There is no better time than now to keep the spotlight on transgender women, especially transgender women of color.
That’s where Transcendent comes into play.
There’s LA, the baby of the group, who is just starting her transition; Bionka, who also runs weekly support groups for transgender women of color; Nya, the seductress on the Red Dragon runway; Bambiana, the wild-child whiskey-lover who runs a successful hair salon business; and Xristina, a well-known advocate for transgender rights who will soon be launching a YouTube series to cover everything from hair tips to make-up tutorials to BDSM–which, by the way, stands for “Body, Diet, Spirit/Soul, Mind-healing.”
FourTwoNine recently sat down with the cast of Transcendent to discuss AsiaSF, I Am Cait, and what you can catch them performing on the Red Dragon runway.
dot429: What makes AsiaSF so special?
Bambiana: AsiaSF provides a stage for me to be admired; it feels good to find a place in my world where I am not being judged.
Xristina: AsiaSF is spectacular! Not only do you experience our Asian-Fusion cuisine, but you’ll be enticed by the marvels of the Ladies of AsiaSF. We not only double in staff as hostess and waitresses, but we also perform on what is known as the Red Dragon runway. AsiaSF has been one of the first places I called home. They employ talented trans women; we feel safe and welcomed and the audience is, more often than not, receptive towards us. We celebrate human diversity. Everyone has a great time.
dot429: What can viewers expect on Transcendent?
Bionka: It will bring you life! It focuses on the different lives of five proud transgender women and how we face our challenges and struggles individually and together. Hopefully viewers are able to take from the show that being themselves is all that matters.
Nya: A deeper look into the world of being a transgender cabaret performer. Also our lives in and out of AsiaSF. It will definitely be educational but also sexy and quite funny as well.
dot429: What’s going to set apart Transcendent from I Am Cait?
LA: I Am Cait features Caitlyn Jenner and people already knew who she is and how she came to be. But Transcendent showcases five different individuals, proud transgender women who are at different stages of their transition.
Bionka: I believe the diversity of our cast and all of our stories will keep viewers engaged and set us apart. We have five beautiful women to watch and follow! Wouldn’t you want to watch?
Nya: I Am Cait is groundbreaking for the trans community. It shows all the struggles Caitlyn has to face being a public figure and transitioning with the world front row and center. Other than LA, the cast of Transcendent have been living our truths for quite some time now. We are all trans women of color and have had different journeys and struggles and our stories are important for the world to see. Not to mention, we’re all show girls, so we have the cabaret aspect to our show as well.
Xristina: Aside from presenting our lives for the very first time? (Laughs) What sets us apart is that none of us are celebrities, we are opening our lives for the first time. The ladies of AsiaSF are diverse, not only in our ethnicity, but also in culture, age, life experiences, and in our stages of transition. Our show is a real-life reflection of living freely. It isn’t scripted—what you see is what you get. Viewers will get the raw, straight to the core, representation of what it is being transgender.
Overall, all this exposure with all of the transgender shows helps us unite as one in creating awareness. I hope people get to see that we are just like everyone else. We have insecurities just like everyone else and we do bleed the same color of blood like everyone else because we are human.
dot429: What are your favorite songs to perform on the Red Dragon runway?
Bionka: My favorite song to perform would have to be my number, “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj, and our group number “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony.
Nya: “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry. I love how it messes with people’s minds and throws people off about any assumptions they have about who trans people are attracted to.
Bambiana: With a little whiskey, I can perform any song!
Xristina: I am a lyrical performer. I tend to go for the strong, powerful vocals, i.e.: Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey. My friends have compared me to Alicia Keys, to which I’d say, I may resemble her in some ways, but honey child in no way can I sing like her! I can’t even hold a tune, but I can surely lip-sync my little heart out!
dot429: Any advice to aspiring Ladies of AsiaSF?
Bionka: You better bring it! AsiaSF is no cakewalk, we are hardworking ladies and AsiaSF is definitely a real job.
Nya: Be confident in yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and learn to work with them. Also realize that we are also servers and not only performers.
Bambiana: For seventeen years AsiaSF has been a full serving, running restaurant, as well as a cabaret show providing jobs for the trans community. Anyone can apply…I would say the most difficult part about the job is dealing with the very different personalities of AsiaSF. We really are a dysfunctional family.
Transcendent is set to premiere September 30 at 11:30 pm on Fuse, followed by the fourth season of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. Watch the trailer for Transcendent here.