A transgender teenager who was born a boy told how she returned to school after the summer break as a girl – modelling herself on Kim Kardashian.
With her glossy black hair and expertly contoured face, Kairah Kelly, 15, looks like the famous big bottomed reality star’s doppelganger.
But until recently, she was known as Tyler – the name she’d been born with – to her classmates, and had spent most of her life struggling with her identity.
Now she’s returned to school as her true self with great success – and some teachers didn’t even recognise her new look.
She said: “I felt really strange and different. I’d look in the mirror and the person I saw was a stranger.
“I’d imagine myself in skirts and dresses when I was as young as eight years old.
“Now when I look in the mirror I see myself.
“I was so nervous when I turned up for my first day but I didn’t need to be.
“Everyone was so supportive and happy for me.”
From the age of six, then living as a boy named Tyler, gender was an issue.
Uncomfortable as a boy, he’d roam around the family home wearing make-up, nail varnish and heels.
But his devout Christian step-dad Chris, 49, and mum Angela, 30, put a stop to his secret habit when they found out, fearing neighbours would gossip.
“They didn’t understand what I was,” Kairah, of Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire said.
“We lived in a rough area and they thought I would be bullied.”
Their reaction left the youngster feeling isolated, finding it hard to fit in with other boys at school, as he hated football and wearing male clothes.
His closest friends were girls – but he was envious of their make-up, long hair and clothes.
At 11, Tyler came out as bisexual – then coming out as gay to family and friends two years later.
Supportive Angela allowed Tyler to wear make-up outside of school – but it wasn’t enough.
“I didn’t feel confident after coming out as gay,” said Kairah. “I felt like there was something missing.”
At 14, while watching a YouTube make-up tutorial, Tyler found a video about a transgender woman.
The YouTuber spoke about feeling trapped in the wrong body – and he felt instant identification.
Terrified of what his parents would think, he confided in his best friend in January 2015.
In a Geography lesson, the pair drafted a text message to Tyler’s mum.
Kairah said: “I didn’t know how she’d react in person.
She continued: “I wrote that message four times, and when I got home I felt different.
“She was really supportive, telling my dad that night.
“He was accepting. The next morning he told me he loved me for who I was.”
In September 2015, Tyler published a post on Facebook announcing that he was transgender and changing his name to Kairah.
Now, living as a girl, she has been referred for gender identity treatment and hopes to start taking hormone blockers soon.
And she wasted no time in emulating her female role model, Kim Kardashian.
She has swapped jumpers and tracksuits for skinny jeans, skimpy dresses and colourful tops.
After adding extensions to her long black hair and wearing a full face of make-up, she is a dead ringer for the reality star, whose initials ‘KK’ match her own.
While she has been wowing friends with her glamorous outfits outside school, Kairah still dressed as a boy for classes until now.
She said: “I dress as Kim Kardashian all the time, I put a full face of make-up on and it makes me feel glamorous.”
Speaking of her plans for the future, Kairah said: “I have a long list of surgeries I want: gender reassignment, breast implants, a rhinoplasty, fillers for my lips, a mini-brow lift, brow-shave and hair line reduction.
“I love the glamorous look and I’ve always been a fan of the Kardashians.
“They were happy and comfortable with themselves and that’s what I’ve always wanted.”