SOPHIA LAMAR IS ONE OF THE MOST

   TRANSCENDENT 

NIGHTLIFE PERSONALITIES. 

 

        MODEL, ACTOR, PERFORMANCE ARTIST AND CELEBUTANTE,


    SOPHIA HAS WORKED IN OVER 25 FILMS,

APPEARED ON NUMEROUS ALBUM COVERS

AND TAKEN FACE IN HIGH-PROFILE FASHION CAMPAIGNS. 

      WITH AN ADDICTIVE PRESENCE AND THE EMBODIMENT OF A MULTI FACETED FIXTURE,

                      IT IS A SAFE BET THAT SHE IS ON TO SOMETHING. 

 

interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


 

 

 

Beata Kanter: How do you navigate interactions with people of an obtuse nature?

 

Sophia Lamar: Well, somebody that’s very religious once said that me thinking I am a woman, I need to be institutionalized because I’m crazy. And I said, let me put it this way, you believe in God. I can put you in a mental hospital for believing in something that you’ve never seen. At least my womanhood is tangible. Believing in something nobody has ever seen, that makes you crazy.

 

BK: That is a Class A comeback.

 

I imagine its quite hard not to take a comment like that personally. To be offended by it.

 

SL: I never get offended by stupidity. I think you can throw anything at me because I don’t care. I don’t like compliments either. Compliments and insults are the same. You say right now, you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and it’s true according to you. You can say you’re the most disgusting human being I’ve ever seen in my life and it’s true according to you. I’m not going to do anything to change your mind one way or another.

 


 

 

 

"Nostalgia is like masturbation. Very private. If you feel nostalgia, go to the bathroom." 1/3

 

 

 


BK: How did you get into performance and nightlife and acting in general?

 

SL: I always loved acting. As a child… I would fantasize…

 

Growing up in Cuba in a communist society, my dream, my obsession, was just to escape. I wanted to get out. Finally when I made it, I was knocked out. And I say knocked out because … some people come from the Third World to America, but they come from a capitalist Third World to a capitalist First World. I came from the most backwards communist country, straight to the United States of America. I didn’t go to Mexico or Guatemala or to Peru. I went to the most powerful country in the world. And I was shocked. I had never seen an ATM machine in my life.

 

BK: Well… that really puts it into perspective.

 

SL: And on top of that it was the language. I didn’t know the language at all. So for two years it was a preparation for me. I was like a child, watching everything, learning from everybody. I lived in Miami for a short period, but I wanted to get out of there because I was still surrounded by Cubans. From Miami I went to Dallas, Texas.

 

I learned so many things there. I’m so glad that I lived there. Because if you come to New York, you’re not in America. Here you are exposed to everybody and everything. But Dallas, Texas embodies what America is all about. I lived there for two years and then I moved to San Francisco. There I made my first steps. I was part of this troupe called the Armpit Gallery. It was very popular. We did a festival called the Lard Festival. All the performances were lard related, it was genius. I started hosting there, giving parties, performing. I moved to New York, and then I spent three months in Paris, and then the rest…nightlife and everything else. My resume says how much do you have?

 


 

 

 

 

"There is always going to be a place in New York for young creative people.

Young artists will always find a hole that they can survive in.

Youth is very powerful, mentally and physically." 2/3

 

 

 


BK: Nightlife… the Club Kid era, what did you transition into after it all came to a screeching halt?

 

SL: When Club Kids were finished, it was a very very hard time for me. You get a reputation and nobody wants to hire you. But I did so many things, from music videos to roles in films. Then I met Ned Ambler. He was the new underworld. He had a mini factory.

 

We did a lot of things together, from cigarette commercials to music videos, films, I did 3 or 4 films with him. He was a photographer as well, and a painter.

 

BK: A true renaissance man.

 

SL: Yeah, very talented guy. He gave up and moved to Brazil. He’s teaching English there in some rural area.

 

Then Electroclash came around and I was a part of that. Around 2001. It was right around here; do you know Trash Bar? It used to be a place called Luxx. Chicks on Speed, A.R.E Weapons, Scissor Sisters, all those bands used to perform there. I was the host or MC or whatever. You pay me and I’ll do it.

 

Then I continued to work on films, commercials, photoshoots. Because I was already, you know…

 

BK: A name. The industry was open to you.

