Candis Cayne

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Candis Cayne
Candis Cayne.jpg
Cayne in 2010
Born (1971-08-29) August 29, 1971 (age 51)
Maui, Hawaii, U.S.[1]
Occupation(s)Actress, performance artist
Years active1995–present
PartnerMarco McDermott (2002–2010)

Candis Cayne[2] (born August 29, 1971) is an American actress and performance artist. Cayne performed in New York City nightclubs in drag since the 1990s,[3] and came out as transgender in 1996; Cayne came to national attention in 2007 for portraying transgender mistress Carmelita on ABC's prime time drama Dirty Sexy Money.[4][5][6] The role makes Cayne the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender character in primetime.[7][8] She is perhaps best known for her recurring role as the Fairy Queen on the fantasy series The Magicians.

Early life[edit]

Cayne has a fraternal twin brother named Dylan. Their parents taught at a Waldorf School, and the family lived on campus.[9] She graduated from Henry Perrine Baldwin High School in Hawaii in 1989[2] and then spent a year in Los Angeles, where she trained as a dancer.[3]


Cayne then moved to New York in the early 1990s, making a name for herself as a choreographer and drag performer.[3] About three years after her arrival in NYC, Cayne realized that the term transgender described how she felt about herself.[3] Already performing as "Candis Cayne" at New York gay bar Boy Bar and as a featured performer at Tour in New York's Chelsea, the entertainer also participated in Wigstock, the annual drag festival in Manhattan's East Village. In 1995 Cayne appeared in the related documentary film Wigstock: The Movie, the comedy-drama film Stonewall, and the Universal Studios comedy feature film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, for which she also did choreography.[10]

In 1996, she had a supporting role in the comedy-drama film Always Something Better (a.k.a. Never Look Back).[11] In 1997 Cayne was in a documentary called Drag Time on HBO along with many other famous New York nightlife performers. Candis also co-starred in the music video for RuPaul's "A Little Bit of Love" with female impersonator Jazzmun. Cayne also starred as the title character in the 1998 independent film Mob Queen, and won the 2001 Miss Continental pageant.[12][13] In 2007 Cayne was cast as Annaka Manners in the 2007 RuPaul film Starrbooty.

From 2007 to 2008 Cayne played Carmelita Rainer, a trans woman having an affair with married New York Attorney General Patrick Darling (played by William Baldwin), on the ABC prime time drama Dirty Sexy Money.[4][5][6] She had a recurring role as the transgender character Alexis Stone in season six of Nip/Tuck.[14] Cayne has appeared as a judge and Dean of Dance on RuPaul's Drag U. As a dance teacher, she taught contestants original choreography to "No Scrubs" by TLC and Kelis's song "Milkshake". In 2011, she guest-starred on the TV show Necessary Roughness as Geraldine.

In 2015, Cayne started making appearances in seasons 1 and 2 of Caitlyn Jenner's reality show I Am Cait.[15]

From 2017 to 2018, Cayne played the role of The Fairy Queen in the Syfy series The Magicians. Cayne appeared in the 2020 documentary Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen.[16] She also hosted the third edition of Werq the World's livestreamed series.[17]

Activism and personal life[edit]

Cayne began transitioning circa 1996.[2] Cayne has stated, "I'm not trying to be a spokeswoman for the transgender community; I just want to be looked at as a living, breathing, happy human being."[5] She calls the LGBT community "the last great minority" and supports LGBT+ rights charity GLAAD.[5]

In August 2015, Candis Cayne teamed up with the global LGBT social network MOOVZ as the new global creative director.[18]

For over eight years, ending in 2010, Cayne was in a relationship with DJ Marco McDermott, to whom she referred as her husband.[19][20] During that time, she helped raise McDermott's daughter, Satori, from a previous relationship.

