The spotlight on the transgender community has left many people with questions. Transgender model Andreja Pejic weighs in on this hot topic on Allure and how she's been able to find success.
Andreja Pejic's first success coincided with a moment when fashion embraced androgyny, but the model wanted more than a career that straddled the gender divide. Now officially Andreja, the Serbian-born beauty has embraced femininity both personally and professionally. She had gender-confirmation surgery, became the first transgender model to appear in Vogue, and has just landed a campaign with Make Up For Ever. At this weekend's GLAAD Media Awards, I spoke to her about finding success.
Has your modeling career changed in the last few years?
"I transitioned at the beginning of last year and came out publicly in about the middle of the year. It was my intention to work as a woman and to move away from androgyny. We are being very selective with the types of shoots I do. I want to go with a more classic aesthetic. I've moved on and proved that I can model as a female model and be seen as one. There were tribulations; it was definitely a difficult period. But I'm very happy about how things are going now."
And are you happier with your recent photo shoots?
"My relationship to my life has improved tremendously. Transition tends to do that — it makes you feel more comfortable. I feel happier than ever; I feel more comfortable with my body than ever. And, of course, the work I produce is more me."
You're working on a documentary, Andrej(a), about your story. How's it going?
"It is going great. Eric Miclette is the director, and it started out as a small project between two really great friends. Everything was happening, and I thought I should document it. I'm not a very open person. It was difficult to open up, but I thought it was important to do so."
There have been several high-profile stories of transition recently. How has that affected your experience?
"I think the movement definitely helps. It is a movement in film, TV, fashion, and I think it is great to have all of these different representations and different stories being told. I watched the Bruce Jenner interview, and I could definitely relate to some things that he was saying, having to hide. I cried. It was just a very human story. He seemed very lonely and in a lot of pain throughout his life, so I found it very moving."
His story is quite different from your story.
"Yeah. I'm 23, and I don't know what the pressure would be like to have a whole family and live that whole life. And then having to come out. I came out to my mum when I was really young. So our stories are very different. But I think that really anyone watching could feel the struggle and the pain."