This transgender woman claims to have the 'most expensive body on Earth'
Cosmetic surgery has been around for a while now, but it's only in recent decades that people have been taking procedures to more extreme lengths. It seems we can't get through a whole week these days without hearing about some new procedure the Human Ken Doll has had done or who currently owns the world's largest breasts.
But while cosmetic surgery tends to be perceived as an indulgence that only the rich and famous could enjoy, that isn't always the case. For many transgender people, surgery is a necessity.
Amanda Lepore, a 50-year-old singer, model, and performance artist, first went under the knife in order to have her nose slimmed down when she was just 15 years old - and she's been altering parts of her body ever since. In fact, in her memoir, she claims to have "the most expensive body on Earth".
Throughout her life, she has had surgery on everything from her eyelids to her butt and continues to rack up expenses due to ongoing hormone treatments. She's had fillers put into her lips (and then taken out again), three separate breast augmentations, hairline and eyebrow lifts, and a number of other operations.
Her cheekbone augmentations were one of the more dangerous procedures she's had in her time, as she explained that, "Silicone gets injected near the bone and it is permanent. If the silicone gets near your eye, it lumps up and you are f***ed."
The rhinoplasty she underwent as a teenager sounded pretty dangerous too, as it was performed for free by a doctor she met in a nightclub. "It healed quicker than the doctor expected," she said, but added that, "the packing gauze went down my throat."
But Lepore's multiple alterations to her body aren't just for her own satisfaction; she considers her body to be part of her art, and will frequently perform in skimpy outfits to show off her carefully-honed figure.
"Every time she takes off that dress, people love it," said club promoter, Susanne Bartsch. "Roaring. Screaming. And I think that’s an art. She’s the ultimate sex symbol. Move over everybody."
However, as she is a transgender woman, some people have inferred that her obsession with surgery has something to do with an ongoing desire to be more stereotypically female. One of her closest friends, Keni Valenti, once said that her excessive attitude towards body modification is spurred by her feeling of "never being feminine enough."
And yet, Lepore herself has said that she's done with surgery for now. "I sometimes think about doing getting more stuff done to my body, but not really," she confessed in an interview with the New York Post last year. "Plastic surgery is for when you don’t like things ... Everything I’ve got already looks so good."
Lepore's extravagant lifestyle extends beyond her aesthetic alterations, too.
She's more than once claimed to have had an affair with a "famous rapper", whom she says is now married to someone who has a body just like hers. This, of course, started rumors that she'd had a fling with Kanye West - but nothing has ever been confirmed.
When she's not on tour, she spends her days in the luxurious Hotel 17 in Manhattan, not giving a damn about what people might have to say about her body. Whether or not it is actually the most expensive in the world is up for debate, but one thing's for certain: it's priceless to Lepore.