In 2016, during season 2 of the reality show I Am Cait, Cayne explored the possibility of adopting as a single mom.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Wigstock: The Movie Herself Credited as Brendan McDaniel
1995 Stonewall Diva
1995 To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar Candis Cayne Credited as Brendan McDaniel
1996 Always Something Better Billee
1997 Drag Time Candis Cayne
1998 Mob Queen Glorice Kalsheim
1999 Charlie! Short film
1999 In the Closet
2006 My Heart Belongs to Data Candis Short film
2007 Starrbooty Annaka Manners
2008 Libanesa Loira Libanesa Portuguese language
2011 Making The Boys Herself
2012 Meth Head Pinkie
2012 Groom's Cake Candis Short film
2014 Crazy Bitches Vivianna
2020 Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen Herself Documentary film
2020 I Hate New Year's Zelena / Marley


Year Title Role Notes
2007 CSI: NY Quentin Conrad Episode "The Lying Game"
2008 Sordid Lives: The Series' Therapist #19 Episode "An Audacious Affair"
2007–08 Dirty Sexy Money Carmelita Rainer 11 episodes
2009 Nip/Tuck Alexis Stone 2 episodes
2010 Drop Dead Diva Allison Webb Episode "Queen of Mean"
2011 Necessary Roughness Geraldine Episode "Dream On"
2011 RuPaul's Drag U Herself Episode: "Naughty Nurses"
2012 She's Living for This Herself Episode "The Candis Cayne Episode"
2012–17 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself 4 episodes
2013–14 Elementary Ms. Hudson 3 episodes
2015–16 I Am Cait Herself 15 episodes
2016 Heartbeat Ava Episode: "Permanent Glitter"
2017-2018 The Magicians Fairy Queen 10 episodes
2017 Transparent Jolene Episode: “Born Again”
2018 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Michelle Velez 2 episodes
2021 The Sherry Vine Show[21] Herself Guest

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Performer Notes
1997 "A Little Bit of Love" RuPaul Dancer
1999 "No Scrubs" TLC Dance teacher
2003 "Milkshake" Kelis Dance teacher
2017 "Faces" [22] Mila Jam Cameo
2020 "Nerves of Steel"[23] Erasure Cameo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiseman, Eva. Candis Payne: This California girl is the first transsexual to star in a prime-time soap, The Guardian, March 9, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Sultry Blond On ABC Show Is Hawaii Transgender". November 15, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Piepenburg, Eric (November 6, 2004). "Keep Your Eye on the Road (If You Can)". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Brownworth, Victoria A. (October 18, 2007). "October Surprises". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d "I Advocate ...". The Advocate. Issue #1024. March 2009. p. 80.
  6. ^ a b "Transsexual beauty makes TV history". March 13, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
  7. ^ "Candice Cayne: The First Transgender Woman With a Major Role on Primetime TV". Time. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  8. ^ "21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". May 29, 2014.
  9. ^ Venus, Michael (2002). Michael Venus Profiles: Candis Cayne. YouTube
  10. ^ "Candis Cayne - IMDb". IMDb. 1998–2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Always Something Better (1996)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "Miss Continental 2001". Archived from the original on December 12, 2001. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
  13. ^ "Miss Continental Pageant Throughout the Years". Retrieved February 20, 2009.
  14. ^ Nip/Tuck, Season 6
  15. ^ Christie D'Zurilla (August 3, 2015). "'I Am Cait' recap: It's all fun and games until someone calls you oblivious". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (August 24, 2020). "'Disclosure' Director Sam Feder Signs With Gersh And Luber Roklin Entertainment". Deadline. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  17. ^ "Candis Cayne, Yvie Oddly, Naomi Smalls in Event for Black LGBTQ Lives". June 26, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "What Is Caitlyn Jenner's Friend Candis Cayne Working on Next?". Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  19. ^ "Dirty Sexy Money's Candis Cayne – Vol. 68 No. 19". November 5, 2007. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "Caitlyn Jenner Rumored To Be Dating Trans Actress Candis Cayne". Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  21. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 29, 2021). "OUTtv Media Group Teams With Producer Entertainment Group Launch First LGBTQ+ Apple TV Channel". Deadline. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  22. ^ "Laverne Cox, Tituss Burgess & More Celebrate International Trans Day of Visibility in Mila Jam's 'Faces' Video". Billboard.
  23. ^ Shaffer, Claire (August 11, 2020). "Erasure Team Up With Drag Stars for 'Nerves of Steel' Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.

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