Charlotte Velilla. Photography by Maximilian Mouson
Jewelry by HAUTE KUKI & Die Markise
A KALTBLUT exclusive. Photographer Maximilian Mouson shot Charlotte Velilla in an exclusive beauty editorial and interview for us. Make Up by Mby Randrianantenaina. Jewelry by HAUTE KUKI & Die Markise.
Charlotte: Born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Spend all my summers and winters in the mountains in Barranquitas, with my mother’s family.
I really don’t think there was a first time were I said “HA, I’m a girl”.
I was just being me, my experience growing up was violent so of course that made me question why?
I knew there was something different or let’s say uncommon in me. Back in those days the gender topic was not a thing, so I just did my own thing and what I wanted. At 14 I was severely depressed so I couldn’t hold it and said to my mom something like: “Demons are telling me stuff…I don’t want my body to change because I feel different” I was raised to be a pastor and I was really the “golden boy” of church, I really didn’t knew anything else besides religion and getting good grades. My mom’s reaction was to pray, cast demons out and call my (pastor) cousin. I rember he gave me a speech about that I needed to be masculine and imitate strong, masculine men in our family. What I would do to go back with this knowledge and have that conversation again.
My mother, well she didn’t knew much aside Hospital Administration and religion. I think we all now know better now, at least my relationship with my family has changed for the better.
It was until later that I was able to verbalize that my gender performance and experience was not fitting in with this system. I studied in the Woman and Gender Studies Program in my College later, so I got myself some tools.
KALTBLUT: Germany just passed the law for a third gender, how important is that for you? Charlotte: Very important. The fact that we are recognizing that there is more to our assumed social constructs is creating the space to take a moment and question how we been living all this time. To recognize legally a third gender in a binary system opens the door to rethink our sexuality, our gender performance, the way we relate to our bodies, the way we relate to other bodies. I’m living in Germany since some months now and it gives me hope that this will happen in more countries, hopefully in my beautiful island some day.
KALTBLUT: Has your definition of sex and sexy changed during your journey?
Charlotte: Totally. Navigating consciously through gender performances, from “femme-fatale” to “tomboy”, I’ve become aware of how society expects women to perform “sexy”, how we should relate to sex and how that reflects on my body and my sexual life. I’ve become aware of all the fictional limits that are being imposed on me and that has been very liberating, a very sexy liberation perhaps.
KALTBLUT: There is this side of Hollywood like Sons of Anarchy and Orange is the new black, where transgender roles are not only accepted, they are unquestioned equal, do you think these role models give a good sign to younger transgender kids?
Charlotte: A good sign? I think it gives much needed hope. Things seem to be moving forward and I’m very happy but for trans people out there, even for me, it’s still a very violent experience on a day to day basis. You get a lot of pressure, a lot of negativity and violence and it’s good to know that we can break free from all that and actually be able to be achieve greatness.
KALTBLUT: On the other side, not only in hollywood, all kinds of women were treated like subjects. Do you think there will ever be a time when every gender is treated equal?
Charlotte: Hopefully but it’s a long road. We need to stop being so focused on our differences and see the bigger picture, the fight it’s not over.
KALTBLUT: What are you most proud of?
Charlotte: Breaking through. I was born in a small, beautiful but violently conservative island. I come from a working class, moderately educated family. Funny thing is I was raised to be a “pastor”. That was what I was expected to do and my family basically composed a small church in the mountains (like they had positions, from pastors to presidents of groups and stuff). I learned from religion that “god” hated me and I remember hating myself for that, a lot. So when I look myself in the mirror I still see flaws and areas to grow, but I’m very proud of the beautiful long journey until this day and I’m excited to keep breaking through.
KALTBLUT: Who are you most proud of?
Charlotte: My mother, strong, fearless woman. Despite of where she comes from she’s achieved so much and I can’t be more proud having her as my mother.
KALTBLUT: What are your plans for the future?
Charlotte: Acting is on the list and actually not so far away. I would also be involve in design and creating some products, I’m interested in furniture design. Mostly I will keep working and collaborating with artists and travelling around, keep on working to achieve what I want.