 

SL: Yes. I was in American Vogue in March of 1993, when transgender was still very much a taboo. It was very scandalous because the photograph was from the Paris collections, and somebody sold it to Vogue. Then the NY Post made a comment about how sneaky the picture was, and that’s when the editor discovered that I was a transsexual.

 

BK: They had no idea. I’m not surprised. Did you have an agent or a manager?

 

SL: When I first moved to New York somebody represented me for a while, and then I went to Wilhelmina for celebrity. I think I’m still in their files, even though they never call me.

 

Actually! Last season I walked Helmut Lang, and when they got in touch with me they said, you are exclusive. That means you can’t walk any other shows. I told them not to worry. Louis Vuitton wasn’t calling. And you know, Vogue Magazine said that was the most iconic cameo of the last season.

 

BK: Amazing!

 

SL: Next season it will be somebody else.

 

BK: Yes of course but it’s a BIG deal. There’s always going to be someone else next season.

 

SL: It’s nice. It boosts your ego a little bit and I have an ego. Come on.  But I also have an alter ego on the other side saying ‘Sophia, please.’

 

That’s why I always become friends with people who are hard on me. Because they keep me grounded. I like that. I’ve never had minions. I’ve never had friends that just agree with everything you say and do and kiss your ass all the time. Those people are not worth it to be friends with. I like people that challenge me and tell it like it is. Because I will tell it like it is.

 

BK: I guess in your world there’s a lot of groupies floating around.

 

SL: Yes of course but I never use them. I get so many emails with people asking ‘do you need an assistant?’ And I’m always like…for what??? And I know people who have assistants to bring them lunch, take their clothes to the dry cleaner. I can do that myself.

 

I think those people that are just willing to give you their time… I think there’s something wrong with them.

 

BK: Like for free??

 

SL: Yes, an ‘assistant’. It’s a service to just be around you.

 

BK: That is creepy.

 

SL: Yes, and I know so many people who have these kinds of minions.

 

BK: Aren’t they afraid they’ll get stabbed in the middle of the night?

 

SL: They’re not but they should be. Like that woman who shot Andy Warhol, Valerie Solanas, she was one of his groupies.

 


 

 

 

"Movies don’t have a sexuality. When you do a film it’s about the human condition,

it’s about life in general." 3/3

 

 

 


 

BK: Do you dream in color?

 

SL: Sometimes. In color and bilingually. The other night I woke up from a very intense dream, and it was completely in English, and then I went back to sleep and dreamed in Spanish. Very intense too, with different people. I recognized them.

 

BK: Do you put any stock in your dreams?

 

SL: When I see myself in my dreams, I never see myself as a woman, but I don’t see myself as a man either. I see myself as a little boy, this little 14 year old boy that I was. I only see myself as a woman in sex dreams. It’s really interesting to me, how I perceive my womanhood. I don’t know if this is too much information…

 

BK: Not at all.

 

SL: Sometimes when I’m having sex in a dream, my penis comes back. That’s a recurring dream.

Do you ever have recurring dreams? Dreams that come back to you over and over again?

 

BK: Honestly, no. Lots of variety and intensity but no recurring dreams.

 

SL: I always dream about an airplane raiding. Bombs. Constantly. I know why. I had that experience when I was a child. I have dreams of this tree, that I’ve never seen in real life, but it keeps coming up in my dreams. I have a dream that I open a coffee shop in a cemetery. On the second floor in a Havana graveyard. It’s the most beautiful cemetery in the world.

 

BK: Sophia, you could write a memoir about your dreams.

 

SL: I have lived such an intense life that sometimes I can’t remember if a memory came from a dream or if it really happened.


BK: This is a broad question, but on purpose: How has your gender transition influenced your life?

 

SL: I think because I was born a male, I see things from a different perspective. You know when people ask me, ‘are you a woman?’ I say, it depends. Sometimes I play one, or I think I’m playing one. I’m not a woman because I’ve never been a woman. To be a woman is more than just to have breasts and a vagina. It’s beyond that. Speaking for myself of course. As a matter of fact, I’m glad I was born a male. I’m glad that I had the experience that not too many people have. The opportunity to have. To live two lives.

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, visit her website at SOPHIA LAMAR WILL KILL YOU

SOPHIA LAMAR IS ONE OF THE MOST

   TRANSCENDENT 

NIGHTLIFE PERSONALITIES. 

 

        MODEL, ACTOR, PERFORMANCE ARTIST AND CELEBUTANTE,


    SOPHIA HAS WORKED IN OVER 25 FILMS,

APPEARED ON NUMEROUS ALBUM COVERS

AND TAKEN FACE IN HIGH-PROFILE FASHION CAMPAIGNS. 

      WITH AN ADDICTIVE PRESENCE AND THE EMBODIMENT OF A MULTI FACETED FIXTURE,

                      IT IS A SAFE BET THAT SHE IS ON TO SOMETHING. 

 

interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


 

 

 

Beata Kanter: How do you navigate interactions with people of an obtuse nature?

 

Sophia Lamar: Well, somebody that’s very religious once said that me thinking I am a woman, I need to be institutionalized because I’m crazy. And I said, let me put it this way, you believe in God. I can put you in a mental hospital for believing in something that you’ve never seen. At least my womanhood is tangible. Believing in something nobody has ever seen, that makes you crazy.

 

BK: That is a Class A comeback.

 

I imagine its quite hard not to take a comment like that personally. To be offended by it.

 

SL: I never get offended by stupidity. I think you can throw anything at me because I don’t care. I don’t like compliments either. Compliments and insults are the same. You say right now, you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and it’s true according to you. You can say you’re the most disgusting human being I’ve ever seen in my life and it’s true according to you. I’m not going to do anything to change your mind one way or another.

 


 

 

 

"Nostalgia is like masturbation. Very private. If you feel nostalgia, go to the bathroom." 1/3

 

 

 


BK: How did you get into performance and nightlife and acting in general?

 

SL: I always loved acting. As a child… I would fantasize…

 

Growing up in Cuba in a communist society, my dream, my obsession, was just to escape. I wanted to get out. Finally when I made it, I was knocked out. And I say knocked out because … some people come from the Third World to America, but they come from a capitalist Third World to a capitalist First World. I came from the most backwards communist country, straight to the United States of America. I didn’t go to Mexico or Guatemala or to Peru. I went to the most powerful country in the world. And I was shocked. I had never seen an ATM machine in my life.

 

BK: Well… that really puts it into perspective.

 

SL: And on top of that it was the language. I didn’t know the language at all. So for two years it was a preparation for me. I was like a child, watching everything, learning from everybody. I lived in Miami for a short period, but I wanted to get out of there because I was still surrounded by Cubans. From Miami I went to Dallas, Texas.

 

I learned so many things there. I’m so glad that I lived there. Because if you come to New York, you’re not in America. Here you are exposed to everybody and everything. But Dallas, Texas embodies what America is all about. I lived there for two years and then I moved to San Francisco. There I made my first steps. I was part of this troupe called the Armpit Gallery. It was very popular. We did a festival called the Lard Festival. All the performances were lard related, it was genius. I started hosting there, giving parties, performing. I moved to New York, and then I spent three months in Paris, and then the rest…nightlife and everything else. My resume says how much do you have?

 


 

 

 

 

"There is always going to be a place in New York for young creative people.

Young artists will always find a hole that they can survive in.

Youth is very powerful, mentally and physically." 2/3

 

 

 


BK: Nightlife… the Club Kid era, what did you transition into after it all came to a screeching halt?

 

SL: When Club Kids were finished, it was a very very hard time for me. You get a reputation and nobody wants to hire you. But I did so many things, from music videos to roles in films. Then I met Ned Ambler. He was the new underworld. He had a mini factory.

 

We did a lot of things together, from cigarette commercials to music videos, films, I did 3 or 4 films with him. He was a photographer as well, and a painter.

 

BK: A true renaissance man.

 

SL: Yeah, very talented guy. He gave up and moved to Brazil. He’s teaching English there in some rural area.

 

Then Electroclash came around and I was a part of that. Around 2001. It was right around here; do you know Trash Bar? It used to be a place called Luxx. Chicks on Speed, A.R.E Weapons, Scissor Sisters, all those bands used to perform there. I was the host or MC or whatever. You pay me and I’ll do it.

 

Then I continued to work on films, commercials, photoshoots. Because I was already, you know…

 

BK: A name. The industry was open to you.

