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Top 10 Transgender Models Who Are Changing the Fashion Industry

Without a doubt, the fashion industry still has strides to make in terms of transgender representation. However, progress is evident. Recently, big names such as Victoria’s Secret and Chanel have featured openly transgender models as key figures, showing that change is indeed happening, albeit gradually.

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Ultimately, the focus should be on the models themselves. These individuals have persisted despite enduring years of society’s discrimination and the industry’s lack of acceptance. Thankfully, they continued, and today, they stand as some of the most influential agents for change in the industry. Here, we highlight nine transgender models who are making significant impacts in both fashion and entertainment. Keep reading to meet them all.

Ariel Nicholson

"Ariel Nicholson: Trailblazing transgender model championing diversity in fashion."
“Ariel Nicholson: A trailblazing transgender model championing diversity in fashion.”

Nicholson, known for her roles as a writer, activist, and model, graced the cover of American Vogue’s September issue. The photograph features her alongside notable models like Bella Hadid at the Vogue offices in New York. This groundbreaking cover was significant as it was the first time a transgender person was featured on the cover of a fashion magazine.

“I’ve been categorized as a ‘trans model,’ which I am, but that label doesn’t define all of who I am,” Nicholson shared with Vogue. “While being the first trans woman on Vogue’s cover is undeniably important, it’s challenging to articulate the full impact of this milestone since its effects are somewhat intangible.”

Furthermore, she has also been on the cover of Italian Vogue and made history as the first transgender model to walk in a Calvin Klein fashion show, participating in their Spring/Summer 2018 event while still in her sophomore year of high school.

Valentina Sampaio

Valentina Sampaio
“Valentina Sampaio: Pioneering transgender model transforming the fashion industry.”

In 2017, Valentina Sampaio garnered attention by becoming the first openly transgender model to feature on the cover of Vogue Paris. Her appearances on the covers of German and Brazilian Vogue followed this groundbreaking event.

“The world has made significant strides for transgender individuals in recent years,” Sampaio told Buzzfeed in 2017. “My cover is another small yet crucial step that demonstrates we can be Vogue cover girls. The fashion industry serves as a platform to champion diversity, where norms are more fluid, and perceptions of beauty continue to evolve. Fashire represents a more liberated world.”

In 2019, Sampaio disclosed her collaboration with Victoria’s Secret, less than a year after the company’s CMO stated they would not hire a trans model.

In 2020, she made history once more by becoming the first trans model to feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

“The team at SI has created another innovative issue by bringing together a diverse group of multitalented, beautiful women thoughtfully and respectfully,” she told Vogue in 2020. “I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this.”

Nathan Westling

Nathan Westling
“Nathan Westling: Boldly redefining masculinity as a leading transgender male model.”

Nathan Westling, previously known as Natalie, stands out as one of the most prominent transgender male models in fashion. His impressive journey of transitioning marks not only a personal victory but also a significant moment in the visibility of transgender people in mainstream media.

Nathan’s distinguished career includes collaborations with renowned designers and fashion houses like Marc Jacobs, Versace, Prada, and Chanel. His appearances on runways and in major fashion campaigns have demonstrated his adaptability and skill, while also emphasizing the necessity of diversity and inclusion in the fashion world. Nathan Westling’s narrative continues to motivate many, overcoming obstacles and setting new benchmarks in an often rigid industry.

Andreja Pejić

Andreja Pejić
“Andreja Pejić: Iconic transgender model breaking barriers and challenging fashion norms.”

Andreja Pejić, an Australian model, has been a pioneer in the fashion world, challenging conventional gender roles with her innovative career. Renowned for her distinctive androgynous appearance, Andreja has collaborated with prominent fashion labels, redefining what it means to be a model today.

By working with top designers and participating in renowned fashion shows, she has significantly contributed to the increased acceptance and representation of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the industry. Through her strong presence and advocacy, Andreja Pejić continues to inspire and reshape the standards of beauty and identity in fashion.

Indya Moore

Indya Moore
“Indya Moore: Empowering transgender actors andmodels andl revolutionizing representation in media.”

Indya Moore, an American model, has emerged as a trailblazer in the fashion realm, breaking through obstacles and championing better representation for transgender models. Renowned for its vibrant presence and strong advocacy, Indya passionately works to emphasize the significance of diversity and inclusiveness in the fashion world.

Beyond the catwalk and photo shoots, they leverage their platform to address issues impacting the transgender community. Indya Moore’s efforts have not only paved the way for other transgender models but have also initiated vital discussions on identity, acceptance, and equality both within and outside the fashion industry.

