American fashion designer and model Isis Tsunami was born as Isis King in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She later joined the 11th cycle of , holding the distinction of being the first transgendered competitor on the reality show. Previously stating that she was “born in the wrong body,” Isis came out in high school as a gay man and has appeared in a 2007 special for MSNBC documenting the lives of transgender teens in the US. That year, she also began hormone replacement surgery. Since she was 15, Isis has been doing runway shows, and has even competed in the underground scene of ballroom where voguing was invented.
Isis was in an assisted living program during the time she found out about the shoot for the ANTM’s Cycle 10, themed on the issue of homeless youth. She was sought after by Tyra Banks, because she was posing better than the other models. In 2008, Isis became on of the top 14 contestants for Cycle 11. Being on the cast has made Isis one of the few transwomen to be seen on mainstream television. She was also noted for her openness, being welcomed by the most of the contestants and the show’s judges. Isis became a prominent presence in the industry, due to the positive portrayal that ANTM has given to her. The executive producer of the series, Ken Mok, has stated that casting a transgender contestant was in line with Banks’ ideals for the show, which was “to redefine what beauty is.”
Isis has been mentioned by New York magazine as being one of the transgender models in history to rise to popularity. She has practically reached the status of Teri Toye in the 1970s, RuPaul in the 1990s, Amanda Lepore, and Andre J. Even though she has gained a lot of exposure as a supermodel, Isis has worked as a receptionist and is a Program Assistant for a non-profit organization. Even so, she still works as a freelance fashion model. In 2011, Isis returned to America's Next Top Model Cycle 17, also dubbed the All-Star Cycle. There, she joined other alums for another shot at the title. The winner will be receiving a special spread in Vogue Italia and a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, in addition to joining the Express fashion campaign and a chance to become a correspondent on Extra.