MEET the latest pop sensation. At 16 years old, with blonde good looks and a wholesome appeal, Kim Petras is set to be a superstar. (The Sun)
But this is no ordinary girl – Kim was actually born TIM.
Last October, just days after turning 16, she had a sex change operation to fulfil her dream of becoming a woman.
She is the youngest person in the world ever to have the dramatic surgery.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Kim – who lives in Cologne, Germany – said: “There never was a defining moment when I thought, ‘I’m not meant to be a boy’. I lived my entire life as a girl.
“There wasn’t ever a moment when I decided not to be a boy any more. I was just always a girl.”
Ever since she was two, Kim’s parents Konni, 48, and Lutz, 51, were faced with the fact their youngest child – and only boy – insisted on being called a girl.
Kim, who is planning a tour of the UK, said: “My parents had seen me grow up and behave as though I was a girl.
“I have two older sisters, Anna, 26, and Sina, 18. Even though they always supported me, they probably thought I was just going through a phase.
“I was asked if I feel like a woman now. The truth is I’ve always felt like a woman. I just ended up in the wrong body.
“I only ever did girls’ stuff and only ever had female friends. I always wanted to play with dolls. I loved dresses and the colour pink – I was a totally girly girl.”
Thanks to her campaigning, the legal age for transgender surgery in Germany was dropped from 18 especially for her.
In the UK, as with Germany, the legal age for surgery is 18.
But the youngest person here to have had a sex change was Cumbrian-born Angel Paris-Jordan, who had the operation in 2002 aged 17.
During our exclusive photoshoot, it could not have been more obvious that Kim is very much a woman. She got excited at the bright strapless dresses and coloured platform shoes.
Her femininity also attracted the attention of leading German hair salon Unisex, who made her their “face” last year. And her determination to become a woman has even amazed her family.
Her dad Lutz said: “I suppose it took me longer than my wife to accept it – but Kim is a very persuasive girl. She knows what she wants and how to get it.
“I am very proud of what she has achieved, how she has managed to get there and how she sticks to her dreams no matter how hard and painful they are to follow.
“We saw Kim as a girl – but not as a problem. Our life was surprisingly normal.
“But she reacted badly to the first signs of puberty and at that stage we realised she was terrified of growing facial hair and her voice breaking.”
When it became obvious that Kim was never going to behave like a Tim, her parents sought help.
Dr Bern Meyenburg, the head of a clinic for children and specialist in transsexuality at Frankfurt University, knew just how serious the then 13-year-old Kim was.
He wrote: “Kim is a mentally well-developed child who appears happy and balanced.
“There is no doubt of the determined wish that was already detectable since early childhood.
“It would have been very wrong to let Kim grow up to be a man. It is rare to have such a clear-cut case.”
Aged 13, Kim started hormone therapy in Hamburg and made headlines after appearing on a German TV documentary to try to push for the right to have a sex change.
Dr Achim Wuesthof, a German hormone specialist for children and teenagers, and his colleagues felt that in Kim’s case it was better to start earlier. He said: “To the best of my knowledge, Kim is the youngest sex change patient in the world. According to German law, two independent psychiatrists must confirm that the child is indeed transsexual and approve the sex change. Once that has been done, it is best to start as early as possible.”
Despite all the attention she has faced, Kim is hopeful that one day she will be celebrated just for her talent. She said: “I’m OK with my story. I didn’t do it just to become a pop star but I’m fine with my history. I just hope that one day people know me more for my singing than for my, you know, past.”
Kim has become a cult internet figure after posting videos of herself singing on MySpace and YouTube, with her last single, Fade Away, getting 250,000 hits.
She said: “I started singing because my mother Konni is a jazz singer, so I’ve been singing since I was really young. But I got known by putting videos on YouTube of me singing covers such as No One by Alicia Keys.
“A German producer called Fabian Gorg got in touch with me to say he really liked my stuff and then he produced an album.”
His label, Joyce Records, are producing her second single, Die For You, and she is shooting the video – her first – this week.
She said: “My music is very difficult to describe – kind of electronic beats, up-tempo, maybe mixed with power ballads.
“I just write pop music. I really like Beyonce and Gwen Stefani but I think the style of Lady GaGa is really cool. I like the fact she’s something new. I really like that. I really don’t want to be like Britney. In fact, I don’t want to be like anyone. I just want to be myself and do it my own way. I wouldn’t be unique if I copied anyone else.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was four, so I’m really glad it’s all working out.
“I’ve done a lot in my life already but there’s so much more coming up.”
The stylish, confident girl – who speaks fluent English – is a world away from the abuse and bullying she experienced throughout her school days.
Kim said: “Yes, I was bullied, especially from people who I didn’t know or from other schools.
“I never said anything, I just tried to ignore it. I had to fight to be myself for my entire life, so it really did only make me stronger.
“My real friends obviously knew me as both Tim and Kim. It’s just one letter for the name, so it wasn’t a big difference from a name point of view – but they always accepted it.
“I’ve known most of them since elementary school. I really have a lot of luck with my friends because they are always there for me and always support me.”
She may have been a victim of bullying – but looking at our fantastic new pictures of a healthy, happy Kim, it is obvious who has had the last laugh.