 

SL: Yes. I was in American Vogue in March of 1993, when transgender was still very much a taboo. It was very scandalous because the photograph was from the Paris collections, and somebody sold it to Vogue. Then the NY Post made a comment about how sneaky the picture was, and that’s when the editor discovered that I was a transsexual.

 

BK: They had no idea. I’m not surprised. Did you have an agent or a manager?

 

SL: When I first moved to New York somebody represented me for a while, and then I went to Wilhelmina for celebrity. I think I’m still in their files, even though they never call me.

 

Actually! Last season I walked Helmut Lang, and when they got in touch with me they said, you are exclusive. That means you can’t walk any other shows. I told them not to worry. Louis Vuitton wasn’t calling. And you know, Vogue Magazine said that was the most iconic cameo of the last season.

 

BK: Amazing!

 

SL: Next season it will be somebody else.

 

BK: Yes of course but it’s a BIG deal. There’s always going to be someone else next season.

 

SL: It’s nice. It boosts your ego a little bit and I have an ego. Come on.  But I also have an alter ego on the other side saying ‘Sophia, please.’

 

That’s why I always become friends with people who are hard on me. Because they keep me grounded. I like that. I’ve never had minions. I’ve never had friends that just agree with everything you say and do and kiss your ass all the time. Those people are not worth it to be friends with. I like people that challenge me and tell it like it is. Because I will tell it like it is.

 

BK: I guess in your world there’s a lot of groupies floating around.

 

SL: Yes of course but I never use them. I get so many emails with people asking ‘do you need an assistant?’ And I’m always like…for what??? And I know people who have assistants to bring them lunch, take their clothes to the dry cleaner. I can do that myself.

 

I think those people that are just willing to give you their time… I think there’s something wrong with them.

 

BK: Like for free??

 

SL: Yes, an ‘assistant’. It’s a service to just be around you.

 

BK: That is creepy.

 

SL: Yes, and I know so many people who have these kinds of minions.

 

BK: Aren’t they afraid they’ll get stabbed in the middle of the night?

 

SL: They’re not but they should be. Like that woman who shot Andy Warhol, Valerie Solanas, she was one of his groupies.

 


 

 

 

"Movies don’t have a sexuality. When you do a film it’s about the human condition,

it’s about life in general." 3/3

 

 

 


 

BK: Do you dream in color?

 

SL: Sometimes. In color and bilingually. The other night I woke up from a very intense dream, and it was completely in English, and then I went back to sleep and dreamed in Spanish. Very intense too, with different people. I recognized them.

 

BK: Do you put any stock in your dreams?

 

SL: When I see myself in my dreams, I never see myself as a woman, but I don’t see myself as a man either. I see myself as a little boy, this little 14 year old boy that I was. I only see myself as a woman in sex dreams. It’s really interesting to me, how I perceive my womanhood. I don’t know if this is too much information…

 

BK: Not at all.

 

SL: Sometimes when I’m having sex in a dream, my penis comes back. That’s a recurring dream.

Do you ever have recurring dreams? Dreams that come back to you over and over again?

 

BK: Honestly, no. Lots of variety and intensity but no recurring dreams.

 

SL: I always dream about an airplane raiding. Bombs. Constantly. I know why. I had that experience when I was a child. I have dreams of this tree, that I’ve never seen in real life, but it keeps coming up in my dreams. I have a dream that I open a coffee shop in a cemetery. On the second floor in a Havana graveyard. It’s the most beautiful cemetery in the world.

 

BK: Sophia, you could write a memoir about your dreams.

 

SL: I have lived such an intense life that sometimes I can’t remember if a memory came from a dream or if it really happened.


BK: This is a broad question, but on purpose: How has your gender transition influenced your life?

 

SL: I think because I was born a male, I see things from a different perspective. You know when people ask me, ‘are you a woman?’ I say, it depends. Sometimes I play one, or I think I’m playing one. I’m not a woman because I’ve never been a woman. To be a woman is more than just to have breasts and a vagina. It’s beyond that. Speaking for myself of course. As a matter of fact, I’m glad I was born a male. I’m glad that I had the experience that not too many people have. The opportunity to have. To live two lives.

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, visit her website at SOPHIA LAMAR WILL KILL YOU