Aaron Philip, who is a transgender, black and disabled teenager, signed on with Elite Model Management, which represents several top models in the industry.
“I’m signed to @elitenyc!,” she tweeted on Sept. 1. “Thank you so much for supporting me thru my journey to make the fashion world more inclusive."
i’m signed to @elitenyc! thank you so much for supporting me thru my journey to make the fashion world more inclusive. this hasn’t been easy, but we did it! i’m so excited & grateful to work hard and share this new chapter of my life with you all ❤️🥂 pic.twitter.com/X7d05rS379— aaron (@aaronphilipxo) September 1, 2018
Following the announcement, she took to Them.us where she wrote an essay about this new experience.
“My name is Aaron Philip,” she wrote. “I’m 17 years old, I live in the Bronx, and I’m about to be a senior in high school! I identify as a gender-nonconforming trans woman who uses she/her pronouns. I also have cerebral palsy and use a motorized wheelchair to get around. As of September 1, I’m also one of Elite New York City’s newest models, and am about to participate in my first season in New York.”
She hopes to contribute more to the fashion industry than just her modeling skills.
“I enter the fashion world with intentions of making the industry more diverse, inclusive, and accessible. I have never seen a physically disabled supermodel or a Black transfeminine model heralded, celebrated, or even working in the way other models are — and I hope to change that.”
She wishes to bring more representation to the table — something she did not have much of herself while growing up.
“This lack of representation and visibility in fashion has deeply affected me throughout my life, and has driven me to take matters into my own hands to carve a space and try to provide opportunity for members of my community in this field. And while this might sound inspiring to some, to me it’s simply a matter of showing the world something different, and opening people’s minds — especially in fashion, where there’s a fine line between art and consumerism.”
She is so appreciative for the opportunity and is hopeful towards the future.
“While I work toward my goals, it’s nice to reflect on the fact that I’m here to celebrate myself, my communities, and my friends who work in this business. I’m so very honored to be chasing and achieving my dreams. I hope that one day soon, trans and disabled models will be able to reach the level of success any other talented and hardworking model can. I won’t settle for anything less.”
“See you on the runway.”