First transgender Playboy model warns Caitlyn Jenner about surgery
Caroline "Tula" Cossey -- a Bond girl in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only -- made headlines in the early 1980s when it was revealed by a British tabloid that she was a transgender woman. Giving her first interview in 20 years to Playboy magazine, she has some advice for another public figure on a similar journey, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.
"It was a bit of a shock, to say the least," she said of Jenner's transition. "He's been such an incredible athlete and hero, with all those raging male hormones running through his body."
The model -- who was the first transgender woman to pose for the magazine in 1981 -- admitted that she didn't watch Diane Sawyer's interview with the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star when it aired live this past April, but she did view a few clips from the 20/20 special.
"The guy is obviously going through a lot of pain and suffering," she said. "I hope he finds his happiness, but it's going to be tough."
As for going under the knife, Cossey discourages it. "I hope he's not in a hurry to get surgery," she said. "I would hate for him to lose his three-piece suit and live to regret it."
Cossey goes on to explain the differences between a transsexual and a transvestite.
"Sawyer never asked him, 'Does wearing women's clothes turn you on sexually?' That's what somebody needs to establish," she said. "It's actually the first thing a psychiatrist asked me in counseling. That would be a fetish, and there's nothing wrong with having a fetish. Life's too short; enjoy it, whatever."
Cossey says she's heard "horror stories" of people going through surgery and "becoming miserable" afterwards.
"It's a very painful surgery. I would hate for him to lose that part of his body and go through transition, especially at this stage in his life, because he's no spring chicken," she said of the 65-year-old reality star. "He's in a public situation going through something so sensitive. I pray he gets the right counseling."
Cossey added, "It's not what's between your legs at the end of the day."
Vanity Fair contributing editor Buzz Bissinger sat down with ET to talk about his profile on Jenner, and recalled how her transformation into a woman was startlingly immediate after undergoing 10 hours of plastic surgery.
"I saw Bruce for about two, two and a half months. Bruce is over here, and then bing -- literally, overnight on March 15th -- he goes in for 10 hours of plastic surgery, and Bruce is gone," Bissinger explained. "Now, Bruce will be in him somewhere, but now it's Caitlyn Jenner, and it was spooky."
Jenner admitted to Bissinger that after her facial feminization surgery, she had a panic attack. "What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?" Jenner recalled her first thoughts after surgery.
After meeting with a counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center, she was assured that this reaction is common after such a procedure. "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,'" Jenner told VF. "You never dealt with yourself, and I don't want that to happen."