Hollywood gossip shows looking for new angles to cover the reported gender transition of Bruce Jenner are pulling out all the stops while they wait for the big reveal that they say is coming. Entertainment Tonight introduced viewers this week to four trans women "whose experiences with coming out and living post-transition may give insight into what could lie ahead for Bruce Jenner."
"We flew our special correspondent Janet Mock, best-selling transgender author, to Chicago," Nancy O'Dell told viewers Thursday, " to meet with a group of women who have made that transition, to get a glimpse of what may be ahead for Bruce."
The report opens with snazzy music over the scene of a Windy City street. Four women walk toward the camera, and the story cuts to them being interviewed by Mock.
She is well-suited for this task, given her work as a journalist, author of Redefining Realness, and host of MSNBC's So POPular. Her first question: "What does being a woman mean to you?"
"I'm a woman," Jessica Kowalski told Mock. "That's the only word to describe the feeling. I feel like a woman. I am a woman. There's no doubt about it."
Kowalski was joined by Carmen Carrera, whose claim to fame was her appearance on Ru Paul's Drag Race before she transitioned.
"For a long time trans people have always been defined by what's in between their legs," Carrera said. "They have more to offer." Kowalski and Carrera were joined by Kinley Preston and Victory Le.
O'Dell narrated the report, bringing the focus back to the real reason these women are sharing their personal stories: "Jessica, Kinley, Carmen and Victory know firsthand what Jenner is facing. There are moments of loneliness, fear and judgment."
Mock asked the women about their journey into womanhood.
"Oh my gosh, it was such a crazy experience," said Le, telling Mock she was in a gay relationship before transitioning and got dumped.
"I was actually dating this guy at the moment when I was living as a confused gay boy," she said, explaining that was how she identified at the time. "He broke up with me because he said I was just too feminine; that it reminded him of a woman."
Preston's transition was especially challenging. "I ended up homeless on the streets for a couple years," she said. "I didn't have any support systems. I'm from the Midwest. I'm from a very small community where I didn't even know what transgender was. I spent the first couple years of my transition trying to figure out what it meant for me. I didn't have role models. I didn't know trans women."
Kowalski said she had the same problem. "It wasn't until I moved to Florida that I met my first transgender person and was like, 'Wow!' I didn't realize it was OK to be who you want to be. And at that point I felt like, 'There's a word for me! I'm transgender.'"
O'Dell summed up their experience in one sentence: "In the end, the message here is, you have to accept yourself first and hopefully the world will follow."
"This is our reality, this is what it is," said Carrera. "And it's not so different from your own."
Kowalski added, "We're not trying to harm anybody. We're just trying to live our lives. We just want to be happy and we want happiness like everybody else out there. We're not doing anything for attention. We're not pretending. We're not doing any of those things. We're just strictly living our lives how we feel comfortable. And how we feel happy. We just want to show people we're human."
This was Mock's second assignment for ET. In December she interviewed Jeffrey Tambor, the Golden Globe winner, shortly after his nomination for Best Actor for Transparent.
WATCH Janet Mock's interview: