This week's Stars In Their Eyes heat winner Cindy of Samoa has gone mainstream as fa'afafine, something the glbt communities have long known, telling today's Sunday Star-Times readers she's "a woman with extras".
Cindy Filo, 38, appeared on the hit TV talent show this week as her idol Tina Turner, but didn't mention anything about her sexuality or gender during her 'backgrounder' segment.
"I don't believe in that, all the trans-this and trans-that," she told the Star-Times."I'm a woman... a woman with some extras and some women don't have the extras."
But despite that, she says she would have happily talked about the subject: "I was surprised they never asked anything. I thought maybe they're not interested at all in that part... maybe they just want me in the show and that's all they care about."
Stars in Their Eyes host Simon Barnett was aware there was some speculation about Cindy's gender, but says he didn't want to irritate the performer by asking about what might have been a sensitive subject.
"Obviously I was aware, on a personal level, I realised she was very broad shouldered and very tall... when I gave her a little kiss on the cheek it felt a little prickly," he said, adding that she was great fun on the show.
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards says Cindy's gender was not discussed by the network: "In terms of the programme we are interested in contestant talent, not in biology."
Cindy will now appear in the final of Stars in Their Eyes, on TVOne at 8:30pm Tuesday 24 June.