“Even with surgery, I’ll never be a woman. And I will not be man. I’ll always be the middle” (Lea T for Quem Magazine)
Lea T, 28, is a transsexual model booking all the best campaigns fashion has to offer right now. But with her full lips, strong jaw line and dark tresses it’s not difficult to see why. She is the “ideal” high fashion package: tall, slender and with a distinctive face unlike no other. Her beauty is astounding so much so her gender identity would be the last thing on our minds. But it was at the forefront of T’s.
Part of T’s agreement to appear in Givenchy’s fall advertising campaign was that she was allowed to talk about her transgender status. When the images appeared in May her modelling agency, Women, was overwhelmed with 400 requests to interview her.
It was Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci’s idea to have Lea T in the campaign, helping to re-define not only ideas surrounding “ideal” beauty but also of gender.
“When you are a transsexual, you look for your future, and you can’t see it,” T told the New York Times in a recent interview. “I thought this would be a nice message for another tranny: ‘Look, we can be the same as other girls and boys.’ It’s small, but it makes you feel like you have a little chance. Maybe a transsexual will open a magazine and think: ‘That’s cool. We can be whatever we want.’ That’s why I did the Givenchy campaign.”
Lea T the Brazilian bombshell who was born Leandro is single handedly re-defining what it means to be beautiful in the 21st century, as an out and proud transsexual. It’s heart-warming and delightful to see. We can see T smiling on the cover of Vanity Fair, posing naked on the pages of French Vogue, kissing Kate Moss on the cover of LOVE, her beauty and ambiguity celebrated and seductive. Lea T proves that the fashion world is changing, perhaps even growing a conscious where individuals with alternative gender identities are now finding a firm and much welcomed place.
The Observer (10th August 2010) Lea T and the loneliness of the fashion world’s first transsexual supermodel [online] available from<http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/01/fashion-transgender>