Chella Man

Chella Man
“Chella Man: Deaf, transgender artist and activist advocating for intersectional visibility.”

Chella Man, a deaf and transgender model and artist, has brought a unique perspective that has had a substantial impact on the evolution of the fashion industry. Through his diverse work, he questions traditional beauty standards and supports increased inclusivity and representation for marginalized groups.

His role in the industry not only emphasizes the complex nature of identity but also sheds light on the lives of deaf and transgender people. Chella Man’s artistic pursuits and modeling career inspire many, contributing to a more inclusive and varied fashion environment.

Laith Ashley

Laith Ashley
“Laith Ashley: Pioneering transgender model and activist championing LGBTQ+ representation.”

Laith Ashley, a transgender male model, has gained recognition in the fashion world with his distinct looks and commanding presence on the runway. His confident and dynamic appearances have drawn considerable attention, breaking stereotypes and redefining traditional concepts of masculinity and beauty.

Laith’s achievements and prominence in major fashion campaigns and shows have been pivotal in fostering acceptance and awareness of transgender individuals. Through his work, Laith Ashley continues to promote greater diversity and inclusion in modeling, inspiring many with his story and accomplishments.

Aaron Rose Philip

Aaron Rose Philip
“Aaron Rose Philip: A Groundbreaking Transgender and Disabled Model Transcending the Fashion Industry.”

Aaron Rose Philip, who identifies as nonbinary, has been garnering attention with his bold fashion sense and relentless advocacy. Renowned for shattering barriers in the fashion world, Aaron has become a key figure at New York Fashion Week, presenting a distinct presence and challenging traditional beauty norms.

Their efforts emphasize the significance of diversity and inclusion, serving as a source of inspiration by representing disabled and nonbinary individuals in mainstream fashion. Aaron Rose Philip’s path and activism continue to fuel meaningful discussions about representation and equity, making him an influential and inspiring individual in the industry.

Alex Consani

Alex Consani
“Alex Consani: A rising transgender model redefining beauty standards in fashion.”

Alex Consani, a nonbinary model, has been captivating the fashion industry with his remarkable presence and unwavering self-assurance. Known for their distinctive style and individuality, Alex defies traditional beauty standards and challenges the norms of fashion.

Their courage and genuineness have made them a prominent figure in an industry that increasingly values diversity and inclusiveness. Alex Consani’s contributions not only honor nonbinary identities but also motivate others to be true to themselves, fostering a more accepting and open-minded community.

MiMi Tao

MiMi Tao
“Mimi Tao: A trailblazing transgender model breaking stereotypes and embracing diversity in fashion

MiMi Tao, a transgender woman, has made a significant impact in the modeling world, utilizing her platform to emphasize the importance of visibility and acceptance for transgender models. Her perseverance and tenacity highlight the challenges and accomplishments that transgender people face in a cutthroat field.

MiMi’s collaborations with several high-profile fashion brands and her presence on prominent runways have not only showcased her remarkable skill but also highlighted the necessity for more diversity and inclusiveness in the sector. Through her motivational story and thriving career, MiMi Tao continues to pave the way for upcoming generations of transgender models, advocating for a more inclusive and representative fashion industry.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the most famous transgender woman?

Laverne Cox is a three-time Emmy-nominated actress, an Emmy-winning documentary film producer, and a strong campaigner for equal rights. She became well-known for her role as Sophia Burset in the highly acclaimed Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black.”
Laverne was the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a Primetime acting Emmy. She has also featured on the covers of TIME, Cosmopolitan, and Essence publications. Laverne is an artist, advocate, and a forceful voice for transcending beyond gender norms and living truthfully.

Which is the first transgender model agency?

Slay Model Management was founded in 2016 as the world’s first and only agency that solely represents transgender models. Their models have been featured in prominent campaigns such as Pop Beauty, Vogue Germany, and Savage X Fenty.

Whose transgender models are changing the fashion industry?

Katelynn’s work in the fashion business has underlined the value of diversity and representation. By breaking into a historically closed business, she has opened the door for other transgender models to pursue their careers freely and truthfully.
Katelynn’s activism goes beyond modeling, as she continues to utilize her platform to raise awareness about problems impacting the transgender community, influencing the fashion industry’s attitude toward diversity and representation. Katelynn Cusanelli’s initiatives have helped to make the fashion industry more open and tolerant, motivating others to embrace their real selves.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.

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