It would be hard to make a bigger splash than debuting your story on the cover of a magazine with nearly seven million readers.
And that’s exactly how Caitlyn Jenner — the athlete and reality TV star formerly known as Bruce Jenner — chose to reveal her glamorous new self.
Getting to know someone new
Caitlyn Jenner met the world in a strapless white satin merry widow corset in a photograph by Annie Leibovitz on the July 2015 cover of Vanity Fair.
While years of reality TV show appearances have shown that she appreciates attention, Caitlyn is clear that being transgender is in no way a simple publicity stunt.
Countering such criticism, she tells the magazine, “I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people. If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that.”
Despite the fact that she’s in the entertainment business, “You don’t go out and change your gender for a television show. Okay, it ain’t happening. I don’t care who you are.”
In the VF interview, Jenner explained to ‘Friday Night Lights’ author Buzz Bissinger, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”
Not running away any more
In a video accompanying the magazine cover reveal, 65-year-old Caitlyn discusses why she’s sharing her story now.
“I was probably at the [1976 Summer Olympic] games because I was running away from a lot of things. [I am] very, very proud of the accomplishment. I don’t want to diminish that accomplishment. The last few days of doing this shoot was about my life and who I am as a person,” she says.
On Facebook, she posted, “Everybody has challenges in dealing with life. I’m so happy after such a long struggle and finally living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. It feels so good. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.” On her new Twitter account, a similar message appeared:
I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015
Courage and freedom from secrets
Later in the day, ESPN confirmed that Caitlyn Jenner will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2015 ESPY awards. The ESPY site notes, “Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”
Of those beliefs, Caitlyn is very clear: This is about being true to herself.
“It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you a ‘That a boy, Bruce’ pat on the back, okay? This is about your life,” she says.
“Bruce always had to tell a lie. He was always living that lie. Every day he always had a secret, from morning til night. Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets. As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I’m free.”
Shortly after she tweeted about the new VF cover, her daughter Kendall Jenner wrote, “be free now pretty bird.”