Template:Infobox Celebrity

Jahna Erica Steele (29 September 195824 January 2008[1]) was an American transgender entertainer and Las Vegas showgirl who was voted Las Vegas' "Sexiest Showgirl on The Strip" in 1991,[2] "Entertainer of the Year, 1992," and "Most Beautiful Showgirl, 1993."[3] She was fired after being outed as "a man" by a tabloid television show. Steele made numerous film and television appearances, including hosting a transgender beauty pageant featured in the film Trantasia.

Early life and careerEdit

Born John Matheny in San Antonio, Texas, Steele joined the cast of the Crazy Girls Revue at the Riviera in Las Vegas during the late 1980s. In 1991, Steele was voted "the sexiest showgirl on The Strip" [4]

Outing and its effectsEdit

Most people in Las Vegas, including the producer who hired her and her costars, "knew she was transgender but didn't care."[5] She was outed on a 1992 edition of the television program A Current Affair. The story of her outing and its negative effect on her showgirl career was featured in The National Enquirer. [6]

After being fired from Crazy Girls Revue, Steele was a frequent talk show guest and sang in nightclubs across the United States before moving to Hawaii. She also appeared as a guest star in a second-season episode of NYPD Blue ("Don We Now Our Gay Apparel"), playing the character Candace La Rue.[7] Steele later returned to school, and "learned how to do things other than entertaining" so that she'd have something to fall back on, studying computer courses and working for United Blood Services before she worked for a women's health facility and got certified in nonprofit management.[4]

Transsexual beauty contest hostessEdit

Steele made her comeback in 2004 when she hosted The World's Most Beautiful Transsexual Contest at the Riviera.[8] A documentary feature film based on the pageant, Trantasia, recognized Steele's pioneering place in the history of the transsexual community. Steele was also featured on several segments of Entertainment Tonight in connection with Trantasia. Following the success of the film, Steele continued her singing career and was the spokesperson for Tingari Skin Care System. Steele was working on her "kiss-and-tell" autobiography, Always a Lady [9] when friends reported she died in Las Vegas.[10]


  1. Clarke, Norm (January 26, 2008). Jahna Steele R.I.P. Las Vegas Review-Journal
  2. Anderson-Minshall, Jacob (March 1, 2007). Las Vegas Showgirl. San Francisco Bay Times
  3. Archerd, Army (November 14, 1994). Caron dances back in time. Variety
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stein, Martin (July 22, 2004). Was She or Wasn't She? Transsexual beauty pageant marks the return of Vegas' most notorious showgirl. The Las Vegas Weekly
  5. Broverman, Neal (March 25, 2008). Death of a showgirl The Advocate
  6. Staff report (1992). 'Sexiest show girl' in Vegas fired because she used to be a MAN! National Enquirer
  7. NYPD Blue episode guide via MSN
  8. Clarke, Norm (May 15, 2004). Transgender star plans comeback. Las Vegas Review-Journal
  9. Pratt, Paul E. (May 16, 2007). Transsexual Former Vegas Showgirl Working on Tell-All Book. Outlook Magazine
  10. Davis, Andrew (February 6, 2008). Passages: Jahna Steele. Windy City Times

External linksEdit

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