Meet the Transgender Mom Who Wants to Be a Victoria's Secret Angel

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Standing on the rooftop of Hotel Hugo, I'm dwarfed by the amazon that is Carmen Carrera. In her four-inch heels by Carte Blanche, she towers over me and the New York City skyline. But I have no problems looking up to the actress (metaphorically or physically). In fact, many women could learn from Carmen. "My spirit animal is an elephant!" she told me at the POPSUGAR x Jonathan Simkhai party during New York Fashion Week. "Large, in charge, and loud — but loving."

Born as Christopher Roman, the transgender star started her career on RuPaul's Drag Race. Yet, she didn't truly break into modeling until famed photographer Steven Meisel cast her in his short film. Now she's acting alongside Meryl Streep (!!) in Ricki and the Flash. Her next goal: the Victoria's Secret runway. "I want to do my runway walk in my lingerie," she said. "That's my ultimate dream." Carmen's already been in Elle magazine and walked in the Life Ball runway show, so the VS catwalk will be a cakewalk. If she aces her audition (yes, she has one!), she'll be the first transgender woman to have the honor.

In between yoga and Pilates prep for the runway, Carmen can be seen on VH1's Couple's Therapy this October — yes, Carmen is married (to a man) and has two gorgeous daughters. But enough of the résumé talk; it's time to get down to the good stuff — her beauty regimen. Keep reading to find out the lipstick combination Carmen has been using for years and her advice for people contemplating the transition.

*NSFW video ahead.

On Her Makeup Favorites
Instagram | carmen_carrera

On Her Makeup Favorites

POPSUGAR: What are your beauty essentials?

Carmen Carrera: I have this really old-school chrome glass from MAC, and I like to mix that with my lip balm. Then, I like to use a little bit of the OCC Lip Tar’s (like a drop) if I want to change the color. I used to be a makeup artist, so I have experience with mixing and creating. And of course, I love a good waterproof mascara because it’s the only thing that holds a curl. And my skin care of course — Kiehl's!

PS: When do you feel most beautiful?

CC: When I wake up in the morning! Because it’s fresh, and it’s me. There’s a mirror next to my bed and I see who I see in my mind. I don’t have to wake up in the morning and shave or do that stuff that I hated to do. I wake up in the morning, my hair's a mess, and that’s fine. I love to just be at home and be a regular girl; that’s like the best part of my day.

On Being a Mom
Getty | Michael Loccisano

On Being a Mom

PS: What is it like being a mom and teaching your children about being transgender?

CC: My 11-year-old just got her period so I get to go through those experiences with her even though I never got the chance. I still get to go through that with her and hold her hand through the process. To her, I’m not trans. I’m just her stepmom. And then my 7-year-old is just like me. She’s rambunctious and has a little attitude about her. And I see myself in these kids and that’s rewarding to me. We don’t ever have the trans conversation; they know but it’s something that they’re just like “OK!” It’s more about the other stuff, like school and their day-to-day life, and I know as a parent, I’m preparing them for this world. So I feel lucky that I can prepare these two small people to walk the planet and eventually be successful.

On Modeling
Instagram | carmen_carrera

On Modeling

PS: What would be your top show to walk in?

CC: Victoria’s Secret. That’s the one that my fans petitioned for. I have 50,000 signatures. So I’ve been training so hard. I want to do my runway walk in my lingerie. That’s my dream and I won’t ever stop until I make that happen. For me, that would be huge for all those people that supported me.

PS: Who's a woman that you look up to?

CC: Joan Smalls! She’s Puerto Rican like me. I would love to meet her and work with her one day. And Candice Swanepoel, too. I’ve been told that you don’t want to have too many curves or hips, but I feel like she’s quite curvy for a model. I want to be in that category.

PS: What’s your favorite part of your body?

CC: My favorite part of my body would be my pelvic bone! And my booty! (laughs) I work really hard on my butt. I’m in there shaking during yoga class, and I’m in there dying on the StairMaster after three minutes. And then my pelvic bone and my hip area. I like that I’m hippy and that my hip bone comes out further than any typical born male. It makes me feel more of a woman.

click to play video

On Her Transition

PS: What was your hardest part of your transition?

CC: I would say functioning in a society that knows I'm trans. When they don’t know I’m trans it’s just like, “OK, we see you as equal." But when they know you get a whole bunch of other questions and then you see a lot of other people’s insecurities come out through their judgement. My brain and my spirit is that of a female, I just so happened to be born with a blemish. So why does that get in the way of me being able to fit in with the rest of the female population? It’s not about being trans, I have girl problems, I have man problems, beauty problems, weight problems — I got all those problems!

PS: What advice would you give someone who is transitioning?

CC: I would say that if it’s something they really want to do, just go for it wholeheartedly. And find a support group. Anyone that’s struggling should know that the struggle is not real, it’s actually fake — life is real. They need to know that it’s temporary because the longer you sit and struggle, the less time you’ll have to enjoy the rest of your life.