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Candis Cayne breaks ‘Dirty Sexy’ boundaries

Born Brendan McDaniel, she portrays a transgender character on the show
/ Source: Access Hollywood

Candis Cayne is ready for the big time …. and she’s getting there the “Dirty Sexy” way.

Cayne stars as Carmelita in ABC’s new Wednesday night drama, “Dirty Sexy Money,” a transgender character who’s having an affair with Patrick Darling (Billy Baldwin) the oldest son of the Darling clan, who also happens to be a New York Attorney General who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

Candis is transgender herself. Her role is considered a breakthrough for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

“Access” had a chance to ride in a limo with Baldwin and Cayne to The Advocate magazine’s 40th anniversary party, and catch a glimpse into their on-screen and off-screen relationship.

“You know, when I started my transition 10 years ago, I kind of came to realization that I probably wouldn’t work anymore, which was really heartbreaking for me because it’s my passion and I love it. But there were things that were important to me that I needed to finish and fulfill in my life,” Cayne told us.

Cayne’s dream of being a working actress in Hollywood is finally coming true. Born Brendan McDaniel, Cayne was a long-time fixture in the New York drag scene, but it wasn’t until he became she that she was finally comfortable in her own skin.

“I didn’t work for many, many years,” she said. “Until I was happy with, you know, what had happened with me. You can’t form a character without being completely comfortable with who you are as a person.”

Baldwin, whose career has mostly been in film, was drawn to “Dirty Sexy Money” for the tremendous cast, including Cayne.

“Craig Wright was definitely (the) No. 1 (reason) as the creator,” he told us. But also “the concept, the part, the cast and definitely this storyline. I mean everybody was saying, ‘Are you nervous about that (playing a man who dates a transgender woman)?’ That wasn’t a reason to not do it. That was one of the main reasons to do it.”

Baldwin and Cayne’s complex relationship is mostly what attracted Baldwin to the role.

“When she finally met me and had a chance to work with me, she became complete, she was finally whole,” he said jokingly, while facing Cayne.

But getting serious again for a moment, he continued talking to his on-screen leading lady:

“I think it’s really interesting the whole journey you’ve gone through and how you must have had some doubts and fears and insecurities and second guessing. I remember one person saying, ‘Well it’s probably because she’s very conflicted and confused and uncertain and insecure.’ And I said, ‘No, quite frankly, it’s completely the opposite. She was completely certain that she was a woman and she was completely certain that this is what she had to do.’ It was absolutely essential for her to do this.”

And while Cayne is overjoyed to hit primetime in this role, her hope is to one day play a natural born woman.

“We’re all actors and actresses so I’d like to get to the point where I could play just female roles you know and not always be categorized,” she told us.

“Dirty Sexy Money” premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.