In recent years, the fashion industry has made more progress toward inclusive representation of transgender models. Some newer brands like New York City-based label Chromat have included trans models in runway shows and advertising campaigns early on, while other household names have made these changes much later, most notably with Victoria’s Secret hiring its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, in August 2019 (later hiring its first Black transgender model, Emira D’Spain, in February 2022) and Chanel recruiting 25-year-old Teddy Quinlivan as a new beauty face the same year.
These symbolic steps mark a positive shift, although we need to move beyond these surface-level announcements and establish sustainable and long-lasting change. The industry has a long way to go before achieving equitable representation, both externally and internally. But none of the progress made so far would be possible without these models speaking out and challenging the status quo. Even before “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer became the fashion world’s darling or Indya Moore made waves on FX’s “Pose,” these models were owning the catwalks and empowering their followers as activists for the LGBTQ+ community. Ultimately, these trans models are the real change-makers who fought against years of exclusion from the industry. As the fashion industry slowly opens up to more diverse models who are inclusive of all people, we anticipate seeing more of these faces. Read on to learn more about these 22 transgender models making waves in the fashion industry while advocating for increased LGBTQ+ representation.
— Additional reporting by Sarah Wasilak and Shelcy Joseph