Fashion Shoot’s All-Transgender Crew Breaks Another Barrier

A new campaign from & Other Stories features transgender creatives in front of the camera as well as behind it.
Valentijn de Hingh and Hari Nef in an image from & Other Stories' latest campaign. (Photo: Hari Nef/Instagram)
Aug 16, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for model Hari Nef, who walked the runway earlier this year at New York Fashion Week. Just a month after graduating from Columbia University in May, the 22-year-old made history when she became the first transgender model signed to IMG, the international agency that counts fashion industry titans Gisele Bündchen, Karlie Kloss, Kate Moss, and Milla Jovovich among its client roster.

The New York–based model and actor is about to get an even bigger boost as the new face of & Other Stories, H&M’s sister brand. Nef stars in the upcoming series of ads alongside Netherlands-born transgender model Valentijn de Hingh. It’s the latest fashion campaign to spotlight transgender models, but it’s also significant for its employment of an all-transgender crew, which could be a first for a campaign of this size.

RELATED: America’s First Transgender Modeling Agency Is Set to Launch This Summer

“The fashion world is embracing transgender models, and we think that’s great,” the brand’s creative director, Sara Hilden Bengtsson, said in a press release. “But we couldn’t help [but] ask ourselves how the traditional fashion gaze can change if we keep the same normative crew behind the camera. So we invited five amazing creatives, all transgender, to make our latest story.” The crew included photographer Amos Mac, stylist Love Bailey, and makeup artist Nina Poon.

The campaign comes on the heels of several high-profile fashion and beauty campaigns featuring transgender women. The Australian model Andreja Pejić is the new face of Make Up For Ever, teenage reality TV star Jazz Jennings starred in a recent Clean & Clear commercial, and Brazilian model Lea T is a spokesperson for Redken.

But even as Nef’s star continues to rise in the fashion world, she remains keenly aware of the greater challenges facing transgender women in America, who disproportionately face violence and discrimination. On Saturday, the model tweeted, “Three trans women of color have been found dead this week so I’m just wondering when the rest of y’all are gonna decide to freak out too.”

She was referring to Elisha Walker, the 20-year-old transgender woman whose body was found in a grave in Johnston County, North Carolina, during the same week that the body of 22 year-old Shade Schuler was identified in Dallas and 35-year-old Kandis Capri was fatally shot in Phoenix.