Childhood & Early Life
Candis Cayne was born on 29th August 1971 as Brendan McDaniel on the island of Maui, in the state of Hawaii. Her parents are teachers Gary McDanniel and Patricia Relles who taught at the Haleakala Waldorf School. She also has a twin brother named Dylan.
She graduated from the Baldwin High School in Maui in 1989 and also received training for a year as a classical dancer in the city of Los Angeles.
In the early 1990s, she moved to New York City where she worked as a drag artist and choreographer. She performed as “Candis Cayne” at a gay bar called ‘Boy Bar’ in New York, and was also an entertainer at the outdoor drag festival ‘Wigstock’.
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Candis Cayne’s on-screen career began in 1995 when she appeared as herself in the documentary film ‘Wigstock: The Movie’. Her second movie was a British-American historical comedy film ‘Stonewall’ the same year, where she played the character of Diva alongside actors Guillermo Díaz, Frederick Weller, and Duane Boutte.
She played a cameo role as herself in the American comedy movie ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar’ (1995) alongside Ivy League actors like Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, and Chris Penn.
She was cast in the films ‘Always Something Better’ (1996) and ‘Drag Time’ (1997), and was also a dancer in RuPaul’s music video for the song ‘A Little Bit of Love (1997)’. She soon started getting better roles, and was cast in the movie ‘Mob Queen’ (1998), wherein she played the role of “the new girl on docks” ‘Glorice Kalsheim’.
In 1999, she was cast in a short film ‘Charlie’ and feature film ‘In the Closet’, and also choreographed the music video for TLC’s song ‘No Scrubs’. In 2003, she choreographed the video of the song ‘Milkshake’.
Following a seven-year break, she returned to acting and was cast in the short film ‘My Heart Belongs to Data’ (2006), where she played the role of Candis.
Her television career began in 2007, with an American police procedural television series ‘CSI: NY’ where she played the character of Quentin Conrad in the episode ‘The Lying Game’. She also received a leading role in the movie ‘Starrbooty’ (2007), written by drag queen RuPaul. She played the character of Annaka Manners, a billionaire and owner of a cosmetics company.
Candis Cayne appeared in an episode of the television series ‘Sordid Lives: The Series’ in 2008 wherein she played the character of a therapist. She was also offered a Portuguese movie ‘Libanesa Loira’ (2008), she played the character of Libanesa in the movie.
She was cast in a recurring role in the primetime drama series ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ where she played the character of Carmelita Rainer. Her television career began to thrive as she was cast in the ‘Golden Globe Award’ Winning series ‘Nip/Tuck’ (2009). In 2010, she was selected to play the character of Allison Webb in the television series ‘Drop Dead Diva’ (2010).
With a brief break from movies, she reappeared after three years and played herself in the movie ‘Making the Boys’ (2011). The same year, she played the character of Geraldine in the television series ‘Necessary Roughness’. She was then cast by RuPaul in the American reality television series ‘RuPaul’s Drag U’ (2011) where she played herself again.
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Candis Cayne again appeared as herself in the American television comedy series ‘She’s Living for This’ (2012) starring Sherry Vine. She received small roles in a couple of films like ‘Meth Head’ (2012) and ‘Grooms Cake’ (2012).
Being friends, RuPaul once again cast Candis in the reality competition show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’ RuPaul was also the judge of the show in which Candis appeared as herself in four episodes.
After a long lineup of television shows, she was cast in the award winning drama series ‘Elementary’ (2013-2014), where she played the role of Ms. Hudson.
Her most recent movie was ‘Crazy Bitches’ (2014), a multi-starrer horror comedy, where she played the character of Vivianna. She hasn’t been seen in a movie after this, but managed to get a role in the documentary series ‘I Am Cait’ (2015-16), based on Caitlyn Jenner, a real-life transgender, TV persona, and gold medalist decathlete.
Cayne’s latest television works include ‘Heartbeat’ (2016), an American medical drama series, and ‘The Magicians’ (2017).
Candis Cayne played a recurring character in the primetime drama series ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ (2007-2008), where she portrayed a transgender character Carmelita Rainer. It was an all-star cast starring Donald Sutherland, Peter Krause, William Baldwin, Seth Gabel, and many others. The series was created by Craig White and produced by multiple production houses like ‘ABC studios’ and ‘Bad Hat Harry Productions.’
She received praise for appearing as herself in the documentary series ‘I am Cait’ (2015), which was based on the actual life of the transgender personality Caityln Jenner. Both played themselves in the documentary.
Candis Cayne had been in a relationship with DJ Marco McDermott in the past; during the relationship, she formed a close bond with his daughter Satori from his previous relationship. The couple got separated in 2010.
She has been a spokesperson and an activist for the community ‘The Last Great Minority’ and also supports the ‘Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation’, an American non-governmental media monitoring organization. She partnered with the LGBT organization MOOVZ in 2015 and serves as the global creative director of that organization.