August 17, 2021,
The modelling industry is famed for its abrupt attitude when it comes to judging appearances however over the past 10 years the industry has made some great strides forward when it comes to working with a wider variety of models who are more representative and relatable to the general public.
In 2015 Hari Nef took the fashion industry by storm making her debut at New York fashion week and since then we have seen many more transgender models take to the runway and magazine covers
In an industry where looks are everything and models are required to open up to agents and clients about every detail of their appearance, from dress size to shoe size, bikini bodies, hair colour and make up free skin what does it really take to be a transgender model?
It is difficult to give a straight forward answer when each individual journey is so unique and having not had this experience personally, I am wary of making generalisations. However, from where I am standing there does seem to be one commonality and that is that it takes real bravery. I believe that many people who are transgender have been through an emotional and often challenging journey. It is likely that they may have had deeply personal discussions with family, friends and possibly health care professionals. To then have to think about telling work colleagues I can only imagine is another hurdle. So when those work colleagues want to know what you look like totally stripped back, no makeup and in a bikini this requires a hell of a lot of confidence in one’s own skin.
One of our own models who was previously on our female board, is now currently on our men’s board has been particularly brave and outspoken about his journey. I am incredibly grateful that he raised the question of where he should sit on our boards and this has certainly opened up discussion within our agency about how we manage and represent transgender models.
One thing is for sure, with each individual’s situation being unique there is no simple answer. As we explore our options on how to best represent our models, we must remain open and fluid, embracing each change and keep moving forward to being a more inclusive industry.
Andreja Pejic, Nathan Westling and Maxim Magnus are just a few examples of top trans models who have graced Vogue covers and fashion weeks over the past few years.