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(CNN) — “A little added light!”

It’s an aboriginal morning photo shoot for Glamour Annual UK. There’s a blast alfresco the window of Jack Studios in New York as the aggregation sets up in a flurry: Photographers anxiously acclimatize the lighting, architecture and beard artists align their compensation of brushes and stylists adhere up racks aloft racks of accustomed names — Ralph Lauren, DSquared2, Zac Posen, Helmut Lang, Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood.

They’re all actuality for one person.

“Hi, I’m Carmen.”

The woman in an backward atramentous catchbasin top, jeans, simple ponytail and bandage earrings (a basic she would afterwards acclaim to growing up in New Jersey) introduces herself to the aggregation — but everybody in the allowance already knows who she is.

See all of CNN Living’s New York Appearance Week coverage

“People apperceive me from a lot of places,” she tells CNN afterwards at her Perth Amboy, New Jersey, home. “Google-dot-com Carmen Carrera!” she laughs.

Carrera aboriginal bent a glimpse of the spotlight on the third division of the band admired and gif-ready absoluteness appearance “RuPaul’s Annoyance Race.” The day afterwards she accomplished the show, she absitively to activate her alteration into the Carmen Carrera we apperceive today — a appreciative transgender appearance personality.

Carmen Carrera gets her beard done for a photo shoot with Glamour Annual UK..

Brandon Ancil/CNN

Carrera says she has accepted aback she was in kindergarten. She went to a Catholic academy and had a collection on a adolescent classmate, Anthony; she would get in agitation for active up to him and kissing him on the audacity every day.

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“I knew that it wasn’t me, as a boy accepting a collection on a boy. It was me, absent to be a appealing girl, accepting a collection on a boy,” she says. Afterwards a parent-teacher conference, she was transferred to a accessible academy and put two and two together: She shouldn’t accurate her delicacy alfresco the home.

“My parents, acknowledge God, never affected me to act any added affectionate of way but myself, so I was absolutely lucky,” she says. “But aback I was in academy or alfresco the house, it was consistently an act, it was consistently a camouflage — and I grew up with a lot of frustration.”

At 18, she got her aboriginal car and larboard some of that annoyance in the rearview mirror. She collection to New York and became absorbed in the annoyance club scene, area she began to “live advisedly and happily.”

Then came “Drag Race.” Aback actualization on the show, Carrera has acquired added than 66,000 followers on Twitter, 90,000 on Instagram and 215,000 on Facebook.

Carrera became a allotment of the boilerplate media chat aback she accustomed added than 46,000 signatures on a Change.org address to become Victoria’s Secret’s aboriginal transgender “angel.” The address acquired a cogent bulk of absorption alone a few canicule afore the 2013 appearance appearance was set to band in November, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. (The aggregation has not responded to the petition.)

Victoria’s Secret petitioned to appoint aboriginal transgender model

New York Appearance Week: On the runway

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Even so, she says, the abutment from admirers has motivated her to try out for the over-the-top lingerie appearance in 2014.

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“It’s affectionate of like validation,” she says. “No amount how afraid I ability be, no amount how un-pretty I ability feel, there are bodies out there who attending to me to be able and to accumulate activity and to accumulate proving bodies wrong.”

Carrera’s not the aboriginal transgender archetypal — and absolutely not the aftermost — but in the appearance world, area acid bend androgyny is generally en vogue, the industry has been criticized for its dawdling to embrace the transgender sector, altered anatomy shapes and assortment overall.

Naomi Campbell, Iman alarm for an end to aerodrome racism

There has been some progress. Legendary appearance columnist Bruce Weber captured 17 transgender models — abounding of them nonprofessionals — for affluence banker Barneys New York’s latest archive and annual campaign.

High-profile transgender association members, such as extra Laverne Cox and biographer Janet Mock, are additionally speaking added aboveboard about their adventures abyssal a apple that can be apprenticed and alike adverse about these issues.

What not to say to a transgender person

In an autobiographical article in W Magazine, Carrera said: “I appetite to leave article abaft so bodies can attending aback one day and say, ‘Wow, bethink aback transpeople were discriminated adjoin the most? This actuality was like, Screw everybody! I’m activity to array about half-naked and be superproud, because that’s how anybody should be!’ “

Which leads her to today on set: She’s represented by Elite Archetypal Management, one of the world’s arch archetypal agencies. She’s an anarchistic choice, not alone because of her gender: She’s 28 amidst a portfolio of girls in their backward adolescence to aboriginal 20s, and she’s absolutely a bit curvier than her aerodrome counterparts. She’s additionally a stepmother to her calm partner’s 9-year-old daughter.

“…Nor winter storm can’t stop me baby,” she mouths forth to Diana Ross as the architecture artisan finishes a absolutely beginning and accustomed look.

Carrera poses in a DSquared2 ensemble.

Brandon Ancil/CNN

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Robin Page is the stylist analogous the looks. While abounding designers beatific pieces fit for Carrera’s caricatural persona, Page went for added chastened offerings, like a Ralph Lauren authentic white jumpsuit or a Dsquared2 A-line, knee-length skirt.

“I capital you to be able to see her spirit, and her face and her eyes, as against to aloof body, aloof big hair, aloof bags of makeup,” she says. “We capital to affectionate of accomplish aggregate actual dispersed and actual simple, aloof to get the aspect of her.”

“Wow, I attending like a grown-up,” Carrera says. “I’m acclimated to cutting so abundant added makeup.”

For the aing six hours, Carrera will affectation for anatomy afterwards frame, every now and again endlessly to change apparel and alleviate up her facial anatomy afterwards captivation a pose.

There’s a mirror abaft the columnist that she occasionally glances in to try out a new pose, about in awe of what’s attractive aback at her.

“When you go through a alteration like this, your body, your face is consistently changing. So, in an industry area you’re actuality paid to advertise either a artefact or booty a photo, you apperceive you accept to apprentice your angles,” she says.

What about the catechism that every woman dreads: Do you anticipate you’re pretty?

“I’m actual blessed with myself,” she says. “It’s not alike about actuality appealing or actuality beautiful, it’s aloof that I’m actual blessed with myself.”

“And I can’t change, alike if I tried,” Carrera sings forth to Mary Lambert while arresting a pose.

“All of the designers were cool aflame we were cutting her. They flew in accouterment for her,” says Page, who added that she hopes the shoot in an all-embracing bright legitimizes Carrera’s career above the transgender realm.

Carrera wants that akin of success, too. She says she looks up to the supermodels of the ’90s: the Christy Turlingtons, Naomi Campbells and Linda Evangelistas. The ones who were on a first-name base with the world.

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Casting the outcast at Appearance Week

“I appetite to be like those girls,” she says. “I don’t appetite to aloof be labeled as a transgender model. …Why do I accept to be separated? It’s the clay industry — one industry.”

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