MisShapes, Rosie O'Donnell, Indigo Girls, The Cliks and other special guests. Profits from the tour helped to benefit the Human Rights Campaign as well as PFLAG and The Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Lepore is expected to make her first feature film cameo appearance in years, in the much anticipated indie film, "Shifting the Canvas," written and directed by Chuck Griffith, and set to start production in Summer 2008. The film, which highlights current issues such as gentrification and gay enclaves, will star John Paul Pitoc ("Trick," "Thank You, Good Night"), Scott Thompson ("Kids in the Hall") and others.
The child of a chemical engineer father (Italian-American) and a schizophrenic mother (German-American), Lepore was born as a male in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. At the age of 11, Lepore professed a desire to have a sex change operation after seeing a TV show on the subject. Unable to tolerate dressing as a boy, Lepore made the decision to go to school dressed as a girl which concerned her guidance counselor; she was not allowed to attend school as a female, so she received a tutor at home. At the age of 15 she began designing costumes for dancers at a local strip club. During this time she received hormones from an underage transsexual friend who accepted outfits as payment. After her body developed breasts her tutor recommended a psychiatrist. Lepore was diagnosed as a transsexual. The psychiatrist informed her parents and helped in getting the hormones legally.
Her first surgical operation, rhinoplasty, occurred at the age of fifteen, which she received for free from her then-boyfriend, a plastic surgeon. Afterwards, Lepore became involved with a bookstore owner. He was initially unaware that Lepore was transsexual, but when Lepore told him so, he accepted her anyway and revealed the situation to his parents who were compassionate and allowed her into their family. His parents took Lepore to a doctor for the operation, but couldn’t continue until her mother gave her consent because she was a minor. By the age of seventeen (through a legal loophole) Lepore had a full sex reassignment operation. Eventually she married the bookstore owner and moved in with his family. Due to her husband’s jealousy and concern of others finding out his wife was transsexual, Lepore was house-bound. Over a period of seven months, Lepore planned an escape, during which time she saved money and finally left. Her husband hired a detective to find her, resulting in Lepore filing a restraining order against him. She kept in contact with her husband’s father, as he understood why she had to leave.
At her new home in New York City she made $45 a day working at a salon. She took the advice of a friend and became a dominatrix, fulfilling the erotic fantasies of others. A friend took her to Michael Alig’s party “Disco 2000,” where she was immediately accepted for who she was and became the center of attention. Working at a Bowery bar, LaChapelle stumbled upon her and they became important parts of each other’s lives.
Lepore has had three breast augmentations, her eyes slanted twice, her forehead lifted, her hairline pulled down and her brow bone reduced. She has also had her forehead, buttocks and hips enlarged with liquid silicone injections. Most notably, she had her lips enlarged with liquid silicone injections (and subsequently reduced) and has had her lower rib broken and pushed in.
In October 1999 Swatch released "Time Tranny", a watch designed by LaChapelle with Lepore on the face displaying a printed crack on the glass and marble stripes as the background. LaChapelle however was not pleased with the results and had the first version withdrawn and destroyed making it a rare collectible. The original version was accidentally sold in the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The second version displays no cracked glass and a blue and yellow striped background. To date “Time Tranny” is the fastest selling limited edition Swatch.
Lepore is also launching two fragrances under the names of "Happy Hooker" and "Lemore". Another perfume under the name of “Virgin Juice” is being produced with LaChapelle. It was also announced via Amanda's MySpace page that there was a publisher interested in producing a biography of Lepore. Lepore has also spoken of a possible reality TV show entitled "Amanda Cross-Country"
In April 2006, Integrity Toys launched an Amanda Lepore doll produced by Jason Wu. All proceeds went to AIDS charities. A doll auctioned at the after-launch party sold for $1,500. The dolls have fetched up to a few thousand dollars on eBay and are now extremely hard to find. Some going from $700 to $2,500.
Lepore recently released a remix album, entitled Fierce Pussy, which can be found on her website.
Sophia Lamar and Lepore both filed lawsuits against the now shut down nightclub Twilo Miami, after being fired and replaced by “biological” women. According to Michael Bindra (club manager) he was ordered by the owner Steven R. Pastore to fire them for being an “eye sore”. The case was filed in the New York Supreme Court, where it was eventually settled.
- Amanda Lepore for the Heatherette runway show at YouTube
- Amanda Lepore at the Internet Movie Database
- "Road to Home" music video featuring Amanda Lepore at YouTube
- Armani ad campaign at YouTube
- Official site of David LaChapelle
- Amanda Lepore by Nicky London
- True Colors Tour
- Amanda's Story from Mao Mag (online in seven pages)
- "Time Tranny" signing
- "Time Tranny" at Torsten's Journey
- Peace Bisquit record label
- Album at EverythingAmanda.com
- Twilo's Management Criticized For Gender Identity Discrimination
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