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Former NZ Idol contestant Nik, now Nikki, heads to South Korea for voice feminisation surgery

Meet Nikki Lee Carlson - you might remember her as Nik from NZ Idol.

A decade after that 2005 appearance, Nik underwent gender reassignment surgery, to become Nikki Lee.

Now, three years later, she's taking on another huge change - voice feminisation surgery.

"It's a very big insecurity for many transgender people. You can make yourself look as feminine as possible but when you open your mouth it can be the giveaway," Nikki Lee told 1 NEWS.

But her supporters wish she didn't have to travel internationally, to South Korea, for the operation.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The complex surgery aims to cut out the lower bass tones and give Nikki Lee a naturally higher-pitched voice.

Letting go of her voice is something she's long been preparing for.

"I've been through the emotions of that and I'm just ready to go forth with the surgery and have a new voice that is part of the new me," Nikki Lee said.

She is banned from speaking for a month post-surgery, so her new voice will remain a mystery - for now.

* This story came together with the help of TVNZ 1's Te Karere. 

Nikki Lee Carlson is hoping the surgery will change her voice so it matches her appearance. Source: 1 NEWS