iLaria Bordignon — Trans Business Woman and Lingerie Designer

| Jan 29, 2018

Today we introduce you to one ambitious, vivacious and confident trans woman with a passion for intimate expressions of feminine sensuality, a talent for design, and a feel for silky, soft fabric who is starting a custom-design lingerie boutique she plans to take worldwide. Her name is iLaria Bodignon, and her start-up business is Carezza-Intima located in Los Angeles. Her business isn’t limited by geography, connecting with clients worldwide via the Internet and contracts with retailers.

TGForum recently reached out to iLaria, and she generously gave her time to give thoughtful and candid answers to our questions without reticence about her trans journey and how it ties into her business. It’s not your typical business news piece. Our goal is to take a deeper dive to let our readers get to know the person behind the business. You’ll agree that iLaria is equally beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and her story is inspiring.

Q: Let’s start at the beginning of your trans journey. At what point in your life did you first realize you were not the gender assigned to you at birth, and what was that experience like for you?

iLaria Bodignon

A: Between the ages of three and six I had no conception that I actually was born the sexual gender male. My Italian mother (who admittedly wanted a girl for her second child) accepted my obviously feminine expressions and actively encouraged them. I recall spending time with her learning to walk properly in her heels with a book on my head, helping her with her seamstressing and learning all forms of proper feminine etiquette and decorum. The first inclinations that something was amiss was when my Sicilian father sternly informed me that I was in fact a boy, that I should behave like one, and insisted that my mother cease encouraging  all forms of feminine activities with me.

To say the contradictory parental guidance was confusing was an understatement, in fact, it sowed the seeds for gender dysphoria, which plagued me up until my thirty’s. At the time, the confusion was so disturbing that my childhood intellect was left no recourse but to adhere to my father’s wishes, and I eliminated all aspects of femininity from my childhood world.

It wasn’t until I reached the age of nine, and the initial stages of sexual puberty began to encroach upon me that an unconscious desire to express my femininity began resurfacing. I recall the trigger for this paradigm shift was a school play dress rehearsal in which I tried on a 1960s baby doll dress as part of my costume. As I undid the long, smooth, sexy zip and stepped into the dress, I could feel the smooth rayon lining caressing first my legs, then my upper thighs and finally my whole body. I was overwhelmed with the comforting feminine feeling of the soft inner lining caressing my body, yet feeling utterly exposed as the very short dress barely covered my smooth legs. I felt feminine, vulnerable, yet sensually excited when rediscovered feminine feelings surged throughout my body and mind. It was in that amazing instance, that I had reconnected with my true self and my femininity.

Thus began my life of closeted femininity, and I did my best to conceal my true self from friends and family and only expressed my femininity when I was home alone. I would like to say that in my childhood years there wasn’t the awareness of transgenderism that we enjoy today, and I truly feel that my family is in no way blamed for their decisions to restrict the expression of my femininity in favor of conformity. After all, it was all they knew.

Q: As a child, did you have fantasies or dreams about being the gender with which you identified, and what was that experience like?

A: Absolutely. In fact, I idealized the female friends of our family and in particular my female English schoolteacher. I was mesmerized by their grace and beauty, longingly wanting to feel the clothes they were wearing and essentially wanting to be them. Whenever my schoolteacher would wear a formfitting skirt and satin blouse that subtly revealed the outlines of the lingerie she wore beneath, all I could think about was being her, and feeling her delicious clothes and lingerie sensually caressing my body. To say that it was most distracting is an understatement. I recall having to conceal my obvious “enthusiasm” for her beautiful femininity on many occasions. Eventually, she began to notice my attentions and took to sitting very closely while tutoring me, which only further encouraged my feminine desires.

My only outlet was the rare precious times spent home alone, in which I was able to secretly express my femininity and enjoy sensually dressing up as the girl I wanted to be. They were cherished moments in which I could release my pent up desires and let my true feminine expression free. I so look back on those times with a loving warmth in my heart.

Q: Many gender non-conforming males and females faced verbal and physical abuse growing up and even as adults. How did your family and friends react?

A: Discrimination in many forms was quite prevalent in children during my school years within my typically English grammar school (imagine Hogwarts without the magic). It usually took the ugly form of racial discrimination, but with the combination of my Italian heritage and naturally petite and feminine form, discrimination and aggression was taken to a whole new level.

Several of the most unruly boys took it upon themselves to not only condemn me for the war-time legacy of my previous generation of Italians, but were also doubly motivated to release their discriminatory anger because of my petite and feminine looks. I recall repeatedly being called “Sissy” and “faggot” (from both girls and boys) and receiving several blows to the face from angry boys in which my nose and teeth were broken twice. I will say that admitting this feels quite shaming, yet I feel empowered having survived it, even if somewhat physically and emotionally scarred.

Q: The decision to live as openly transgender can be difficult, if not impossible, for many practical and emotional reasons. When did you decide to “come out,” so to speak, and what was that experience like?

A: My femininity was always internally acknowledged, yet outwardly denied and never discussed by my family until my early 20s. It was then that I first began experimenting with hair and makeup and finally had the most wondrous experience of fully dressing from head to toe as the female that was truly within me. I must say I was taken aback by how beautiful I felt and looked. . . I essentially had become my own sister. My transformation was simply the most exquisite feeling and I revealed my true femininity firstly to my sister and then my elder brother, both of whom totally accepted and welcomed the new feminine me.

I continued to live a closeted crossdressing dual life for several more years until I began hormonal therapy and eventually had a second much easier “outing” to my entire family and my social world as iLaria, the transgendered female you see before you today.

Q: This kind of courage is admirable, and, as you know, many trans people keep their identities hidden for most of their lives, if not forever. Suffering the depression rejection creates, many give up on transition, or worse, choose to end their life. You chose a brave path to not only be true to yourself, but to start a business around your passions. Do you feel that coming out and being openly trans as a beautiful woman contributed to your confidence to start a business?

A: Firstly, I would like to go a little off topic to say that I don’t consider myself a “woman” per se, for I do not have a womb, and like to consider myself a transgender female. That being said, I truly believe that my confidence is something that has always been there from within. My courage to overcome adversity and to embrace challenges began during my childhood, school years and through my military service. While in the Air Training Corps, I embraced the trials of combat flying, extreme survival strategies and various other authoritarian military challenges. I even entered into a managing partnership with one of our family restaurant businesses, successfully handling a colorful mixture of various Italian and Spanish staff personalities.

I truly believe all these experiences contributed to my resisting the urge to acquiesce to potentially suicidal thoughts revolving around my gender dysphoria. Yet, it truly wasn’t until after hormonal therapy that my gender dysphoria was released, and I felt my true mental harmony and balance as a transgender female. I now feel blessed to express a newfound confidence in a gentler more feminine way, yet, thankfully, still demurely and sometimes seductively empowered as a female.

I must admit pursuing my lifelong passion for enjoying the pleasures of very sexy lingerie through Carezza-Intima has been as much of a challenge as any of my previous experiences. For pursuing one’s passions is something that very few people have the predisposition to actually do, and to succeed will be a dream come true for me.  But, I can say that having my daily working life revolve around wearing, designing and promoting very sexy lingerie is pure pleasure and motivation in itself.

Q: Reading your biographical profile, you seem to have a spiritual side. Many transgender men and women feel a deeper spiritual connection after removing the mask and living openly and authentically. Would you like to say something about your spirituality and philosophy of life?

A: I’m fortunate to have an Italian Renaissance philosophical and scientific family ancestry, which predisposed me to having, one could say, a very logical Aquarian mind. Yet, my fascination with astrophysics, philosophy and my unique understanding of the wonders of the universe led me to find spiritual comfort in that we are all connected to each other and to the wondrously precise complexity of our boundless universe.

When I’m hiking in the beautiful California mountains, and I see nature’s beauty surrounding me, I see the infinite complexity of our universe in every tree, every leaf and in everyone I meet on the trail; and even later, in everyone I meet in my day-to-day life. Yet, when looking into someone’s eyes, I’m comforted to see that there is so much more, and we all carry within our bodies an infinite and timeless soul that will never expire as long as we love it and are true to ourselves and to others around us.

