Givenchy muse and model Lea T has revealed she used to wish she was gay instead of transgender.
The 28-year-old was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey last week and explained how she had come to accept she was born in the wrong body.
She said: “It’s really difficult because you fight with all the world. You fight with your family. You fight with yourself too. You have to change everything in yourself.
“When you start the hormones, it’s really, really hard. It’s not a game. Your body starts to change in a short time.
“The skin is changed a lot. The cheek bones grow. The hair, it becomes super long. The hips become bigger.
“Of course physically, this operation is a big operation. But at the same time, I think it’s mental too. To think like: ‘Wow, I cut part of my body’.”
Lea, whose father is former footballer Toninho Cerezo, began transition several years ago and is preparing for her final surgery.
“I was hoping I was gay,” she said. “Because, for my family, it would be less painful. And then I could… have a normal life.
“I wish I could accept my body like men. It would be much easier for me if I could be a straight guy and have a girlfriend, family and daughters, married, all this normal life.
“But it’s something in your brain – born in the wrong body.”
Her parents were more accepting that she anticipated, she said. Lea said her mother, a devout Catholic, had struggled more to accept her but was supportive.
“Everybody was thinking it would be a big shock, but actually, my father surprised me because [he] took it so naturally,” she recalled.
“He was like: ‘If you’re a boy, if you’re a woman, if you want to be a dog, whatever you want to be, I’m going to love you for what you are’.
“He saw me in the [Alexandre Herchcovitch] show, and he said: ‘Now I can die happy because I’m so proud of her’.”