When model and former Asia’s Next Top Model host Joey Mead married successful motel and automobile entrepreneur Ian King back in 2011, they quickly became the Philippines’ It couple. Fast-forward to 2016, the couple announced Ian’s transition to Angelina King. There were struggles, but love takes precedence and Joey was nothing but supportive of the decision.
“I’m not fazed by how Ian, Angie, my wife, my partner, my soulmate – all these titles – I’m not fazed by how you will look,” Joey told Rogue in 2016. “I just see that I love you. And that’s how it’s always been.”
The two are now stronger than ever and are set to share their unconventional love story with their fans in TLC original series The Kings. ELLE spoke to them ahead of the show’s 22 June premiere.
Congratulations on your TV show! Are you excited to see it?
Joey Mead King: Thank you. We’ve seen it! This documentary we’re doing together is a very meaningful presentation that we’re sharing with everybody. What we’d really hope for would be for someone in the LGBT community who is too afraid to be themselves; we hope that what we share makes that person feel that they shouldn’t be living in fear.
It’s been over a year since Angelina announced herself as transgender. How has the journey been for the both of you?
Angelina King: The journey before transitioning and announcing it was the hardest part of the whole thing. Everything after the transition has actually been very easy. After the transition, it’s the first months leading to the coming out which is always the hardest for any transgender person.
What made you decide that this was the right time to have a documentary?
JMK: Well, it’s a chain of events. We had previous offers – when Angie came out there was a barrage of people also wanting it [the story]. I felt it was too soon. After a few months, a producer friend of mine, Joan Leong, wanted to meet with us. It felt comfortable and I think that’s the most important thing. We spoke about the show and I just felt that we were able to communicate a lot easier with Joan. From there, Joan put the pitch up and TLC had been one of the channels that were interested from earlier on. I’m very happy because TLC is the perfect platform for a story like ours.
What are some challenges that you faced, both in your relationship and transitioning?
AK: The biggest challenge that I faced was the decision to start taking hormones and take the transition seriously because, once you start taking hormones, it alters your body and mind. You wouldn’t do this to yourself if you weren’t sure. Besides the coming out, I think, the biggest challenge is internally debating in your head: am I trans enough to transition? Am I ready for this and what comes with it? I need to do this for myself. I guess the only challenge was actually admitting that I’m trans and looking for an endocrinologist to actually help me with the medication so that I’m safe.
Jo was very scared of the backlash we might get from the society, how the media or our friends and family will treat us and it’s funny because none of our major fears actually surfaced. And so far, everything’s been great.
On who has the bigger wardrobe…
JMK: Naturally it’s me. It’s so funny; our home help, we love her, but I think she just gets confused. I’ll be going through Ange’s wardrobe to help her out if we’re going to a dinner or a party and I’ll find my skirt. I’ll find my top. The other day I found my shirt which I thought I had lost. It was on your side. But it’s not her fault, it’s just our home help she’ll say, “Okay, just put it in there, they’ll work it out.”
On travel bucket lists…
JMK: We have so many. It’s always interrupted because Ange has work. She has a business in the U.S. so work is always surrounded by cars. We would love to go to places like Jamaica and I really want to go see London, but most of all, Sweden. The best part of Europe is because this chick gets to drive. When we went to Austria, it works really well for her. I wanted to go to Bahamas…you want to take me to New Zealand.
On the best advice…
JMK: Babe, you always tell me, “just relax.” There’s a lot but –
AK: That’s the best piece of advice you can ever receive.
JMK: For me it’s a fashion thing. When in doubt, black out. If you’re going through your wardrobe and you don’t know what the hell you want to wear, just wear black.
AK: Except for TV.
JMK: That’s the advice I gave you myself. Do you have anything else, honey?
AK: Listen up.
JMK: Listen to your wife.
AK: Happy wife, happy life.
Catch The Kings via TLC’s Facebook page every Thursday, beginning 22 June at 9.05pm. Watch the teasers here.
text MEDINA AZALDIN
This article was originally published on Elle.