Pêche Di is the multi-talented founder of Trans Models NYC, one of the first transgender modeling agencies in the world, and a partner in the TeaDate App, a place where transgender and trans-attracted hearts can connect.
On Valentine’s Eve, she arrived at the POETLab, fierce, beautiful, and ready to reveal the fullest, deepest, most raw and uncensored, version of her true life story yet. Born in Bangkok to third-generation Chinese-Thai parents, Pêche first realized that she wanted to be female at the tender age of five. She recounts her memory of that school play that started it all and reminisces about her childhood in Thailand. She speaks of going to an all-boys military school and facing discrimination and constant bullying because of her voice, her skin color, her sexual orientation, and her gender identity and expression. She explains how she relentlessly attempted to persuade her super conservative family at the dinner table, every night for years, to accept and understand her situation as she underwent her transition, which she had initiated on her own, with guidance from a transgender classmate, from the age of 15.
She talks about the societal perceptions and the legal protections, or lack thereof, of LGBTQ persons in Thailand, and being relegated to working in go-go bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, and cabarets, including the famous Calypso Cabaret in Bangkok. She talks about flying off to live and study in Vienna, her first boyfriend, and the sex change operation that she had always dreamed of but that her British boyfriend didn’t approve of. After returning to Thailand, it wasn’t long before an opportunity to perform in an all transgender show in southern Taiwan arose. It was on this beautiful island that she got back in touch with her Hokkien roots and where she experienced her first earthquake, which struck as she was celebrating her birthday. Malaysia was the next country, but it was over before it began, so she jumped on a bus with her two Thai girlfriends down to Singapore and had so much fun and made so much money dancing and performing that she never wanted to leave.
One day, she walked past NYU Singapore and a seed was effectively planted.
Back to Thailand again, she entered a famous national competition called Miss Tiffany and placed 4th, though the media attention proved to her and everyone else that she was a force to be reckoned with. Having broken up with her British boyfriend and ready to move on, she crossed the UK off her list and all that remained was NYC and Sydney. NYU beckoned as did Miss Asia NYC, which she applied to while she was still in Thailand. She arrived in NYC on her birthday, and virtually swept every category in the annual transgender pageant, including the top prize, which marked quite the auspicious start to her new life in the United States.
In NYC, she studied English, worked for one day as a bartender, and took acting classes, where she first met Laverne Cox and several other prominent ladies of the trans vanguard. She used Craigslist and met a man who took her on a Caribbean cruise. All was well and romantic until he viciously assaulted her in their room for her refusal to get fucked without a condom, almost killing her in the process, though she fought back like a Muay Thai-trained animal who refused to succumb. Luggage was thrown off the ship, blood was everywhere, passports were lost forever, fake diamond rings were taken, someone got kicked off in Jamaica, two guards maintained constant surveillance while enforcing a bathroom ban, two teams were needed for the strip search, and when all was said and done, ICE initiated a deportation notice.
Somehow, Pêche was able to elude deportation and she eventually made it back to NYC, though she lived in constant fear and paranoia. Another Craigslist date, another heinous crime perpetrated. This time it was rape. All fucking night with nowhere to go but the bathroom. The fireman, the calendar, the corruption, the impunity. Injustice. Special Victims Unit and weekly sessions with a therapist. Depression, Zoloft, and anxiety. TV deals, Times Square, shark tanks, broken dreams, and digging deep to uncover some buried hope.
U visas and new beginnings. Legal status and new opportunities. Gender markers and name changes. Facebook Pages, Trans Models, and the Tea Date App. Media attention and building a business. Nurturing talent. Discovering Magic Mushrooms and floating with whales in blue tanks of cosmic, euphoric, blissful, healing vibrations. Being in the womb again. Reunited with Mother. After almost 7 years of not being able to touch her, hug her, thank her, and love her, the mushrooms provided the closest thing to being together again.
But the story does not end there.
There is a twist of the heart.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Love is love and this is Pêche Di, La Vraie Vie.
Host: Sh∞tspitter Kane
Guest: Pêche Di
Brought to you by: Kool Aid Smile
Location: POETLab Studios