Miriam Rivera
Born1981 (1981)
Died(2019-02-05)5 February 2019 (aged 38)[2]
Other namesVictoria, Miriam Rivera, Miriam Xtravaganza, Miriam, Miriam D'Abo
OccupationModel, actress, reality television personality
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight121 lb (55 kg)
Spouse(s)Daniel Cuervo[2]

Miriam Rivera (1981 – 5 February 2019), known by the mononym Miriam, was a Mexican transgender model who appeared on the reality television shows There's Something About Miriam and Big Brother Australia 2004, as the first openly trans reality television star.[2] Miriam also worked as an adult model under the name Victoria and as a non-adult model.[3]

Life and career

Miriam was born in 1981 as a boy in Mexico and wanted to be a girl by age four. She said that while her three brothers liked baseball, she preferred Barbie dolls.[4] Miriam said strangers assumed she was a girl:

They used to come to my mother and say, "Oh you have a beautiful daughter", and my mother used to say "That's my son", and I used to get angry. And I have always been attracted to men. When I was 11, I met someone who's gay and start talking to me about hormones, which I got very interested in.[5]

Miriam said she soon started taking hormones. She told reporters she came out after being suspended from school at age 12, and her family was supportive.[6]

In 1999, Miriam posed for a transgender website and performed under the name Victoria in pornographic videos produced by Androgeny Productions and released from 2000.[3]

TV shows

Remy Blumenfeld, first saw Miriam participating in a girl band after which he planned to star her in a TV show that was later released as There's Something About Miriam.[7] She was filmed in Ibiza for There's Something About Miriam in 2003, but the show's airdate was delayed until out-of-court settlement of litigation by contestants in 2004. Originally aired in the United Kingdom on Sky1 in February 2004. Hosted by Tim Vincent, it featured six men wooing 21-year-old Mexican model Miriam without revealing that she was transgender until the final episode. Miriam enjoyed the attention she received following the show.[8]

After the high ratings for the show, she was cast as a guest on Big Brother Australia 2004, also produced by Endemol. A documentary about her life was commissioned but not aired.[9]

She had stated she did not plan to have sex reassignment surgery, citing concerns about complications or loss of sensation.[5] "My mother always says to me, 'Why would you want to be half-and-half? Why don't you want to be a complete woman?' But I just love myself and I'm really enjoying my life."[10]

The New York Post reported that Miriam was seriously injured in 2007 when she was thrown out of a third-story window at her home.[11] Miriam later told reporters she fell out of a fourth-story window while trying to escape a burglar.[12] In 2008, she was a special guest on Ewa Drzyzga's TVN show Rozmowy w toku in Poland. In more recent years, Miriam Rivera was active in Manhattan's ball culture.[13]

Personal life and death

Miriam was married to Daniel Cuervo, with whom she lived in New York City.[13] She was found dead on 5 February 2019, in her apartment in Mexico.[7] Her death was confirmed by her husband in a Facebook post and received news coverage six months later.[2][7] While her death has been classified as suicide by hanging by the police, her husband believes she was murdered after he received a death threat from someone who told him to "never come back to Mexico" and not prepare her funeral.[14]