Friday, December 5, 2014

Trans* Faces #6 Riley Knoxx: A woman...ready to rule the world!

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

Is it Beyoncé or is it Riley Knoxx? If you know of Beyoncé's #1 impersonator in the country then you are in the loop but if you are unaware of those social media tags from tumblr , instagram, google plus, YouTube etc., are Riley Knoxx not Beyoncé and some of those Beyoncé tags are not her but Riley Knoxx, then no worries you are among the many people online throughout social media that is all a buzz about the other Beyoncé, even Beyoncé herself knows of her stand in. In fact a lot within the entertainment to political worlds have been seen at one of Riley Knoxx's shows.

What you may not know is that the other Beyoncé , Riley Knoxx, is more like her idol than you may realize. A strong accomplished Transwoman, she like many including her idol hails from the south with humble beginnings to rise to fame and yet a strong force in their communities grass root efforts. Recently Riley Knoxx announced the long awaited 2015 calendar of America's #1 Beyoncé impersonator and to announce that it is she that has twitter going crazy as to how Beyoncé is in LA and performing on the east coast at the same time.

With this release she is paying it forward by being that hand that reaches to the trans youth of our culture that at times may not see hope or a life beyond the city street corners. Some proceeds of the sale of the calendar Riley Knoxx 2015 are going to local grass roots organizations in and around D.C.

 Like many Transwomen  and particularly Transwomen of color who know the harsh realities of being a double often triple minority and the fight that has come and the fight yet to come. You will find as I have always known the beautiful soul behind the face, that Riley Knoxx is more than a pretty face, she is a woman of substance, ready to lend a hand and be a champion within her community, to promote healthy living and equality for those not often given a chance.
This is the first Trans faces interview where the quest is also featured among TMP's 20 most influential Transpeople and has been selected, due in part to her hard work at bringing more attention to the trans youth of the Greater D.C. area, as TMP's Month of December's Role Model on several TMP social network pages.
Click here to order Calendar

TMP: What's the most important thing, in beauty and make up, that's a must for Reilly Knox?

 Great skin is most important to me. It's a great foundation to start with, before and after putting on makeup I try to take care of my skin. I absolutely never sleep in makeup. I always believed that the way you take care of your skin now determines the skin you will inherit when you get older.

TMP: Your known nationally as the best Beyoncé impersonator;  I have to ask...have you met her?

RK:  I've actually met Beyoncé three times. She was amazingly beautiful and extremely gracious . She has seen my work online and I'm friends with her stylist Ty who shows her things that I've done. Also fans constantly tagged her on Instagram when they see pictures/video of me and her likeness. It's an absolute honor to have the blessing of the person that I impersonate. But I think I would absolutely FAINT if  she actually came to a show.

TMP: What's your favorite Beyoncé CD of all time?

RK:  I love the album "B Day" but I must say the last album was extremely different than anything she's ever done.  You can really see the growth in her work and it's one of those CDs that you don't have to skip any of the songs because they're all really great. Also,  I love having a video for every song because I think that music is more than just sound now, it's also becoming a visual expression. So I think she nailed this last album.

TMP: How much of a Beyoncé fan are you and what has she, as your role model meant to you?

RK:   I'm a huge fan! I think I would have to be to emulate her the way that I do. I've studied her mannerisms, the way she walks, the looks in her eyes and her face. However,  I'm not someone who has Beyoncé posters all over my house. You wouldn't typically hear a Beyoncé album playing from the hallway of my apartment unless, I'm studying a new album that just came out and trying to learn all the songs. I know just about every single ad lib, every song and every live recording.
I've learned a lot about work ethic through Beyoncé. She's the hardest working woman in show business and in order to impersonate her, I have to keep up. I always say she keeps me on my toes, and keeps me working hard, but she also keeps me relevant. I also love the way she is off stage. I've learned a lot about being charitable from her about paying it forward. And the way she is so gracious with her fans inspires me to be the same with my fans.

TMP:  You've lived in the Greater DC area for some time, I'm I correct ? Also, you lived in South were raised there. Tell our TMP readers...what was life like as the young girl hiding behind the eyes?

