Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair Profile Is a Feat of Honesty

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Vanity Fair, July 2015. Photo: Vanity Fair

In a behind-the-scenes video for her Vanity Fair cover, Caitlyn Jenner says, “Bruce always had to tell a lie … Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets.” The accompanying profile — written by Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger — follows Jenner from a ten-hour facial feminization surgery in mid-March to her photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz. It’s clear that the piece is only the beginning of the public documentation of Jenner’s transition: Jenner began filming a docuseries in May, which will debut on E! this summer. Yet what’s most striking about Caitlyn Jenner’s debut interview is her honesty. In the profile, she speaks candidly about everything from first taking hormones in the '80s to her divorce from Kris Jenner and her regrets as a parent. Here, the most poignant quotes from the piece.

On her decision to transition:

The uncomfortableness of being me never leaves me all day long. I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live … 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.

On the years after winning her Olympic medal:

Underneath my suit I have a bra and panty hose and this and that and thinking to myself, ‘They know nothing about me.' I walk off the stage and I’d feel like a liar. And I would say, ‘Fuck, I can’t tell my story. There’s so much more to me than those 48 hours in the stadium, and I can’t talk about it.’ It was really frustrating. You get mad at yourself … Little did they know I was totally empty inside.

On why she stopped taking hormones in the late '80s:

I was terrified of being discovered. I was not at a point in my life where I was comfortable with myself. ‘I don’t want to be this way,' was the bottom line. Who would want to be this way, with all these issues?

On her regrets as a parent:

I made a lot of mistakes raising the four Jenner kids. I had times not only dealing with my issues but exes. [It was] very traumatic and there was a lot of turmoil in my life, and I wasn’t as close to my kids as I should have been.

On how her relationship with Kris Jenner changed over the years:

The first 15 years I felt she needed me more because I was the breadwinner … Then really around the show, when that hit and she was running this whole show and getting credit for it and she had her own money, she didn’t need me as much from that standpoint. The relationship was different. I think in a lot of ways she became less tolerant of me.

On her motivations for making a reality show about her transition:

I’m not doing it for the money. 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. Yeah, this is a business. You don’t go out and change your gender for a television show ... I don’t care who you are. It ain’t happening. You don’t do that.

On the response to her Diane Sawyer interview:

Honestly, since the Diane Sawyer piece every day it’s exciting to go to the mailbox, because I get letters every day from all these people from all over the world. I’ve gotten a lot from trans women telling their story, and how excited they were to see the Diane piece.