CASSANDRA CASS: I’ve always been an entertainer. I’ve always loved making people smile or
wearing a fancy costume or being creative. CASSANDRA CASS: And here it is, Marilyn Monroe, the most iconic blonde in Hollywood. Until
me of course. CASSANDRA CASS: I love you, Marilyn. COMM: Cassandra Cass is a burlesque performer bringing glamour and sass to stages across LA. CASSANDRA CASS: Where are you guys from? You’re from Florida? I got my boobs in Florida. This
is what a bad childhood does to someone. CASSANDRA CASS: How you doing boys?
MAN: Why that voice? CASSANDRA CASS: Who cares, baby? I’m beautiful. COMM: But her Hollywood lifestyle is a far cry from her Iowa beginnings. CASSANDRA CASS: I’m originally from a family of four brothers and a single dad. My dad
was a basketball coach and my brothers were all in football, track and field and my dad,
you know, was very very much against anything that was feminine. CASSANDRA CASS: I’ve always known that I should be Cassandra. There is no question.
I was hyper feminine as a little boy. I mean it was just a no brainer, so I told my dad,
I said, “Dad, I really feel like I want to be a woman” and he lowered his paper
and he looked up at me and he said, “Who is going to want you? Why would anybody want
to be with something like that? And you’re going to be the ugliest woman.” And it
devastated me, and I set on a journey where I was going to prove him wrong. COMM: After opening up about her desire to transition, her family disowned her and she moved to Florida to start her new life as Cassandra. CASSANDRA CASS: The woman who sits before you now has spent over, you know, $250,000
on her transition. We’re talking many many surgeries. I didn’t want to be an ugly woman.
I didn’t want to be a basic simple woman. CASSANDRA CASS: I wanted to be the type of girl who would, you know, walk into a room
and people would notice. The only thing I haven’t had done is my heart. I had my nose
done, my cheeks done, my lips done, my teeth done, my jaw done, my Adam’s apple done,
my hips done, my booty done, my boobs done. Do my boobs look good? Do they look shimmery?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. CASSANDRA CASS: Okay. CASSANDRA CASS: Oh, and I now have an inny instead of an outy or to make it more blunt,
I have a vajayjay. CASSANDRA CASS: Faster, faster, all those haters can kiss my ass. I think the hardest
thing for me has been getting people just to accept me just as me. When I use the word,
I’m transgender, nine times out of ten, it’s not a positive reaction. I believe
labels are for products, not for people, and I don’t believe putting people in categories
is healthy. LADY: Oh! Hi.
CASSANDRA CASS: Oh my god. Hi, Freida. CASSANDRA CASS: Well, I think of myself Cassandra as Cassandra with just some bitchin’ clothes,
you know, someone who I aspire to be, iconic. CASSANDRA CASS: People really have a lack of respect for people such as myself and think
that It’s okay to verbally or even physically abuse us or kill us, and the only thing I
can say is, “Honey, if you come for me, you better be prepared. Because I am not a
pushover.” The advice I would give to other trans people who are just starting out, you
got to be tough. It’s a tough, tough life. The best thing I can tell them is to surround
yourself with people who understand you for you. CASSANDRA CASS: What do I like about burlesque? I love the fantasy. I can be anything I want
to be, I can be a blonde, I can be a brunette, I can be Jessica Rabbit, you’re on a stage
and there is like a level of glamour and kind of like untouchability about it. I just thought it makes me happy, you know, it’s like seeing a rainbow. CASSANDRA CASS: I obviously want like happiness in my own personal life, you know. I want
the Hollywood dream, you know, I want to be a star, I mean I am a star, I just want to
be bigger and better.