Transgender talent, long part of indie art scenes, has seen an undeniable push into more mainstream media this past year, in movies such as Boy Meets Girl to TV shows like Orange Is the New Black and Transparent. Meanwhile, the fashion world has undergone its own quiet revolution.
Part of the same trend that has seen trans models like Lea T, Andreja Pejic, and Geena Rocero in the spotlight, Thailand's Apple Model Management has gone a step further this year by introducing the world's first all-trans female section of a modeling agency. Thailand, long known worldwide for its vibrant trans culture and recently home to a new constitution that acknowledges a "third gender," may be the ideal place to begin such a movement in trans representation.
"We were approached quite a few times with requests for transgender models, which eventually led us to realize that there’s a gap that needs to be filled in the modeling industry," Apple's scouting and placement director Noam Lev tells The Advocate. With the demand for trans models still rising from Apple's increasingly "educated and open-minded clientele," Lev and his team decided in 2013 to start actively recruiting and training trans women, including those who had never modeled before.
Now representing 15 trans feminine models (pictured below), Apple gathered its pool of applicants through contests, universities, scouts on the street, and word of mouth. The crew is now gracing ads and magazines, as in the stunning spread from Lips below, and Lev hopes it will be a part of a larger trend that will see trans beauty become a regular feature of fashion magazines, runways, advertising, and television in the coming decade.
All images courtesy of Noam Lev from Apple Model Management
Check out an interview with several models from Southeast Asia's Coconuts.tv and the Lips photo shoot on the following pages.