RK:  I remember what it was like to be scared as a child, and to feel like no one understood me, and nobody was like me. That was the loneliest feeling in the world .I had no role models to look up to. I had one second cousin who is the first and only person I knew that was trans but,  I was not allowed to talk to her. And that at times made my childhood miserable. It's hard for someone when you don't see anyone like you to look up to. As a result I have blocked a lot of my childhood from my memory psychologically. I don't really think about it a lot. And I rarely speak about it. That place represents so much pain for me. Our girls today have such an advantage because there are people on TV and in media that are doing amazing positive things that are transgender and the world is starting to open up and it's so beautiful to be and see  it happening right in front of my eyes.

TMP: As your role now in the DC area, being a champion for the Trans Youth. What lesson of your childhood in Hartsville, S.C., plays in you being so  passionate about your work with youth?

RK: CHAMPION. I like that word lol. I just feel like it's my duty as someone who has a voice in this community to be more than just a pretty face. The first 14 years of my career were dedicated to getting my name out there and how to top myself with every performance and to really get the Riley Knoxx name out there. But its like, now that I have a voice and I've got everybody's attention what do I really have to say? I feel blessed to have this platform. A platform that I was not always comfortable having. you don't get to choose being a role model it chooses you. So I live my life everyday with the hopes of being  inspirational and worthy of the praise that people give me.
click here to order calendar

TMP: Your 2015 calendar titled  Reilly Knox is playing  a major role in the youth organizations. How is your calendar doing that?

RK:  Well I chose to give part of the proceeds from my calendar to benefit transgender youth. Living in Washington DC, there is a heavy population of transgender girls and I constantly have the younger girls coming up to me saying how much I inspire them and how much they love me and how much they want to be like me. So I felt compelled to give back to the community that has made my career so amazing. And I honestly just believe that they are the face of the future. I want to make sure that they don't have to be on the corner selling their body. That they are viewed as more than just a novelty, and that they feel empowered to be the best member of society they can be.

TMP: Any adult trans person living their truth today is a leader. How important it is of us now  to strengthen the  next gendernation?  

RK:  I think it is  extremely important that we educate the younger girls on the history of transgender women so they feel empowered to go forward in the future and carry on the legacy. And I honestly  believe that they are the face of the future. I want to make sure that they don't have to be on the corner selling their body and that they feel empowered to be the best member of society they can be. But I also want them to know we stand on the shoulders of GIANTS! All the girls that had to literally fight in the streets just so we can now walk around the city without being bothered today.

TMP: This is the first time I've had this pleasure; your on TransMusePlanet's annual Top 20 Most Influential Trans People of 2014 and for the first time I get to ask, how does it really feel to be named lol?

RK:  It's an amazing honor! I didn't really expect it. But I'm really grateful. It's nice to be recognized for all the hard work and to know that it's being noticed but I also feel like I have so much more to do. I'm just one of the many faces behind the movement. I haven't given the world the best of me yet.  The best is yet to come!!

TMP: I like to ask this one question of everyone who has come to share themselves with TMP. If you had one chance to tell the world and knew everyone would hear you at once, what would you like them to know about Reilly Knoxx?

RK: If I could tell the world anything about Riley Knoxx and I knew the whole world was listening, I would want them to know that I'm more than just a face that stands in front of you. I want to leave my mark on the world as an activist, as a woman and constantly working to make the world a better place for everyone not just trans women. I hope that I die working towards something great.

I was very pleased to chat with Riley Knoxx and to share that TMP readers and fans had nominated her as one of our communities most influential sisters and brothers. For too long the world of Transgender people in show business, the arts and political advocacy have not always worked in sync. TMP came two years ago when the hierarchy of Trans society was still trying to dictate and divide our community. Thru TMP I've been determined then and now to shatter those self imposed limitations on our people. TMP believes in the Duality and the Unity of the greatest people on earth and we have met the latest that will definitely be making her mark known in 2015.

Follow Riley Knoxx





Trans Faces #5: Marky; Transgenderation with Carolina Pride

Trans Faces #4 A Step into Teko's World

Trans* Faces #3: Veri Unique; she came..she her own unique way

Trans* Faces #2: Ryan Cassata: One World...One Love...One Community
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