Miriam Rivera

Last updated

Miriam Rivera
Born1981 (1981)
Mexico [1]
Died(2019-02-05)5 February 2019 (aged 38) [2]
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico [2]
Other namesVictoria, Miriam Rivera, Miriam Xtravaganza, Miriam, Miriam D'Abo
OccupationModel, actress, reality television personality
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
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 . She became recognized as the first openly transgender reality television star. [2] Rivera also modelled and, using the name Victoria, performed in pornography. [3] She was found dead in February 2019 at her apartment in Mexico.


Life and career

Rivera was born in 1981 in Mexico and desired a sex change to female at the age of four. She said that while her three brothers liked baseball, she preferred Barbie dolls. [4] Rivera 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]

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

Remy Blumenfeld first saw Rivera participating in a girl band, after which he planned to cast 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. It originally aired in the United Kingdom on Sky1 in February 2004. Hosted by Tim Vincent, it featured six men wooing Rivera without revealing that she was transgender until the final episode. Rivera 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 stated she never planned to have sex reassignment surgery, citing concerns about complications or loss of sensation. [5] She said, "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 Rivera was seriously injured in 2007 when she was thrown out of a third-story window at her home. [11] Rivera 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, Rivera was active in Manhattan's ball culture. [13]

Personal life and death

Rivera 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 Cuervo in a Facebook post and received news coverage six months later. [2] [7] Her death was classified as suicide by hanging by the police, but Cuervo believes she was murdered as she received a death threat from someone who told her to "never come back to Mexico" and not prepare her funeral. [13]


See also

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