American Vogue has made history by featuring for the first time ever a transgender model in the glossy pages of its May issue.
Andreja Pejic was shot by legendary fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier for a feature entitled “The New World”, which takes a wider issue into “Trans America” and the gender fluidity currently dominating the runways.
“If at the beginning of my career in the modelling industry or half way through it or even this time last year you told me that I would end up having a 4 page feature in American Vogue I would have probably told you ‘oh I dunno about that… So you can only imagine what I’m feeling right now,” wrote the 23-year-old transgender model on an Instagram post to announce his breakthrough appearance on the magazine.
While you wouldn’t expect to see this sort of thing in Vogue, this is just another example of how fashion is breaking all the norms and embracing diversity even further. It is also a clever move to reach the more of 700,000 transgender Americans, as this subject plays a larger role in American culture today -think of actress Laverne Cox, from Netflix’s original series Orange is The New Black.
When Pejic announced she’d undergo surgery last year, she toldPeople: “I want to share my story with the world because I think I have a social responsibility… I hope that by being open about this, it becomes less of an issue.”
Transgender modelling, however, is not a new thing. It has slowly been introduced into the industry, from Pejic’s fellow model Lea T, who has been Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci’s muse for over five years; to campaigns such as Selfridges’ Agender.
Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and raised in Australia, Pejic has modelled as both man and a woman before undergoing gender surgery last year. She first rose to fame in 2010 when formerParis Vogue editor and founder of CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfeld, featured her in a womenswear editorial shoot. But her versatility has earned her a number of runways during fashion weeks across all four capitals for the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, DKNY and Giles. She has equally fronted a number of campaigns. She’s been long represented by Storm agency, who also looks after Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, but now seems to be represented by The Society NYC.
Following this four-pages editorial in Vogue, Pejic has been confirmed for Giles Deacon’s show later this year and has also landed a beauty campaign for Make Up For Ever, being the first trans-model to score a major cosmetics contract.
While Pejic thanks Anna Wintour, Demarchelier and his agency on Instagram for this breakthrough, many others praise the American publication for opening its pages to a “new world”.