I had the opportunity to work with Caitlyn Jenner to try to help her feminize her voice, speech patterns and body language. Our session was filmed for her reality show I’m Cait. Unfortunately it will not be shown this season. But my management team at Sirena Media received this very nice email from the show’s producer:
Unfortunately, that scene did not make it into the series. We had to make some tough cuts because we filmed for 12 weeks but only ended up with eight 42 minute episodes. We so appreciate Lilian working with Cait and all the help she offered and maybe we can have her back next season.
Best of luck to you both and thank you again!
So there is a possibility I may be on her show next season. Because I am bound by a confidentiality agreement I signed with Bunim Murray, Caitlyn’s production company I can’t go into detail as to what specific work I did with Caitlyn and what we specifically discussed during our time together.
I will say that she was a lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and let her know that I am totally there for her.
I will say that I used the same techniques that I used to teach Dustin Hoffman how to sound like a woman for the film in which he won an Academy Award- Tootsie
We addressed vocal pitch, using more inflection, drawing out vowels so the tones are more flowing, slowing down the speech, using more feminine gestures from sitting, to standing, to head posture, to facial language as well as gesturing, like gesturing towards the body as opposed to away from the body like I am showing here when I Dustin played the Dorothy Michael’s character.
While it takes more than the three hour session I had with Caitlyn while we filmed the show, I was able to give Caitlyn a copy of my best selling book He Says She Says Closing the Communication Gap Between the Sexes. The book contains all the information you will ever need to know about how men and women communicate. It discusses differences in voice, body language, speech, and behavior, what is said and how it is said.
In fact it has just been released on Amazon for kindle
This book can not only be of benefit to the transgender community but can help anyone who wants to have better communication with the opposite sex in business, in their social life, and in their intimate life.
Having worked with many people in the transgender community, perhaps the most difficult aspect of their transition is to sound like the opposite sex. To sound like a woman (for those undergoing male to female transition as Caitlyn is doing), or to sound like a man (for those undergoing female to male transition) it takes time and a lot of hard work. It takes the knowledge of knowing exactly what to do and what the differences are for the specific sex one is transitioning to. It also takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience.
I read in Caitlyn’s blog several weeks ago that when she watched the video of herself speaking at the ESPY Awards, she said that she still felt like she had a man’s voice. It is understandable for her to feel that way as you can’t learn how to sound like a woman and have it become a part of your daily life in just one session. It takes time and a lot of practice.
I was able to assure Caitlyn that what she was feeling was not out of the ordinary and to be patient. I communicated to her that she not be hard on herself because working on feminizing your voice is a process and cannot be done in only one session as we did for the show.
I encouraged her to not focus on what she thought she did wrong, but instead, focus on the many things she did right during her ESPY Speech such as:
1. flowing out her tones
3. using her inflection ( going up several notes)
4 not having a choppy speech pattern
5. opening her jaw when you spoke
6. not speaking so fast
7. not having a creaky sound at the end of sentences (glottal fry)
8. using many feminine gestures.
9. not attacking her initial sounds when she spoke
I clearly let her know that I was very proud of her. I also reiterated specific things she needed to work on in the future regarding the way she spoke so that she would be more satisfied and not see or hear herself as sounding like a man.
Working with Caitlyn was a very rewarding experience for me as I shared with Caitlyn’s my knowledge of what it takes to sound like her genuine self- a woman. I found her to be a lovely, elegant, and beautiful woman who was very eager to incorporate all that we discussed.
She is truly an inspiration not only to the transgender community, but to so many others who are motivated by her personal decision to live an authentic and honest life and to be true to herself. At age 65, she decided to live out her dream, which goes to prove that it is never too late in life to do what you really want to do with your life. I have the utmost respect for anyone who is true to themselves, regardless of what anyone else may say.