Carmen Carrera in glam W magazine photo shoot

Model, performer, and reality television personality Carmen Carrera has penned an autobiographical essay for W magazine in which she discusses growing up "praying I would wake up a girl" and how proud she is of her life now as a transgender star. Check out an excerpt below:

"I participated in an amateur show, and the audience loved me - I won! After that, I started touring clubs and acquired a fan base. I also realized that being onstage gave me an escape: I could be feminine, which is what I was on the inside. I never felt like a gay guy - growing up I’d pray that I would wake up a girl. Eventually, I didn’t want to act like a woman anymore - I wanted to become one."

She is also featured in a beautiful fashion spread, shot by acclaimed photographer Steven Meisel. Meisel is known for finding and promoting successful models like Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. 

Carrera got her start on the Logo series RuPaul's Drag Race, and she has also appeared as a mentor on the spin off RuPaul's Drag U. Carrera has been featured on an episode of ABC's Primetime: What Would You Do?, and is also a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness.