Apple Model agency opened the world’s first transgender division this year, but these girls have long been standing up for their beliefs – no matter the cost
Apple models has been going for thirteen years, but this year opened the world’s first transgender division. “It’s good news,” says Noam Lev, co-director of Bangkok’s Apple Model agency. “Some of our transgender girls have had problems with their passports; you have a beautiful woman turn up at airport immigration and their photo, maybe taken years before, is of a guy. So even being able to address that issue officially is another step in the right direction.”
But while the fashion industry, (and the rest of the world), seemingly takes leaps forward in terms of trans acceptance, signing transgender models is just another day at the office for many Bangkok based modelling agencies. “It’s not a new thing here in Bangkok – many of the agencies have had trans models but they’ve always been pushed as girls, so the clients would never know. If a model became very successful, then it was easier for them to come out, but otherwise they were always in hiding. What we’re doing is being upfront: We tell the girls that we represent them as who they are.”
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Shiraz Randeria is a freelance editorial and creative director working for magazines and fashion clients. He is based between London, Shanghai and Hong Kong.