Carmen Carrera at New York Fashion Week in September 2011
April 13, 1985
Elmwood Park, New Jersey
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Other names||Carmen Roman|
|Occupation||Model, actress, showgirl|
|Spouse(s)||Adrian Torres (m. 2015)|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
Carmen Roman (born Christopher Roman; April 13, 1985), better known by her stage name Carmen Carrera, 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. Although she presented as male during the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race, on May 1, 2012, ABC News reported that Carrera is a transgender woman.
Life and career
Carrera was born in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. 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 "Heathers", which took its name from the 1988 film, Heathers. In episode 10, "RuPaul-a-Palooza", Carrera was eliminated for her performance while lip-synching to a reggae-inspired cover of RuPaul's song "Superstar." 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. 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.
Carrera has also been active in AIDS awareness and activism. After being featured in a Gilead Sciences ad entitled "Red Ribbon Runway" with fellow Drag Race co-stars Manila Luzon, Delta Work, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Alexis Mateo, 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.
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. Carrera appeared in recording artist Lovari's music video Take My Pain Away.
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.
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 complained about the situation on Facebook:
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.
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." The following day, on June 12, 2012, TLC announced that "Bar Mitzvah, Beads & Oh Baby!" has been pulled from rotation indefinitely; the network has plans to re-edit the episode for future broadcast.
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.
In March 2014, Carrera openly criticized RuPaul for use of the pejorative "she-male" on a RuPaul's Drag Race episode. She continued to be critical of RuPaul when the issue arose again in 2015, after Logo pulled the "Female or SheMale" game from DragRace, which prompted RuPaul to defend the use of the word "tranny". Carrera's continued protests led to accusations by others that she was biting the hand that fed her. 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.
Carrera was featured in the work of photographer David LaChapelle. She posed for a poster for Life Ball, depicted with both male and female genitalia to represent the blurring of gender identity.
Also in 2014, Carrera was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of C☆NDY magazine along with 13 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.
Carrera was in a domestic partnership with Adrian Torres since 2009, but she announced in 2013 that they had separated. In 2015, the two were together, 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.
Carrera had identified as a gay man, and continued to present as such during filming of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race, but began to gender transition when she concluded filming. She is of Puerto Rican-Peruvian ancestry.
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