The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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New Series Road to the Runway Paints the Trans Modeling Experience

Charlotte Wysykowski of Road to the Runway

Here-TV’s Road to the Runway premieres this Friday. This new docuseries will follow the journey of twenty trans fashion models competing for a contract in this year’s annual Slay Model search.

Slay Model Management opened in 2016 as the world’s first and only agency to exclusively represent transgender models, according to a news release. Their models have appeared in many renowned campaigns such as Pop Beauty, Vogue Germany, and Savage X Fenty. 

From Texas to Boston and a melting pot of cultures, the show will trace each model back to their hometown to capture their individual experiences in the modeling industry. Some hail from progressive families while others have the support of their conservative parents.  

“Road to the Runway is an important reminder that these trans models are more than mannequins: they are daughters, friends, and partners in love, with stories that deserve to be heard,” the show’s description states.

“It is powerful to witness models who enjoy the support of their families back home,” Slay Model founder Cecilio Asuncion said in the release. “They present as confident and secure. They’re armed with the knowledge that no matter what happens in the model search, they will be ok because they are loved.” 

Unfortunately, some models were not greeted with the same acceptance by their families. He continued, “The reality is a majority of our models have struggled their whole lives with living as their authentic true selves,” where “simply walking out of the house takes incredible courage.” 

The series will depict each model’s determination when entering the world of fashion that is inherently brutal and difficult to navigate. Asuncion highlights how the expectations of modeling have changed for women. “It used to be that women reshaped themselves to fit the industry standard; striving to match the idealized version of a Barbie doll,” he said. “Today’s fashion industry wants to see the real, unfiltered woman beneath the lashes and lipstick.”

The stakes are high as the winning model will receive a spot in a MAC Campaign, a trip to London to shoot a Carmen Liu Lingerie campaign, a Colors of Love ring and a social media campaign from Faberge', shoes from Lidia Talavera, and a year contract with Slay Model Management.

Asuncion is an executive producer on the show alongside Phil Anthony, RD Alba. Additionally Road to the Runway is produced by Emmy-award winner David Millbern, Paul Colichman, Stephen P. Jarchow, and John Mongiardo. 

“The sky is the limit for these young women,” Asuncion said. “From how I see it, it is my job to lead and develop the girl from hopeful to working model. The supermodel part is up to the individual. She must have the passion and drive to go the extra distance.”

Watch the trailer for Road to the Runway below. It debuts on August 5 on Here-TV. 

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