Candis Cayne has been tapped to play a multiple-episode character arc in the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
Cayne has been acting, dancing, and choreographing for decades, and is the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender character on primetime TV.
Read on to learn more about her and her role on this season of Grey’s Anatomy.
1. Her Multiple-Episode Arc Will Air Later This Season
Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long before seeing Cayne again on the small screen. Her character will make her entrance this season on the show.
The news comes just weeks after fans met Dr. Casey Parker, played by out trans actor Alex Blue Davis. After successfully rewiring the hospital’s computer system at Grey Sloan Memorial, Parker informed Dr. Bailey he was a “proud trans man”. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “It marked an intentional change in storytelling in which being trans wasn’t the most important part of Davis’ character.” Speaking to THR, Davis admitted he was so moved that he cried during the table read for the episode. “I’ve been waiting for a moment like this on TV my whole life,” he explained.
Apart from acting, Cayne has been a trailblazer in the world of social media apps. In 2015, she became the global creative director for the platform MOOVZ, which is an app that “includes the LGTBQ community and provides a safe place to go and communicate with each other.” In her interview with People, Cayne said, “It has been so important for me to see the T represented so prominently. There are not a lot of apps that girls like me can go to and feel like we are a part of the community, so I’m so glad we have a place for that now.”
2. Her Character Will Be Receiving ‘Groundbreaking’ Vaginoplasty Surgery
THR reports that Cayne’s character is inspired “by a story that the writers on Grey’s Anatomy read about. Hayley Anthony, a trans woman who helped Jess Ting, the director of surgery at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai, create a groundbreaking new procedure for vaginoplasty surgeries.”
In an interview, showrunner Krista Vernoff said, “[The surgery] revolutionizes the making of a vagina and we thought that was a really cool story and Candis is playing a character inspired by something we read.”
In 2016, according to Wired, Hayley Anthony became one of the first people in the world to “have a piece of tissue incised from the cavity of her abdomen and turned into a vagina.” The idea for the surgery came from Anthony, herself. It was so revolutionary that at the time the Wired article was published, Dr. Ting (who performed the surgery) had given 22 trans women the operation in just six months.
3. Cayne Has Appeared in ‘Transparent’ and ‘I Am Cait’
In 2007, Cayne became the first actress to play a recurring trans character on the ABC show Dirty Sexy Money.
In a 2015 Huffington Post interview, Cayne was asked if, when she was first cast in Dirty Sexy Money, she had any sense of the kind of change that would happen for trans people in Hollywood. Cayne said, “I would go on auditions even after Dirty Sexy, and people didn’t know where to put the trans woman; they were still working on their acceptance of it. In the past seven years or so, the opportunities have really grown by leaps and bounds. This pilot season I went to so many auditions for pretty great roles for trans characters, which has never happened before. So it has changed a lot – the world is definitely a different place.”
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On I Am Cait, Cayne is a loyal friend to Caitlyn Jenner, and accompanies her to San Francisco to meet with gay and transgender activists.
4. She Is Known for Her Performances in NYC Nightclubs Since the 1990s
While she rose to fame on the small screen, Candis was well-known in the 1990s for her impressive performances and choreographed routines in NYC’s drag bars. She performed alongside drag queens like Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine.
The Huffington Post writes, “Her renowned dance numbers, which sometimes involved Candis taking to the streets of New York City and dancing on the hood of taxis, gave her massive credibility as a dancer and choreographer.”
During her early years in NYC, Cayne was a featured performer at NYC’s “Boy Bar”, and consistently appeared in Wigstock, an annual drag festival in the East Village. In 1995, she appeared in the documentary film Wigstock: The Movie, as well as the film Stonewall.
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In 1996, she continued to explore the world of acting in the film Always Something Better (aka Never Look Back). One year later, she appeared in a documentary about drag on HBO.
5. She Has a Fraternal Twin Brother
Cayne was born Brendan McDaniel in 1971, in Maui Hawaii. Her parents both taught at Waldorf School. Cayne has a fraternal twin brother, Dylan, who, according to the Daily Mail, was a star football player and went on to win a college football scholarship.
Candis explains that she was just 7 when she began to have an “idea” she should have been born female. She says, “My parents had taken me and my twin brother to our twin cousins to play with them and there was Tyler and Tonya, and I remember thinking, ‘Why am I not like Tonya? It doesn’t make sense to me.’”
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