Carmen Carrera

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Carmen Carrera
Carmen Carrera.jpg
Carmen Carrera at New York Fashion Week in September 2011
Born (1985-04-13) April 13, 1985 (age 37)
Other namesGabriella[1]
OccupationModel, actress, showgirl
Years active2011–present
Adrian Torres
(m. 2015)
Modeling information
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
AgencyWilhelmina Models[3]

Carmen Carrera (born April 13, 1985)[4] is an American reality television personality, model, burlesque performer, and actress, known for appearing on the third season of the Logo reality television series RuPaul's Drag Race, as well as its spin-off series RuPaul's Drag U. Carrera is a transgender woman and a transgender rights activist.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Carrera was born in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.[6][7][8] In 2011, she appeared in the third season of the reality television competition show, RuPaul's Drag Race. Carrera is the second contestant in the history of the show (after season three castmate, Shangela) to rejoin the cast after being eliminated, and along with Raja, Manila Luzon, and Delta Work, was part of the clique known as the "Heathers", which took its name from the 1988 film, Heathers.[9] In episode 10, "RuPaul-a-Palooza", Carrera was eliminated for her performance while lip-syncing to a reggae-inspired cover of RuPaul's song "Superstar".[10] Judges Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, and Billy Brasfield voted to re-invite Carrera to the competition in episode 12, "Jocks in Frocks". Subsequently, Carrera was eliminated in that episode after styling a muscular male athlete in her own signature "nude"-style of drag.

The November 2011 issue of W featured a series of fictional products in realistically styled advertisements as part of an issue-wide art project. Carrera was featured in the series as the face for the fictional fragrance La Femme.[11] In 2011, Carrera, along with third season Drag Race contestants Manila Luzon and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, appeared in a television commercial for the travel-related website Orbitz.[12]

Carrera has also been active in AIDS awareness and activism. After being featured in a Gilead Sciences ad titled "Red Ribbon Runway" with fellow Drag Race co-stars Manila Luzon, Delta Work, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Alexis Mateo,[13] the dress she wore was auctioned by Logo in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Proceeds from the auction were donated to the National Association of People with AIDS.[14]

Carrera appeared as a "drag professor" in two episodes of the second season of RuPaul's Drag U. In the episode "80s Ladies", she gave singer Stacey Q a confidence-boosting makeover.[15] Carrera appeared in recording artist Lovari's music video for "Take My Pain Away".[16]

In an episode of the ABC news program Primetime: What Would You Do? that aired on May 4, 2012, Carrera portrayed the role of a transgender server working in a New Jersey diner. An actor playing a customer berates Carrera's character regarding his past experience of being served by her when she had presented as male, prompting other customers to come to Carrera's defense. This program also marked the first occasion in which Carrera publicly revealed herself to be transgender.[17]

On June 11, 2012, Carrera appeared in an episode of the TLC series Cake Boss, "Bar Mitzvah, Beads & Oh Baby!", in which she unknowingly participated in a prank involving "Cousin Anthony" Bellifemine, the cousin of "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro, who was set up with a date with Carrera. The punchline of the joke had Valastro tell Bellifemine that "... that's a man, baby!" Carrera, however, originally agreed to appear on the program to promote equality for the transgender community, not aware that she would be involved in a joke. Following the airing of the program, Carrera rebuked the situation on Facebook:[18]

By calling me a 'MAN' promotes ignorance and makes it ok to call transgender women, men. PEOPLE GET BULLIED, BEAT UP, AND KILLED FOR BEING TRANS BECAUSE OF THIS IGNORANCE! ... I made it VERY clear to the producers on how to use the correct wording before agreeing to filming this but instead they chose to poke fun and be disrespectful. That's not what Im [sic] about! ... I may not have been born a woman, but im [sic] NOT a man. I told them I wouldn't mind if they said 'born male' or 'was a male'. After taking this journey it's not fair at all to be lied to by the producers.[18][19]

Carrera with David LaChapelle at Life Ball 2014

Valastro subsequently apologized for the incident, saying that

I owe an apology to the entire LGBT community. It was absolutely not my intention to upset or offend her, or anyone within the community, and I was wrong to use the words I did. I am a supporter of gay rights and equality, and while I regret this situation and my choice of words, I am thankful to have received this feedback and the opportunity to learn from this mistake. I hope that Carmen accepts my sincere regrets.[18][20]

The following day, on June 12, 2012, TLC announced that "Bar Mitzvah, Beads & Oh Baby!" had been pulled from rotation indefinitely, with the network planning to re-edit the episode for future broadcasts.[21]

A petition started requesting that Carrera serve as a model during the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but despite media coverage and approximately 45,000 signatures the petition was unsuccessful.[22]

In March 2014, Carrera openly criticized RuPaul for use of the pejorative "she-male" on a RuPaul's Drag Race episode.[23] She continued to be critical of RuPaul when the issue arose again in 2015, after Logo pulled the "Female or SheMale"[24] game from DragRace, which prompted RuPaul to defend the use of the word "tranny".[25] Carrera's continued protests led to accusations by others that she was biting the hand that fed her.[25] Carrera responded that, while she appreciates the opportunity to compete on DragRace, she ultimately earned her status through her efforts and those of her agent, friends, fans, and family, and that she was not beholden to support RuPaul's use of transphobic language.[25]

