EXCLUSIVE: From altar boy to erotic model: How sport-mad Michael Tanham became breast-obsessed Kelly Star - a woman with 'Australia's largest implants'
- Transgender icon Kelly Star claims to have Australia's largest implants
- She grew up in a Christian family in Perth and was an altar boy at church
- With a self-confessed 'boob obsession' she began her transition at 16
- The erotic model has spent an estimated $250,000 on 100 surgeries
- Said Vivienne Westwood once asked her to model at Paris Fashion Week
- Music star Lady Gaga has said Kelly has the best breasts she has ever seen
Michael Tanham was a sports-mad altar boy who grew up in a loving Christian family in Western Australia.
As a teenager, he was a state champion swimmer who was popular with his classmates and a hit with the girls.
But Michael knew he was never meant to be a boy – which is why at the age of 16 he started stealing hormones in a bid to fulfil his dream of becoming a woman.
This is the story of how Michael Tanham became Kelly Star, now a 46-year-old transgender icon and aspiring adult model who claims to have the largest implant breasts in Australia.
Scroll down for video
Icon: Kelly Star (pictured) is a 46-year-old transgender role model and adult entertainer from Perth
Cute: Michael Tanham (pictured), now Kelly Star, grew up in a loving Christian family in Western Australia
Beautiful: Kelly Star is pictured on the runway at the Miss Mykonos festival in Greece in the early 1990s. She was chosen as the runner-up in the pageant
'I grew up in Perth, Western Australia. My parents were quite involved with the church and I was an altar boy when I was younger,' Kelly told Daily Mail Australia in an exclusive interview.
'I've always been really involved with my family. In the beginning they weren't 100 per cent accepting of my transition. But they came around.
'It's not something that everyone can get used to straight away.'
Kelly was 16 when she secretly began her transition by stealing female growth hormones from her boss at a hairdressing salon.
She grew her hair out and, after a couple of months of under-the-table hormone treatment, plucked up the courage to have them prescribed from a doctor.
'I was taking them while my friend wasn't looking for about two months,' she said.
'I became more feminine looking and eventually gained the confidence to go to the doctor myself. I managed to convince him I was actually 18 years old.'
After four more months of hormone treatment, Kelly met a shocked response when she finally came out to her Christian family.
'I told my older sister first. I think she was a little bit shocked to hear it. She called my parents straight away and told them.
'I think I wanted that though. In the back of my brain I knew she was going to do that.'
Nervous: Kelly had been secretly taking hormones for a few months when this picture was taken. She is pulling out her shirt to hide her developing breasts from her mum
Sports mad: As a child, Michael was a sports enthusiast and heavily involved in surf lifesaving and swimming
In the following years Kelly has had more than 100 surgeries on her $250,000 body, including procedures to her lips, hips, bottom and breasts.
With a self-confessed 'breast obsession' she currently has two litres of silicone in her chest and is in two minds as to whether she wants to enlarge her K-cup bust.
In 2015 she claimed she had bigger breasts implants than 23-year-old Sydney model Sarah Marie Summers who held the accolade at the time.
'There was a girl who was claiming to have the biggest. I got in touch to say no, I do,' Kelly said.
'This is the original look that I wanted for myself. It's taken me a long time to get my lips, hips, my butt and my designer vagina'
'I'm not 100 per cent sure now if I want to go bigger. If I do, it will only be to make a slight improvement.
'This is the original look that I wanted for myself. It's taken me a long time to get my lips, hips, my butt and my designer vagina.'
At the urging of friends, Kelly admitted she was now trying to dial back some of her procedures.
'In today's age people are shying away from more extreme surgeries. I have made my lips a bit smaller and I'm trying to peg things back now.
'If you have one part that's OK. For me that's my boobs.'
Racy: Kelly admitted she had always been obsessed with breasts. Her bust is currently a K cup - which she claims are the largest breast implants in Australia
Sizzling: After leaving the fashion scene in Europe, Kelly took up erotic modelling back in Australia
Her obsession with breasts was even reflected in the name she chose for herself as she completed her gender transition.
