Amanda Lepore Recalls Her Romantic First Meeting With David LaChapelle

In an excerpt from her upcoming memoir, "Doll Parts," the trans icon explains how she became a photographer's muse.

You may think you’ve already seen every inch of Amanda Lepore, but the trans icon will bare all in a new memoir, Doll Parts, out April 18.

Paper recently shared an exclusive Doll Parts excerpt in which the impossibly gorgeous NYC nightlife denizen shares how she first got involved with celebrated pop photographer and longtime collaborator David LaChapelle, who has often called Lepore his biggest muse.

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Lepore writes that LaChapelle, who was the talk of the town, first approached her in the late ’90s at a party she was co-hosting at Bowery Bar. He was initially intimidated by her severe look and worried that she might be a total bitch.

“I think I Weird Science’d you into existence,” David LaChapelle said in my ear. He was a hunk of a man—muscular, broad—and he smelled great.

“That would’ve been nice,” I cooed. “And a lot easier on my body.”

“Can I buy you a drink, Miss Hollywood?” he asked. Goose bumps covered my body. No one had called me that since Mom died.

They snuck away for an intimate conversation at an outside table and quickly bonded about their similar upbringings. “We talked close, like lovers, the patio lights setting a romantic scene,” she continues.

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The next day, LaChapelle called to arrange a photo shoot with Lepore, who had never considered modeling due to her short stature and ample measurements. Their first shoot was for Visionaire’s 1997 Diamond Issue while Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” played on repeat.

“I’ll do whatever you say,” I told him. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

“Be careful telling me you’ll do what I say. You might end up regretting it.”

A model—and a long, fruitful artistic partnership—was born.

Amanda Lepore and David LaChapelle
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

“It was exhilarating,” Lepore writes. “It also helped that I needed very little retouching. David says I’ve probably saved him a small fortune because he doesn’t have to retouch me.”

Read the full Doll Parts excerpt at papermag.com.

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.
@BrandonVoss