• Tue, Nov 6 2012

Transgender ‘Top Model’ To Be First ‘Top Model’ To Work In Fashion

Okay, okay–plenty of ladies from America’s Next Top Models have had something to do with fashion. But it’s rare that any of them do much more than other embarrassing shows and a couple commercials. In truth, Tyra Banks’ show does little for its contestants than jump start their reality TV careers and entertain whomever watches ANTM (apparently, somebody with a lot of network influence still is) with tall, thin twenty-somethings jumping on trampolines while smizing until their eyes bleed.

In any case, Isis King, the first transgender contestant of ANTM–which, I might argue, is probably the only thing ANTM is done so far that benefited other people besides Tyra and The CW–will soon be coming out with her very own fashion line. According to Huffington Post:

“Now I’m just really wanting the world to see my first talent,” King told OUT magazine, which named her to its OUT100 List for 2012. King is designing her own collection, although she’d rather not call it that: “I don’t want to push myself and say I’m showing a ‘collection’ and get so nervous about it. I think I’ll say I’m showing a ‘presentation,’” she joked to the mag.

First of all, I think it’s kind of snazzy that she’s being confident in her abilities without the obnoxious self-congratulatory attitude that pervades just about every reality star ever’s personality.

Hi.

Second, I’m really excited about this line. In part, it’s because I think King has a great fashion sense, I’m interested in what her “presentation” will look like and I’m optimistic about it. Another part of me, however, is incredibly excited that a famous transgender person designing opens up a lot of doors that need opening.

For example, there is a painfully small number of transgender models. In the same way that we need more models to represent all sizes, we also need public figures to represent all genders. In order to open people’s minds to beauty that happens to involve a transgender person, there need to be figures in mainstream fashion that show it. When a small child sees an adult on the cover of a magazine whom they can relate to, they’re more likely to know that being transgender isn’t some freakish abnormality and that it’s never something to be ashamed of.

I remember reading Bobbi Brown: Teenage Beauty as a kid and the way that Brown describes the first time she saw a model whom she could relate to, being a tan brunette surrounded by images of pale blondes. It’s a relief to see diversity and change, as it allows us to know not only are many people similar to us, there are many people different than us and both are to be accepted and beloved.

Image via WENN.

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  • http://oatc.livejournal.com/ oatc

    “Another part of me, however, is incredibly excited that a famous transgender person designing opens up a lot of doors that need opening. For example, there is a painfully small number of transgender models. In the same way that we need more models to represent all sizes, we also need public figures to represent all genders. In order to open people’s minds to beauty that happens to involve a transgender person, there need to be figures in mainstream fashion that show it. When a small child sees an adult on the cover of a magazine whom they can relate to, they’re more likely to know that being transgender isn’t some freakish abnormality and that it’s never something to be ashamed of.”

    You badly misunderstand trans children; as a woman who was one please let me tell you our shame is at being a sex we should never have been, so can never be ended in the way you suggest, only lessened by children being forced to spend less time, and be mistreated less, before being enabled to transition and have the body we need. That shame is part of the dyphoria that characterizes the condition with which we seem to be born, and which is often clear in only our second year of life. Those we relate to are girls and women (or boys and men in the case of those born female), not people who are known for having been the wrong sex, and will never be known just as the sex we need to be, and eventually, with good fortune, become.

    If you think instead of those who, for some unknown reason, only realize their dysphoria later, and are never as stricken as the children, then, yes, many of them are not driven to simply be that other sex, and they do identify with openly transgender people. Its a huge difference.

    None of which diminishes ones admiration of the character, talent, and determination of Isis King, who has taken herself from homeless youngster to the prospect of being a fashion designer in a very short time, with such grace.