Consider It in ‘Vogue’: Fashion Mag Features Its First Transgender Model

In a fashion first, the exclusive magazine discusses gender fluidity with trans woman Andreja Pejic.

Andreja Pejic. (Photo: Andreja Pejic/Facebook)

Apr 23, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

Actor Carey Mulligan’s demure half-smile and the promise of new spring styles might be what first catches a fashionista’s eye about the May Vogue, but the real news in next month’s issue is the inclusion of model Andreja Pejic—the first transgender model ever profiled in the high-fashion publication.

In the four-page story titled “Has the Fashion Industry Reached a Transgender Turning Point?”, Pejic tells the story of being born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, immigrating to Australia, and the struggle to come to terms with her identity.

“Society doesn’t tell you that you can be trans,” the 23-year-old model told Vogue.

Pejic has strutted down the runway in both menswear and women’s clothes for top designers such as Galliano, Marc Jacobs, and Jean Paul Gaultier. She marketed herself as a gender-neutral model until last year, when she came out as transgender and underwent gender confirmation surgery.

Pejic was also recently named the face of Make Up For Ever, joining transgender models Lea T (of hair product line Redken) and Jazz Jennings (of soap line Clean and Clear) to represent women’s body care products.

While Pejic has been working in the highly competitive print and runway fashion world for the past five years, she’s still faced a litany of discrimination and abuse from the unforgiving industry. One agent even told her, “It’s better to be androgynous than a tranny,” Vogue reports.

There are more than 20 different Vogue publications around the world that cater to audiences in Italy, Greece, and Brazil, to name a few. Yet, the magazine’s pages everywhere have long been criticized for a lack of diversity. Predominantly white faces greet readers on the covers. The publication appears to be making a concerted effort to become more inclusive, albeit slowly, with Vogue Paris putting a black model on its cover for the first time in five years in May, and the U.K. cover featuring a black model for the first time in 12 years in February.

Including Pejic’s story is another indication that the publication is broadening its definition of beauty and womanhood. And since Vogue is so often referred to as the “fashion bible,” featuring Pejic’s story is not only an individual win but a boon for the entire transgender community.

That’s certainly how Pejic sees the feature. She celebrated the news on her Instagram account, thanking the editors for choosing her and “more importantly for representing a whole social minority and an often forgotten community of women in such an important publication and opening doors for the rest of the fashion industry to do so!”