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I Am the Tigress

Country: Austria, United States, Germany, Language: English, 80 mins

  • Director: Philipp Fussenegger, Dino Osmanoviç
  • Producer: Philipp Fussenegger, Michael Steinwand

CGiii Comment

Never judge a book by its cover...but, alas, many people do!

How are you perceived? As opposed do you think you are perceived? 

Tischa Thomas has no doubt how she is perceived. She is verbally assaulted on - what sounds like - a daily basis...simply because of the way she looks and how she presents herself. Although...she is not trans, she is subjected to transphobic vitriol...and, that vitriol could easily spill into violence - that is, if she wasn't a mountain of hard-won muscle. The cruelty of cowards!

Tischa Thomas' self-perception is a different story entirely...a fighter, a survivor, a grandmother, an under-appreciated doyenne. She's heterosexual, fierce and realistic...born in 1970, she has to be, every athlete has a sell-by date!

I Am the Tigress is up close and personal, nothing seems to be off limits - although, some things undoubtedly are! Even her less salubrious proclivities are hung out for all to see...obviously staged...but, entertaining in a NSFW sort of way!

Positivity and pragmatism reign supreme in this portrait...even in the face of defeat and derision. Her message is clear, don't mess with this tigress, she'll either eat you or lick all depends on how you present yourself to her!


The(ir) Blurb...

Tischa Thomas cuts a beguiling figure in a tight dress, with strawberry blonde wig and enormous biceps. She is about to leave the US to compete in a bodybuilding competition in Romania, accompanied by her jaded but loyal coach. Her extraordinary transformation from overweight mother-of-three to disciplined athlete and dominatrix speaks volumes about the relationship between gender and race, not least because Tischa is neither trans nor queer. Yet everything about her experience is a pointed commentary on how transphobia, racism and gendered violence are intimately linked. This is a highly unusual film about black womanhood that undercuts and destabilises our perceptions at every turn.