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Maui, Hawaii
Birth Sign
Maui, Hawaii

Candis Cayne is a well-known transgender actress and performance artist in the United States. She is most well-known for portraying Mistress Carmelita in the drama series “Dirty Sex Money.” Her portrayal of a transgender woman having an affair with Billy Baldwin’s character propelled her to prominence and established her as a notable figure in the transgender community. This was the first television series in which a transgender actor played a recurrent transgender character. Born Brendan and given the male gender at birth, she had no idea what transgender meant until she traveled to New York City to work as a choreographer and drag artist after graduating from high school. Her transition began when she began hormone therapy in the late 1990s. She adopted the name “Candis Cayne” from her drag mother Lana Cayne upon coming out as a woman. She is a trained classical dancer who has performed in New York City bars and clubs such as “Boy Bar.” In addition to her successful television career, she has also performed in films and choreographed a few music videos. She has fought for Gay and Lesbian rights in the United States and is an ardent transgender rights campaigner.

Youth and Early Life

Candis Cayne was born as Brendan McDaniel on the Hawaiian island of Maui on August 29, 1971. Gary McDaniel and Patricia Relles, both teachers at the Haleakala Waldorf School, are her parents. Additionally, she has a brother named Dylan.

In addition to graduating from Maui’s Baldwin High School in 1989, she trained for one year in Los Angeles as a classical dancer.

She relocated to New York City in the early 1990s, where she worked as a drag artist and choreographer. She performed as “Candis Cayne” at a homosexual bar in New York called “Boy Bar” and also at the outdoor drag festival “Wigstock.”

Candis Cayne’s Career

Candis Cayne began her acting career in 1995 when she portrayed herself in the documentary film Wigstock: The Movie. In the same year, she starred alongside Guillermo Daz, Frederick Weller, and Duane Boutte in “Stonewall,” a British-American historical comedy film in which she portrayed the role of Diva.

In the 1995 American comedy film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar appeared in a cameo alongside Ivy League actors Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, and Chris Penn.

She appeared in the films ‘Always Something Better (1996) and ‘Drag Time’ (1997) and was a dancer in the music video for RuPaul’s song ‘A Little Bit of Love (1997). She was cast as “the new girl on docks” ‘Glorice Kalsheim’ in the 1998 film ‘Mob Queen’, in which she portrayed “the new girl on docks.”

She also choreographed the music video for TLC’s song “No Scrubs” in 1999. She choreographed the music video for the song “Milkshake” in 2003.
After a seven-year hiatus, she returned to acting and was cast in the 2006 short film “My Heart Belongs to Data” in the part of Candis.

Her television career began in 2007 with an episode of the American police procedural television series CSI: NY titled “The Lying Game” in which she portrayed the character Quentin Conrad. She also had a prominent role in the 2007 film Starrbooty, which was written by drag queen RuPaul. She portrayed the billionaire and owner of a cosmetics company, Annaka Manners.

In 2008, Candis Cayne portrayed a therapist in an episode of the television series “Sordid Lives: The Series.” She was also offered the role of Lebanese in the 2008 Portuguese film Libanesa Loira, in which she acted.

She was cast as Carmelita Rainer, a recurring character in the primetime drama series “Dirty Sexy Money.” Her television career flourished after she was cast in the Golden Globe-winning series ‘Nip/Tuck’ (2009). In 2010, she was chosen to portray Allison Webb in the television series “Drop Dead Diva” (2010).

After a three-year absence from the film industry, she portrayed herself in the film “Making the Boys” (2011). She portrayed Geraldine in the television series Necessary Roughness in the same year. RuPaul then cast her in the 2011 American reality television series ‘RuPaul’s Drag U,’ in which she portrayed herself.

Candis Cayne reprised her role as herself in the 2012 comedy series ‘She’s Living for This’ starring Sherry Vine. She has small appearances in a few films, including “Meth Head” (2012) and “Grooms Cake” (2012).

RuPaul recast Candis in the reality competition series ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ due to their friendship. RuPaul was also a judge on the program in which Candis appeared in four episodes as herself.
She was cast as Ms. Hudson in the award-winning drama series ‘Elementary’ (2013-2014) after a lengthy string of television appearances.

Her most recent film was the multi-starrer horror comedy ‘Crazy Bitches’ (2014), in which she portrayed Vivianna. She has not been seen in a film since, but she did appear in the 2015-16 documentary series ‘I Am Cait,’ based on Caitlyn Jenner, a real-life transgender, TV personality, and Olympic gold medalist decathlete.

‘Heartbeat,’ a 2016 American medical drama series, and ‘The Magicians’ are Cayne’s most recent television efforts (2017).

Her Major Opera

Candis Cayne portrays the transgender character Carmelita Rainer in the primetime drama series ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ (2007-2008) in a recurrent role. Donald Sutherland, Peter Krause, William Baldwin, Seth Gabel, and many others comprised the all-star cast. Craig White conceived the series, which was produced by numerous production companies, including ABC Studios and Bad Hat Harry Productions.

She was lauded for portraying herself in the 2015 documentary series “I am Cait,” which was based on the life of transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner. Both performed their own roles in the documentary.

Awards & Achievements

Candis Cayne won the 2001 Miss Continental U.S.A pageant by portraying female impersonators in Chicago, Illinois, on Labor Day.

Personal Facts about her

Candis Cayne dated DJ Marco McDermott in the past; throughout their relationship, she developed a close relationship with his daughter Satori from a previous relationship. The pair became estranged in 2010.

She has been a spokesperson and activist for the community ‘The Last Great Minority’ and also supports the American non-governmental media monitoring organization ‘Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation’ She joined the LGBT group MOOVZ in 2015 and serves as the organization’s worldwide creative director.

Estimated Net Worth

Candis Cayne is an actress and performance artist with a net worth of $500,000 in the United States. In 1971, Candis Cayne was born in Maui, Hawaii.

Since the 1990s, she has been well-known in the New York City nightclub scene. Her recurrent role as a transgender character in the primetime television series Dirty Sexy Money makes her the first transgender actress to play a transgender character in a recurring capacity.


She contemplated adoption as a single parent in 2016.
She hosted “The Candis Cayne Show,” which was performed at the popular gay bar Barracuda.