'ANTM' Isis King Opens Up About Difficulty Finding Love As Trans Woman

Life & Love | Bené Viera | 09/19/2014 | 09:46 AM EDT

Model says being a famous transgender woman makes dating 'a bit harder'

Model Isis King was tossed into the spotlight as a transgender woman on “America’s Next Top Model.” Six years after bursting onto the scene, however, she's found that fame doesn't necessarily lead to a happy love life.


King, 28, has moved on from “ANTM” to modeling for fashion brands like American Apparel and strutting runways during New York Fashion Week for powerhouse designer Betsey Johnson. But while she’s found success in fashion she's found great difficulties in the romance department.


“Being born in the wrong body has made it really hard because I want to tell men up front, but once I tell them they usually lose interest,” she told the Daily Mail. “There are preconceived notions of trans women, and they don't want to know me once I tell them.”


King says not only is it hard because she’s a transgender woman, but also because of her fame.


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“It's a bit harder for me because not only am I trans, but I am one of the world's most famous trans women,” she added.


King says by age four she knew how she felt about being a girl. By age 23 she had sexual reassignment surgery and started to blossom in her confidence.


“Some people want no operations, some people want the top or bottom only - I knew that I personally had to go all the way to feel complete with myself. After the breast augmentation I said, ‘Oh my god, I actually feel sexy - when I completed all of my procedures I was happy.’”


Being recognizable from her two stints on “ANTM” in 2008 then again in 2011 makes her dating life challenging at times. She recalls being on a date when an employee recognized her:


I was in a gelato place with a guy who didn't know I was on America's Next Top Model. The girl serving us ice cream noticed who I was and right as she was about to mention it, I opened my eyes wide, and winked at her and she knew I didn't want her to say it out loud. She winked back and she didn't say anything, but it was just perfect - it was the first time it ever worked out that way.


King wonders if she’ll find love in New York City.


“I don't know if I'm going to find it here because it is such a fast paced city,” she said. “I have a great career, I know who I am, I know who I want, I'm a positive person. I just want to meet someone who's going to treat me the way I would treat them.”


King is among the slowly growing list of transgender women like New York Times Bestselling author Janet Mock and "Orange Is The New Black"'s Laverne Cox gaining attention for both their talents and advocacy for the transgender community.


(Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)

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