Carrera was featured in the work of photographer David LaChapelle. She posed for a poster for Life Ball, which has two versions; each depicts her with different genitalia to represent the blurring of gender identity.[26]

In 2014, Carrera was included as part of the Advocate's annual "40 under 40" list[27] and made a cameo appearance on Jane the Virgin's premier episode.[28]

Also in 2014, Carrera was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of C☆NDY magazine along with thirteen other transgender women: Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Geena Rocero, Isis King, Gisele Alicea, Leyna Ramous, Dina Marie, Nina Poon, Juliana Huxtable, Niki M'nray, Pêche Di, Carmen Xtravaganza and Yasmine Petty.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Carrera was in a domestic partnership with Adrian Torres from 2009, but she announced in 2013 that they had separated.[30] By 2015, the two had reunited, receiving relationship counseling while being filmed for the Couples Therapy television show. They wed on June 10, 2015, during filming for the show, which aired as the season finale on December 9, 2015.[31]

Carrera had publicly identified as a gay man,[30] and continued to present as such during filming of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race, but began her gender transition when she concluded filming.[32] She is of Puerto Rican-Peruvian ancestry.[32][33]


  1. ^ "Carmen Carrera on Twitter: "Also, my legal first name was changed to Gabriella almost 2 years ago, which is the female version of Gabriel.... i know i have always had a close connection with God and one thing is for sure, he has spoken to me tonight and has lit up my path for the next month." / Twitter". May 14, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  2. ^ "Who is she? She's gorgeous!August 15, 2017". Carmen Carrera.
  3. ^ "Carmen Carrera - Wilhelmina". Wilhelmina Models. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "Happy Birthday to Me!!!!". April 13, 2019. Retrieved April 21, 2019. Non-loginwalled link at
  5. ^ "Carmen Carrera Is Ready to Be the First Transgender 'Angel'". Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  6. ^ "RuPaul's Drag U Season 2 – Meet the Cast". Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  7. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3 – Meet the Cast". Archived from the original on 2012-05-03. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  8. ^ New Jersey's own Carmen Carrera brings the heat to Season 3 of "RuPaul's Drag Race"! | Out in Jersey Archived 2012-04-21 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  9. ^ Madeliene Davis (March 1, 2011). "RuPaul's Drag Race Takes a Page Out of Heathers". Gawker. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Murray, Nick (Director) (March 21, 2011). RuPaul-a-Palooza (Television production). USA: Logo.
  11. ^ Ruth LaFerla (November 4, 2011). "Scratch the Ad and Sniff Out the Parody". The New York Times: Fashion and Style. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Orbitz Commercial – Rupaul's Drag Race Cast". YouTube. June 2, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  13. ^ Red Ribbon Runway. July 26, 2011.
  14. ^ Chris Spargo (December 1, 2011). "NOW: Red Ribbon Runway Auction". NewNowNext. Logo. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Spirko, Craig (Director) (August 29, 2011). 80s Ladies (Television production). USA: Logo.
  16. ^ "Carmen Carrera (before RuPaul's Drag Race) in Lovari - Take My Pain Away". February 25, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "Patrons Defend Transgender Waitress at N.J. Diner". ABC News. May 1, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Kevin Burra (June 12, 2012). "'Cake Boss' Features Carmen Carrera, Transgender Star Claims She Was Butt Of Transphobic Joke". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  19. ^ "Carmen Carrera". Facebook. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  20. ^ "Buddy Valastro - I've been trying to connect with Carmen ..." Facebook. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Matt Kane (June 13, 2012). "TLC Pulls Cake Boss Episode After Carmen Carrera and Her Supporters Speak Out". GLAAD. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  22. ^ John Gascot (March 28, 2011). "Carmen Carrera Will Audition for the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show". HuffPost. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  23. ^ Parker Marie Molloy; Daniel Reynolds; Sunnivie Brydum (April 17, 2014). "Is the T Word the New N Word?". The Advocate. Here Media. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  24. ^ Parker Marie Molloy (March 18, 2014). "RuPaul Stokes Anger With Use of Transphobic Slur". The Advocate. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c Parker Marie Molloy; Daniel Reynolds; Sunnivie Brydum (28 May 2014). "Carmen Carrera Becomes Lightning Rod in T-Word Debate". The Advocate. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  26. ^ Julien Sauvalle (May 12, 2014). "Carmen Carrera Naked On The Life Ball Poster Photographed by David LaChapelle". Out. Here Media. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  27. ^ Daniel Reynolds (August 20, 2014). "Carmen Carrera Is a Model for Trans Equality". The Advocate. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  28. ^ Sava, Oliver (May 12, 2015). "Jane The Virgin: "Chapter Twenty-Two"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  29. ^ Matthew Tharrett. "Laverne Cox, Carmen Carrera, Among 14 Trans Stars On "Candy" Magazine Cover". NewNowNext. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  30. ^ a b Chris Spargo (January 10, 2013). "Carmen Carrera Opens Up About Her Recent Separation: Exclusive Interview". NewNowNext. Logo. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  31. ^ Patrick Gomez (December 2, 2015). "RuPaul's Drag Race Alum Carmen Carrera Weds Partner of 10 Years on Couples Therapy". People. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  32. ^ a b Carmen Carrera (August 15, 2013). "Carmen Carrera: Show Girl". W. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  33. ^ John Gascot (March 28, 2011). "John Gascot: RuPaul's Drag Race: Carmen Carrera". HuffPost. Retrieved August 15, 2017.

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