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Caitlyn Jenner tells Matt Lauer about her 'new' life as a woman in TODAY exclusive

Caitlyn Jenner opens up about her life as a transgender woman while playing golf with TODAY's Matt Lauer.
/ Source: TODAY

After living decades as “the ultimate male,” Caitlyn Jenner says she doesn’t miss a thing about her former life as a man.

“I think about my life — and where I'm at in my life right now. What a tremendous experience this is. Hardly nobody gets to live two genders in their life,” she told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive morning program interview.

“Everybody wonders, ‘Oh, what's it like to be coming from the other side? You know, their thinking, the way they act, everything?’ And here I have the opportunity to do that. And to be honest with you, everything's so new and fun. From that standpoint, it's been great.”

Speaking to Lauer while the two played golf at Woodland Hills Country Club outside of Los Angeles, Jenner expressed gratitude for the kind reception she has felt since making her public debut as a transgender woman on the cover of Vanity Fair.

“There's nothing more, nothing better in life to wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and feel comfortable with yourself and who you are,” she said.

Jenner also opened up about a fatal car accident earlier this year in which her Cadillac SUV rear-ended another vehicle, causing a chain-reaction that resulted in the death of a 69-year-old woman.

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Jenner said she remembers “very little” about the collision.

“I remember it happening. That's about it,” she said, explaining that current litigation has prevented her from talking about it. “A tragedy like this, you'll never get over it. You just learn to live with it the best you possibly can.”

Investigators say that while Jenner did not violate any traffic laws, speed may have been a factor in the crash because of rainy road conditions at the time, although Caitlyn told Matt she was driving under the speed limit. The investigators are weighing a possible misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Jenner, who could face a year in a county jail if convicted.

“The media wants that picture, don't they?” Jenner said with a laugh. “That is the worst case scenario. I don't know. We'll see. The men's county jail. It is an enormous problem that they would put trans-women in a men's county jail.”

Jenner also addressed critics who said questioned her worthiness of an ESPY Awards honor for her courage this past July. less than two months after she made her public debut as a woman, Jenner was selected as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

“I didn't ask for it. They gave me the award,” Jenner said. “Did it take a lot of courage to come out? Absolutely. Did I have tremendous respect for Arthur Ashe and that award? Absolutely. And I'm very honored to have them award that to me, not just to me but this entire community. So I'm very pleased the way it turned out.”

MORE: 'I Am Cait' series premiere: 5 must-see moments

Despite being the punchline to some "extraordinarily hurtful" jokes prior to her public transition, Jenner said the tabloids and late-night talk show hosts have eased up since she has come out as Caitlyn. That's made it easier to maintain a sense of humor about some of the sillier things that have come up — like learning about Halloween costumes that have been made of her from the Vanity Fair cover.

“I'm in on the joke. Yeah, no, I don't think it's offensive at all," she said. " I know the community does, and they’ve gotten a lot of criticism for doing it."

But Jenner thinks the costume is a great idea, except the execution of it could have used some more work.

“I could have done my own costume! I mean, that was a serious bustier on the cover of Vanity Fair. I mean at least get some good clothes," she said. "You’ve got to enjoy life. Life's too short. I can't get too upset about that type of stuff.”

The second part of Jenner's interview with Lauer airs on Thursday.

Follow writer Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter.