At the Television Critics Association winter previews Thursday, a reporter asked Caitlyn Jenner what advice she would give to her younger self.
"I've only been a girl for nine months," the most high-profile person trans person in the world said.
No, explained her colleagues from her show I Am Cait, which included Chandi Moore, Candis Cayne, Jennifer Finney Boylan and newcomer Ella Giselle. The question was, What would you say to your younger self - not other trans girls. "My younger self, " Jenner said for the first time of many, seemingly unable to wrap her head around the idea. It was an apt metaphor for the befuddlement many have had with Jenner since she went public with her transition not even a full year ago.
It's been a rocky road for her to be sure - from settling a fatal car accident case, to forging a new path with ex-wife Kris on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, to being derided for sometimes shocking comments about gay marriage or her disdain for trans women looking "like a man in a dress."
Jenner admits she has plenty of work to do, a process we ostensibly see play out more in Season 2. "I have so much to learn," she said, "about trans issues, about womanhood. Transitioning is not easy, especially in the public eye."
It sure isn't. And while Jenner is rightfully commended for the unthinkable bravery required to completely transform an entire existence, it's also clear that some of her glaring contradictions aren't going away anytime soon. She told the reporters, for example, she's not a spokesperson for an entire community — at one point using the term "spokesman," if you can believe it — and then essentially saying the exact opposite. "I want to change people's thinking on this issue," she said. "I feel like we opened this conversation, that it's OK to talk about trans issues."
There's no other way around it: Caitlyn is confusing. Of course, that's completely OK, and it will no doubt make for compelling - if occasionally infuriating - TV this season. This go-round, we'll see Caitlyn and her pals tour American cities including Sante Fe., N.M; Tulsa, Okla; Chicago, Kansas City and New Orleans and Des Moines, Iowa - meeting fans and people from small-town LGBT groups along the way. They said they were embraced, even in small cities, where you'd assume a gaggle of trans women would be greeted with hostility.
"We went to some of the greatest trucks tops in America," Jenner joked, either embracing or blissfully unaware of the trans prostitute-at-a-truck stop stereotype. "We were never in danger." Co-star Moore agreed, saying that, despite her LA upbringing, she had the best time in Iowa. "I never thought it would turn out so well." Even being on a bus for 10 and 12 hours, "the girls," as Jenner called them, never felt like ripping out each other's throats. "That never happened," Moore said. "It was so much fun being able to bond. We genuinely all like each other."
It'll be nice to see some plain-old girl gabbing, given the extraordinary pressure and attention put on Jenner - mostly because of her Kardashian-ness. She said she never courted the spotlight but simply had to walk into it since tabloids were making her life hell. "For almost my entire life I never really liked going out. I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I was more of a loner. Now, after transitioning, I actually really enjoy going out." Soon, we'll see her continue that journey, literally.
Season 2 of I Am Cait premieres March 6 at 9/8c on E! Watch the trailer for the new season below.