Q: Turning now to your business, what have been your biggest challenges starting Carezza-Intima, tell us about your clients, and how your business offers a unique experience for them.

A: Carezza-Intima’s fundamental philosophy embodies the empowerment of femininity and the liberating expression of feminine sensuality in a way that is quite different from that of America’s somewhat sensually restrictive and, one could say, almost sensually repressed society.

Our lingerie is designed to not only look sexy, but to also feel equally as sensual. We carry the expression of that sensuality in every aspect in the way we work, the way we dress and interact with each other, and in every creative task we do in our workplace. Thus, my biggest challenge has been finding new coworkers and colleagues who are comfortable working in a sensually empowered and liberated environment that is safe, comfortable, open minded, yet maintains healthy boundaries surrounding the way we conduct ourselves as a united, friendly and sometimes openly flirty team.

We offer six uniquely different made-to-measure lingerie brands targeting different ages, body types, ethnicities and genders. All of our customers can enjoy a personal and unique experience with lingerie that compliments their individual mind, body and sensual needs.

Q: How do you market your business, particularly your custom design approach?

A: Actually, I currently have an opening for a marketing and social media guru whom is very passionate about very sexy lingerie. The marketing plans for 2018 and beyond will naturally evolve as Carezza-Intima gains investment and growth. The current plans in place involve being sensually adventurous and bold with our lingerie promotional imagery and videos for both female and transgender models alike.

We want to transform the current sensually restrictive and sometimes even sterilized lingerie media world by introducing beautifully sensual imagery of women and transgender females luxuriating in the empowerment of their sensuality while enjoying the pleasures of our truly sexy lingerie. We will, of course, have models of diverse ethnicities, body types, ages, transgender and cis-females alike showing how our perfectly tailored made-to-measure lingerie beautifully compliments their unique bodies and sensualities.

Q: As a start-up business, capital is essential. How are you going to raise capital and can someone invest in your business?

A: At this stage, Carezza-Intima is ready to receive seed capital and Angel Investments, and with these types of investments, we aim to grow and evolve the company structure to accommodate receiving Venture Capital with the possibilities of active membership within our planned multi-tier company structure.

We also currently have plans set for the latter part of 2018 to launch a crowdfunding endeavor, in which we will promote the funding for our unique “made-to-measure” system. This system will allow us to make all of our lingerie styles available to any body type. It will also be designed to be licensed to other clothing manufacturers so that the fashion industry as a whole can begin to create clothing that fits their customers perfectly. Together we can all reduce the damaging carbon footprint of clothing returns and mismatch sizes. There will, of course, be unique and interesting pledge rewards including getting your hands on some of our truly sexy lingerie and being invited to behind the scenes photo-shoots as well as fashion show experiences.

Q: Do you have words of encouragement for other trans women who may be searching for purpose and determining what they want to do the rest of their lives? Do you have any advice to offer?

A: I think the most important thing I can say to any other trans women or, indeed any closeted crossdressers, is to never deny your femininity for the sake of society’s restrictions, other people’s opinions, relationships or family pressures.  Always remain true to yourself and your feminine empowerment; for when you do, your true path and destiny will always unfold before you, even if you don’t know it at the time.

TGForum thanks iLaria for generously and candidly sharing her personal experience as a trans woman and the exciting news of her new business. Further details will be available in the near future on Carezza-Intima’s website currently under construction. If you’re not shy, go ahead and check out examples of her lingerie being modeled without any inhibition for revealing the beauty of the female form.

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Category: Body & Soul, Community News

About the Author ()

The majority of Beverly Anne Thomas's career has been with Fortune 100 companies, working with the news media, the public and all levels of government. Beverly began as a newspaper reporter after graduating from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Journalism minor. Beverly is currently marketing manager for a local media outlet and resides in the Charlotte, N.C. area. Check out her blog Beverly's Thoughts.

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