Supermodel Andreja Pejic has shot for Paris Vogue, walked for Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith, and many, many more. In Vogue‘s May issue, she shares the story of her gender transition, which the fashion world witnessed in real time as she was cast to model first as male, then as an androgynous model, and now as a woman. As the new face of Make Up For Ever, Pejic is one of the first transgender models to score a major beauty campaign.
She spoke to Vogue about the acceptance of gender fluidity and transgender identity in society.
“There are just more categories now. It’s good. We’re finally figuring out that gender and sexuality are more complicated. There was definitely a lot of ‘Oh, you’re going to lose what’s special about you [if you transition instead of working as androgynous]. You’re not going to be interesting anymore. There are loads of pretty girls out there.”
Pejic’s success story – Vogue profile and Make Up For Ever contract included – underscores fashion’s influence on the general public. Gene Kogan, codirector of the men’s division at DNA Model Management, which represented Pejic until recently, told Vogue that she has brought perspective to the industry:
“She has done what no other model has ever been able to: toe the line between male and female successfully for a long time. Andreja had an extraordinary career as a male model, often modeling female clothes; she pulled it off. It opened a lot of eyes and made people see things from a new perspective. We’re going to see her influence for years to come.”
Pejic’s profile is brought down to Earth with statistics from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted in 2011, which found that 90 percent of trans people said they have dealt with discrimination at work, and almost 20 percent reported being denied a place to live. Forty-one percent have attempted suicide. Awareness like this is a good place to start the healing.