If you’ve seen a few seasons of America’s Next Top Model you already know, androgyny can sell. Whether it’s Jeffree Starr’s new makeup line or the “masculine couture” clothing of HauteButch, trans and gender nonconforming models are in the spotlight of an industry that sells beauty and sex.
Australian model Andreja Pejić, 25 appears on the cover of GQ Portugal’s April edition, and she’s not above rubbing it in.
“I'd say this cover represents me getting my long-awaited revenge on all those boys who didn't wanna hold hands in public when I was finding out about love for the first time,” the Bosnian-born Pejić said about her cover shot on Instagram.
Related: SFGN's Transgender Special Issue
The chick has bragging rights. She’s walked in men’s and women’s shows for Jean-Paul Gautier and Mark Jacobs, and her covers include Vogue, Elle, and Allure. She got to appear with David Bowie in the video for 2013’s "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)." Pejić discussed her transgender identity, and going through surgery in a 2013 article in People.
“I always dreamt of being a girl,” said Pejić. “One of my earliest memories is spinning around in my mom’s skirt trying to look like a ballerina.” Pejić said things changed when she was 9, and started getting cues from her brothers and her friends at school.
“I wanted to be a good kid and I wanted to please my parents,” she said, so she participated in boys’ sports. “I kept my dreams and my imagination to myself and became pretty good at acting as a boy. But I was hiding who I was.”
On the covers of the Vogue Paris March issue is Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio. It wasn’t Sampaio’s first cover, she was featured on Elle Brazil in November. But she is the first trans model to appear on the cover of the French Vogue.
Now four years into her modeling career, 19-year-old Sampaio has been described as shy, and does little press, but she has walked in Milan fashion week and is a L’Oréal brand ambassador. Sampaio came out as trans in a YouTube video, on International Woman’s Day – as part of a L’Oréal campaign — with the tagline "It comes from the soul. I love being a woman."
Taking the makeup artist from behind the camera to in front of it, internet celeb with 4.7 million Instagram followers, Jeffree Star released his “Androgyny” eyeshadow palette $45, with shades named “fetish” “dominatrix” “safe word” and “swallow” — featured in Glamour magazine in March.
Cosmo debuted the latest collaboration between Star and Boy Beauty Vlogger Manny MU, featuring the lines “Skin Frost” highlighters, $29 in a variety of tones and “Velour” liquid lipsticks – in shades like “Daddy,” a matte taupe and “I’m Shook” a medium coral color, for $18-- just last week.
Mua became Maybelline’s first male model, starring in their “Big Shot” mascara campaign in February. This was shortly after Cover Girl debuted their first Cover Boy, high school student James Charles, in October.