Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner, Vanity Fair, Magazine, Iconic Celeb Photos

Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

Caitlyn Jenner knows how to make an entrance.

After Vanity Fair introduced her to the world Monday, she joined Facebook and Twitter. For the magazine's July issue, Caitlyn—formerly known as Bruce Jenner—spoke to contributing editor Buzz Bissinger over the course of three months and also did a two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz.

Caitlyn recalls suffering a panic attack on March 16, less than 24 hours after she underwent 10-hour facial-feminization surgery. Before going under the knife, Caitlyn believed the procedure would take about five hours. At the time, she recalls thinking, "What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?"

A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center went over to Caitlyn's house in Malibu. The counselor assured her that such reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing was human and temporary. Today, Caitlyn says those worries no longer exist. "If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, 'You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,' and I don't want that to happen,'" Caitlyn imagines.

(With the release of her Vanity Fair cover on June 1, Caitlyn has chosen to publicly identify as a woman and E! News will refer to her using female pronouns. In stories published prior to this date, Caitlyn was referred to as Bruce and male pronouns were used.)

After years of living as Bruce, Caitlyn now feels able to be a better parent to her children. "I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce," son Burt Jenner says. "I'm very much looking forward to that."

Brandon Jenner was a little taken aback when he saw Caitlyn for the first time post-surgery and she pulled her top up to reveal her new breast implants. "Whoa, I'm still your son," Brandon reminded her.

As part of her transition, Caitlyn started hosting small gatherings at home called "girls' nights" with wine and food, where she could dress as desired and feel natural in the presence of women. It was there that her eldest daughter, Cassandra Jenner, met Caitlyn for the first time. "I was just nervous that I wouldn't make her feel comfortable," Cassandra says. "I was worried I wouldn't say the right things or act the right way or seem relaxed...We talked more than we ever have. We could just be girls together."

Caitlyn looks forward to hosting more girls' nights "where everybody is treating you the same way." The best part of the parties, she says, is being able to "talk about anything you want to talk about. You can talk about outfits. You can talk about hair and makeup, anything you want. It becomes not a big deal."

After her special with Diane Sawyer aired, Caitlyn felt "free" to be herself in public. "It's exciting to go to the mailbox, because I get letters every day from all of these people from all over the world," she says.

Though many people have already embraced Caitlyn, others remain skeptical. "'Oh, she's doing a stupid reality show. She's doing it for the money. She's doing this, she's doing that.' I'm not doing it for money. I'm doing it to help my soul and help other people," Caitlyn says. "If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that. Yeah, this is a business. You don't go out and change your gender for a television show. OK, it ain't happening. I don't care who you are...I'm not doing this to be interesting. I'm doing this to live."

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