Australian drag performer Tomi Grainger has detailed the nerve-wracking moment they were detained at Los Angeles Airport because TSA couldn’t find their resemblance to their passport photo.
Tomi, who uses they/them pronouns, performs in and out of drag for their thousands of social media followers.
In an Instagram video, they claimed they were about to board a flight home to Australia after a Los Angeles holiday for Pride Month. But at customs, TSA officials pulled them aside.
Just two months ago, Tomi was also held up at Sydney Airport because of a very similar passport issue.
“I’m finally about to board my flight when I am once again detained at the airport,” Tomi said.
“This time, the same situation [as Sydney], they don’t recognise my passport photo.
“So I go through TSA, go through everything else, but they do another security check now at some of the airport as you’re boarding the flight.”
Grainger claimed they were “pulled aside” right before boarding the plane by a suspicious security official.
“They said, ‘We’ll just see your passport. This doesn’t look like you’,” Tomi recalled.
Tomi added the “only way” they would make the flight was to show the official media articles about them to prove their identity.
Tomi Grainger explained their passport picture was taken eight years ago, when they were 22.
When they were issued the passport, it had a 10-year expiry date. But in the eight years, Tomi says they’ve transformed their face with $50,000 worth of plastic surgery.
The drag performer said their trip home was already held up for a week prior to the airport delay, because of flight cancellations and delays.
“Seven days of plane dramas and my face is once again the final hurdle,” they said.
Tomi agreed with Instagram followers who urged them to order a fresh passport with an updated photo.
‘Low key freaking out’ at Sydney Airport
Tomi Grainger said the same thing happened at Sydney Airport in May.
The drag performer said the automatic facial recognition scanners wouldn’t let them through and they were “low key freaking out”.
“[An official] holds up my passport, looks at my face. She’s like frowning a lot and keeps doing it,” they recalled.
“It’s been a couple of minutes. I’m awkwardly standing there.
“She then walks off with my passport and goes to the head of security.
“And the two of them are just standing there talking about me, looking at this photo, shaking their head, frowning.
“And I’m like s__t, they’re not gonna let me through.
Tomi continued, “I realise I don’t look like the person in my passport photo anymore because I’ve had so much plastic surgery.
“So I end up having to say to them, ‘Look, I’ve had some plastic surgery, I had a facelift.’
“And only then did they let me through. This is hilarious.”
@tomi.queen Should have gotten that new passport #passport #travel #airport #funny ♬ original sound – Tomi 🌈
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