Channel 4 has commissioned from Expectation Miriam: Death of a Reality Star.
A 3 x 60 documentary series telling the story of Miriam Rivera, the world’s first trans reality tv star: her life, her death, and her extraordinary legacy.
Using Miriam’s own voice and words throughout, the series will restore Miriam as the star of her own story: a trans trailblazer who remains an icon for many in the transgender community.
In a crowded field, 2004’s There’s Something About Miriam stood out as one of the most controversial reality shows of the early noughties.
Set in a luxury Ibiza Villa, six unsuspecting men went head-to-head to win the heart of Miriam Rivera, a stunning supermodel from Mexico. It was only at the end of the final episode that Miriam revealed to the boys: “I was born as a man”.
What followed was global infamy and a tabloid savaging, and fifteen years later Miriam was tragically found dead in her mother’s apartment in an apparent, (though disputed), suicide.
Miriam: Death of a Reality Star: is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary time in television history, this series will look at Miriam’s life before, during and after reality TV fame.
Drawing on rich archive and with exclusive access to Miriam’s family and close friends from the trans community, each episode will take the audience into the colourful worlds she inhabited – from New York drag ballroom to the streets of Mexico; trans porn to international escorting.
And running throughout will be the stranger-than-fiction, behind the scenes story of the show itself – its genesis, production and its fallout - at a time when attitudes to trans people were very different to today.
Colin Barr, Creative Director, Factual/Factual Drama, Expectation TV said: “Miriam’s story is a fable for the ages, not only shining a light on the perils of fame but our shifting attitudes to towards gender identity. This series is a chance to restore Miriam’s reputation as a true pioneer who was ahead of her time but was made to pay a heavy price for it.”
Alisa Pomeroy, Head of Documentaries, added: “Using popular culture as a lens to explore contemporary history has become something of a hallmark for c4 Documentaries, a lineage that started with our multi award-winning Jade: The Reality Star who Changed Britain.
But Miriam’s story is particularly special and revealing as it’s one that is utterly unique to its time. Hers is a tale that couldn’t have pre-existed the early noughties, reminding us of a time that - although only 20 years ago - now feels lightyears away in terms of attitudes and representation.”
Miriam: Death of a Reality Star will air on Channel 4.