Casey Legler, like many models, is tall (6’2”) with a long lanky torso and really cool hair. She’s also represented by Ford Models… on the men’s board.
In recent seasons, there’s been a lot of gender-related trailblazing in the fashion industry–what with the high profile careers of Andrej Pejic, Lea T and Stav Strashko (of that Toyota commercial)–but finally a woman is breaking those same boundaries.
Legler grew up tall and started swimming competitively in her native France (even qualifying for the Olympic games at 18). She moved to New York to pursue a career in art and broke into the modeling world when a friend, photographer Cass Bird, needed a male model for a Muse editorial. Ford saw the photos the next day and signed Legler soon after.
Legler shot a short video interview with TIME in which she reflects on her unexpected career move and on the broader subjects of “gender identify,” the kind of clinical term she’s hesitant to employ (preferring more open language about freedom and expression):
“I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other. But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something.”
She adds elsewhere,
“What I wish is that we all get to be exactly who we are. And… sometimes that’s complicated. […] We have very specific ways in which we identify ourselves as men or women. And I think sometimes those can be limiting. It would be a lovely place if we didn’t necessarily judge or jump to conclusions because someone wants to wear a dress or wants to wear pants.”
And, remarkably photogenic though she may be, she’s also quick to acknowledge the debt she owes to Pejic and his peers: “Andrej is gorgeous. In many ways I come ushered in by that.” Regardless of how she got here, we’re glad to have her.
Oh, and here she is as photographed by Michael Donovan: