Actress Candis Cayne heats up primetime TV in her role as Carmelita in the hit show drama "Dirty Sexy Money."
The sultry actress, who plays the transgender mistress of a New York attorney general and senatorial candidate on the show, has made headlines as one of the few transgender characters on television. She is also transgender in real life.
Long before her groundbreaking role, Cayne was born Brendan McDaniel, half of a fraternal twin set. Her twin brother's name is Dylan and he is not transgender.
Early on, Cayne said she realized her differences.
"I knew since I was 6. I had my first thoughts of it," she said on "Good Morning America" today.
Having a twin brother made those differences more obvious.
"Growing up, me and my brother we were kind of exact opposites," she said. "We were completely yin and yang. He was more rough and tumble, and I just wanted to play with my girlfriends."
"Growing up my sister and I were very different. She has always been inside playing with toys that would normally be associated with girls," said Dylan McDaniel.
The McDaniels grew up in Maui, Hawaii, and as Cayne came into her own her parents gave her the freedom to explore who she really was.
"When I told my parents that I was starting my transition, my Dad said, 'Well that makes so much more sense 'cause I never saw you any other way and now it totally works,'" she said.
"It was unbelievable. The second I told them they flew to New York and wanted to make sure I was OK. And they found out I was happier," she added.
Cayne began her transition process during her early 20s and at first questioned how it would impact her career.
"I spent years [wondering] 'Is it ever going to work out?' This is my dream to act," she said.
Today she has reached her goal and shares her life with her fiance, Marco McDermott.
"Her personality is, of course, amazing," said McDermott. "I've never met anyone as kind and as open and honest as she is. I learned from her."
McDermott serves as Cayne's deejay during her cabaret show. Together the pair also is raising McDermott's daughter and building a future.
Eventually Cayne hopes to only be thought of as an actress. But as the first transgender with such a high profile, Cayne said she'll happily carry the moniker.
Already fans have poured out support for her online. Each day Cayne said she receives around 100 letters from people thanking her and telling her that her visibility allowed their families to understand what they too are going through.
"I am going to be pigeonholed into that, and I really don't mind as long as I get roles," she said.