'Best breasts ever': When Lady Gaga played Perth in 2014 she told Kelly (pictured at the concert) she had the best breasts she had ever seen
'Kelly-Anne was a girl at school who used to flash her breasts.
'Guys would always talk about her and, seeing the attention she got, I realised I wanted that for myself.
'I thought it was amazing. I liked the name as well, coming from an Irish background.'
Kelly's breasts are not only the biggest in the country, they are the best that megastar popstress Lady Gaga has ever seen.
'I was at one of her first concerts in Perth. She stopped in between one of her songs and was calling out to people in the crowd.
'I had tape over my nipples and made a beautiful modelling pose. She stopped and told me they were the best breasts she had ever seen.'
Her breasts made such an impression that she said Lady Gaga remembered them the next time she played Perth.
'She recognised me and singled me out again. She said she wanted to feel them. She told me I was a bad kid and then left it at that.'
Through the early 1990s Kelly quietly flew the flag for transgender models on the flourishing London fashion scene.
She was a runner-up in a Miss Mykonos competition in Greece and even turned down a spot modelling for Vivienne Westwood at Paris Fashion Week.
'Modelling was always something that I had desired to do. When I had my surgery I moved to London and knew I was confident enough to start doing some modelling.
'I was at this really cool party in London. Jean Paul Gaultier was there and Boy George and a friend of Viv's came up to me and said she wanted to meet me.
'I was booked to do the parade but I was scheduled for surgery in the United States.
'I ended up turning it down which is a huge regret for me.
'Viv would have known I was transgender and it would have been fantastic to put a transgender model on display. She was really ahead of her time in that respect.'
Gorgeous: Kelly left Perth for London in the early 1990s to chase her dream of becoming a model
Speaking out: It was important that transgender men and woman felt comfortable putting themselves in the public eye, Kelly said
Stunning: A promotional shot of Kelly (then known as Kelly-Anne) from the early 1990s
In the mid-1990s Kelly returned to her family in Perth and tried, unsuccessfully, to leave the hectic world of modelling behind while settling into a life of quiet routine.
'I came back and I started studying secretarial stuff at TAFE. I quickly realised this isn't what I wanted. I didn't want to do that for my whole life.
'That's when I moved down to Sydney and took up modelling again.'
Kelly eventually made the leap from the catwalk to a more risqué type of modelling.
'These days I'm trying to get a little more involved in working with girls who are in adult entertainment. And also being a feature at parties and functions.
'I think having the largest implants in Australia will hopefully help me to get those bookings,' she said.
Strike a pose: Kelly was billed as a 185cm beauty with green eyes and brunette hair. She is pictured above in a series of photos from her modelling days
Settled: After a jet setting career that took her across the globe, Kelly has settled back in the city of Perth
She was also trying to break into erotica, although she said an incident with one publication had left a bitter taste in her mouth.
'They were going to do a shoot with me, I think they liked the fact that I flashed my breasts.
'But I think maybe then they found out I was transgender from an old magazine or something. I never heard back them.
'I feel like the time is right for people who are transgender to be working alongside other girls in the adult industry.'
By speaking out about her life and experiences, Kelly hoped she could turn the tide against transgender discrimination.
'It's really important that these stories are out there and held in a positive light.
'It will help society become a little less judgemental. It's not a choice that we were born this way.
'We just want to be happy.'
Courageous: By speaking out, Kelly hoped to inspire others who were struggling with their identities
Most watched News videos
- CCTV captures final tragic moments of Mirna Salihin's life
- Mother shaves daughters hair after she 'bullies cancer girl'
- GRAPHIC CONTENT: 'Ghost' rises from body after fatal crash
- Bulls head butt each other then die instantly from brutal blow
- Shocking moment girl gets viciously beaten after starting fight
- Mother releases devastating footage of son's final moments
- Lorry smashes into car leaving driver with severe injuries
- Is this the creepy moment the corpse of a girl OPENS her eyes?
- 'Big fat gypsy wedding' in Romania goes on for FOUR days
- Groom ALREADY tired of marriage life just after 15 minutes
- 'Pascal's a G!' Kim Kardashian speaks well of her bodyguard
- GoPro captures the moment a croc swims amongst swimmers