Transgender model Andreja Pejic has revealed that she was told by people within the fashion industry that she would no longer seem ‘special’ or ‘interesting’ once she completed her transition into a woman.
The 23-year-old Serbian-born fashion star, who appears in a solo editorial in the May issue of Vogue, told the publication that she was advised not to undergo her gender reassignment surgery because it would transform her from an interesting enigma into just another pretty girl.
Andreja noted that there were people who warned her not to transition, explaining: ‘There was definitely a lot of, “Oh, you’re going to lose what’s special about you. You’re not going to be interesting anymore. There are loads of pretty girls out there.”‘
One agent even told her that ‘it’s better to be androgynous than a tranny’, but Andreja refused to fall prey to those opinions.
‘It is about showing that this is not just a gimmick,’ she said of being transgender.
Andreja also revealed during the interview that she has been signed as the newest face for beauty brand Make Up For Ever, and is thought to be the first ever transgender model to land a major cosmetics campaign. And her success is, she hopes, a sign that there is a cultural shift occurring within the industry when it comes to gender identity.
‘There are just more categories now,’ she told Vogue. ‘It’s good. We’re finally figuring out that gender and sexuality are more complicated.’
Andreja was born in what is now known as Bosnia-Herzegovina and later to emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. She grew up as a boy named Andrej, although she admitted that she was unsure where she fit in during her adolescence.
She even considered being gay, but explains that even that ‘didn’t fit’, saying: ‘Society doesn’t tell you that you can be trans.’
Andreja recalled wanting to ‘stop puberty in its early tracks’ because she was worried about her jawline becoming too strong and her feet and hands growing too large
But at 6’1, Andreja, who also wears a size 11 shoe, fits in perfectly with her fellow models. On her first modeling gig she looked around the room and told herself she didn’t need to worry because ‘every girl in fashion is exactly the same’.
Before undergoing her sex reassignment surgery, Andreja made a name for herself within the fashion industry as both a male and a female model, with her androgynous look allowing her to showcase both male and female designs.
She modeled Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2012 collection in Paris in July 2012, before going on to showcase the same designer’s menswear range as part of Paris Fashion Week in January 2013.
She took the runway for the first time as a woman during designer Giles Deacon’s Autumn/Winter 2015 show show at London Fashion Week in February.
And her new cosmetics campaign is just the latest means of her continuing to break boundaries – something which is already being echoed throughout the fashion industry by many other models.
Last month, it was announced that transgender teen Jazz Jennings, 14, would be the new face of skincare brand Clean & Clear’s new ‘See The Real Me’ campaign.
And in November Brazilian transgender model and Givenchy muse Lea T landed a highly-coveted campaign with the American hair-care brand Redken.