Everything We Know About Laith Ashley, Taylor Swift's Love Interest in "Lavender Haze"

YouTube | Taylor Swift
YouTube | Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's highly anticipated "Lavender Haze" music video, part of her recent "Midnights" album release, is finally out! The 11-time Grammy winner cast transgender model, Laith Ashely, to play her love interest in the video, and fans are praising her for the inclusive casting choice and for keeping representation a priority. In a tweet promoting the music video on Jan. 26, Swift shared shots from "Lavender Haze" and said, "There is my incredible costar @laith_ashley, who I absolutely adored working with."

The video, released Jan. 27, features frames of Swift and Ashley together — including scenes of them laying romantically in bed, and then embracing and dancing at a party while surrounded by mystic purple fog.

Following the release, Ashley hopped on Instagram to thank Swift for the opportunity and express his gratitude. "Thank you @taylorswift for allowing me to play a small part in your story," he wrote. "You are brilliant, and this is an experience I will never forget. It was truly magical." He continued by praising Swift's talent for songwriting and crafting videos, noting, "Your storytelling abilities through your music and visuals continues to leave me in awe, inspired, and hopeful."

So, who is Ashley, the undeniably dreamy man who's caught Swifties' eyes after the drop of "Lavender Haze?" Check him out in Swift's "Lavender Haze" video below and then read on for facts about the 33-year old Calvin Klein and Diesel model — from his workout regimen to career before entertainment, we have the scoop!

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Laith Ashley is an Avid Athlete

In an interview with Vogue France, Ashley shared that working out has been a life-long passion. "I have been an athlete all my life, I believe that's what gave me the foundation to the physique that I have today… Currently, I exercise 4-5 times a week, cardio 3-4 times a week, and weight lift daily. I often work a different muscle a day."

The New York native also shared with Out that as a kid, he iwas heavily involved in and enjoyed a number of sports. "I started boxing at three, playing baseball at six, [and] basketball at seven. Sports were something I did throughout my life."

Ashley did make it clear that working out isn't the only thing that keeps him looking his best. "My grooming routine is like two hours long," he shared with Dazed. He credits hydrating, moisturizing, and exfoliants for keeping his skin glowing and healthy.

Before Modeling, Laith Ashley Was a Social Worker

Although Ashley knew he didn't want to work a traditional corporate job, he didn't necessarily have his sights set on the creative industry or modelling as his future career. "I was not really looking to be a model. I would joke about it in high school, and at 19, I was asked to take photos for a new photographer's portfolio," he explained to Jejune Magazine. "After that shoot [the photographer] never returned my calls or emails, and I never saw the photos."

After graduating with a degree in Psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut, Ashley took a job as a social worker at an LGBTQ center. "I saw everyone living their authentic lives, being able to go to work and make a living. I was like, 'Wow, I can do this.'"

Laith Ashley Is a Trans Activist

Assigned female at birth, Ashley came out as transgender in November 2013. He started his medical transition in December 2014, telling GQ, "I was either gonna be unhappy forever or take these steps."

He further explained that the medical transition included taking testosterone and undergoing a double mastectomy in 2015. "It's a lifelong process," said Ashley. "It never ends."

Since coming out, Ashley has become an advocate for the trans community and has spoken out on numerous occasions about his experience as a trans model. It's my responsibility to talk about people who maybe don't have the voice that I do yet," he explained to Dazed. "It's my responsibility to talk about people who maybe don't have the voice that I do yet, or who are gender non-conforming, or those people that are visibly trans and aren't respected as the gender that they identify as."

Laith Ashley's First Modeling Campaign Was for Barneys

Ashley's modeling career kicked off with a Barneys campaign in 2014. In a 2018 interview with GQ, Laith shared that a friend had mentioned that the iconic department store was casting for a trans campaign, and the two of them went to the open casting together. "I didn't think I was gonna get it," the model said. "Then I got a callback."

Although Ashley had come out as trans at that point, he noted that he hadn't begun his official transition or taking hormones when the shoot took place.

Since the campaign with Barneys, Ashley has modeled for brands including Calvin Klein and Diesel, magazines such as Elle and Vogue, and has even walked in iconic shows like Adrian Alicea at New York Fashion Week.

"Being a model now is definitely exciting," the New York native told Daily Mail in 2016. "I'm always shocked when I'm walking to the gym or going to the store and people recognize me. It makes me feel good, but it can be a bit of shock."

Laith Ashley Is a Triple Threat

Ashley is a triple threat. In addition to modeling for some of the world's biggest brands, he's also an actor and singer.

He's appeared on-screen numerous times, including on a reality show called "Strut" in 2016, and as the first trans member part of "RuPaul's Drag Race" pit crew in 2018. When asked about the experience on "Drag Race" during a June 2018 interview with Out, Ashley said, "It was so much fun. Guys were getting pumped backstage. Oiling themselves down. And right as we're lining up to do the matching game, RuPaul walks in, pulls me out the line, and says, 'I'm so happy for everything that you're doing. I'm so glad you're here.'"

While the Harlem-born creative has also released his own music and was featured on "Favorite" by Kay'Vion, he's most recently working on the dark comedy series "Unconventional."