Daniielle Alexis couldn’t be more excited to tell her story.
“Thank goodness you’re here – I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!” Daniielle exclaims when Woman’s Day arrives at her home in Perth.
Daniielle stars as Dana Malouf, the new inmate in Season Five of the hit prison drama Wentworth.
And her debut TV role has given her the confidence to reveal a secret she’s long been keeping.
“My original name was Shayne and I was born a boy,” she says immediately, relief creeping across her face. “And I can finally say that name and feel safe that I’m not about to get teased.”
It’s been a long road to this point for the 31-year-old actress.
“I’ve felt like a girl on the inside from the very start,” admits Danii, who juggles a part-time job as a gym manager in the Pilbarra in northern WA with her acting career in Melbourne.
“Mum understood and never tried to change me. I grew my hair, wore colourful clothing, collected My Little Ponies and was dancing and performing from when I was four.
“Dad, however, never supported my feminine pursuits, and when he bought me a yellow boy’s mountain bike for my fifth birthday, I bawled my eyes out, wondering why I was being punished.”
“He got annoyed and thought I was ungrateful, but it was his way of trying to get me thinking like a boy,” she says.
It didn’t work and soon after, Shayne told his mother that when he grew up, he was going to be a girl.
By Year Seven, he felt different from his peers. His hair was long, he used the disabled bathrooms and he always sat down on the toilet.
Danii says her peers didn’t accept her. “When I dressed as a girl and wore makeup, I knew it needed to happen behind closed doors.”
To read more on Daniielle’s incredible story, get the new issue of Woman’s Day – on sale now!