May 19, 2008
Behind The Phillips Satinelle Ice Ad: Karis Speaks

When we first saw the ad for the Phillips Satinelle Ice, we were excited: finally! An ad that treats a transperson as a real person, not just the punchline to a joke or a visual gag! Then were were confused: why were people across the internet referring to this ad as the story of a transvestite? Finally, we were curious: who was this anonymous dancer, and what was his story? Was he (or she) a drag queen, a transsexual — or something else entirely? We just had to find out.

Thankfully, through the magic of the internet (and the help of the kind folks at DDB), we were able to get in touch with Karis, the dancer and hula hoop performer (previously featured in the video for the Scissor Sisters’ “Filthy Gorgeous“) who was the center of all the hubbub. We asked him a little about who he is, why he did the ad, and what the experience has been like — and here’s what he had to say.

First of all, thank you for taking the time for this interview.
Well, I think everyone’s being misled about my life, so it’s my pleasure.

What do you mean by misled?
I first of all don’t identify as a tranny, or transsexual. For the commercial I wore breasts, and I knew it was going to come back to me, but it was so groundbreaking that I was happy to do it. Honestly, I like to think that I can change myself and be however I’m comfortable. I’m a little tranny… I’m all of those things. But people told me that I was being quoted as saying that I’m a transvestite — I’m not. If that’s what’s safe for you, it’s fine to label me that way, but don’t quote me.

So how do you identify yourself?
I’m so comfortable being myself, I’ve just never questioned. I love the whole androgyny thing, though, if that’s even a category. I’m a man, and I do love being a man, and would never want to change that – but I also have my days where I love getting dressed up and just being fierce.

The one really great thing about this ad – well, there are a lot of great things – but for me, now I can speak about how there are just so many more avenues than just tranny or gay boy. It’s nice to be able to educate people that there are more avenues.

Do you identify as gay?
I like to think that I’m more evolved, and that things are more liquid, but I am primarily gay.

What was it like to work with DDB, the company that created the ad?
They have been the most wonderful and gentle people. They have been so interested in learning about gender and sexuality issues. They have been so fabulous – I could not ask for a better crew of people.

How do you feel watching the ad now?
It’s weird knowing that that’s me. I know it’s supposed to be a take on my life, and they did use a lot of components of my life – my massage parlor, my nail salon – overall, I’m happy with it. I love doing things that challenge and educate. I’ve gotten so many emails from trannies saying that they never thought they’d see something like this in their lifetime – and that lone is worth all the trouble. It’s a shame that it’ll never air in the states – but thank god for the internet.

Want to know more about Karis? Catch up with him on MySpace.

[Photo by Austin Young]

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  • Karis is Filthy Gorgeous!&hellip says :

    […] break from the ad world’s normal “girlie-men are funny ha, ha, ha” slant.  In a recent interview, Karis was asked, “So how do you identify yourself?“  Kari replied that, […]

  • This man is so hot! &laqu&hellip says :

    […] man by the name of Karis. As you can see by the commercial above, he is totally hot. Boinkology has an interview with the guy, and it’s just really refreshing to […]

  • Hamskifte&hellip says :

    […] Så kanskje burde eg ikkje berre kome med ein kort, flåsete kommentar til den reklamefilmen, men heller kommentert han frå ein heilt annan vinkel. No gjorde eg ikkje det. Til gjengjeld vart folka bak Boinkology fascinert, forvirra og nyfikne på filmen og over reaksjonane på denne, og bestemte seg for å finna ut meir om denne personen i filmen. Dei fann ut at vedkommande var Karis, dansaren i musikkvideoen «Filthy/Gorgeous» med Scissor Sisters, og fekk eit intervju med han. […]

  • Karis, um exemplo «&hellip says :

    […] Karis, um exemplo Este vídeo é de uma propaganda do depilador da Philips, o Satinelle, com uma pessoa linda, Karis, como garot@-propaganda. Fiquei impressionada com a beleza da moça, e mais ainda com uma entrevista dela. […]

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Monica Shores