This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the page. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

21 September 2019

A Chronology of trans persons in modelling and fashion: Part II: 21st century

Part I: to 2000

Part II: 21st century


2001

Barbara Diop from Senegal worked as a model in Milan.

2003

The 2003 Cricket World Cup was held in South Africa. It was arranged that each team be led onto the field by a model, and Barbara Diop was chosen to lead the Zimbabwean team. It was only later, during the contest, that word went around about Barbara's gender history.

Yollada Nok Suanyot worked as a model and beauty queen before she became one of Thailand’s major trans activists.

2004

IVAN, Japanese-Mexican, was selected as a model of Paris Fashion Week.

2005

Camilla De Castro, São Paulo, model and porn star, killed herself.

Choi Han-bit was a contestant on Korea's Next Top Model, Cycle 3, where she ended 10th.

2006

Claudia Charriez made it to the semi-finals of America's Next Top Model hosted by Tyra Banks, but was then disqualified for being transsexual. Tyra Banks then declared Claudia to be "America's Next Top Transgender" on her talk show. One of the judges, Janice Dickinson, a former model and now running her own agency brought Claudia onto her own television reality show, made her pose as a man, but then fired her in the last episode on the grounds that they could not make any money from her.

2008

Alicia Liu had participated in 2006 in a fashion contest on Taiwan TVBS. In 2008 she became a professional model and appeared on television.

Allanah Starr and Buck Angel were modelled life-size by artist Marc Quin. Allanah also modelled for men’s magazines.

America’s Next Top Model 11 included Isis King, who had up till then been living in a homeless shelter. She asked whether she could be accepted as a girl "born in the wrong body", and came 10th overall. This led to being on the Tyra Banks show twice, the second after surgery from Marci Bowers.

2009

Erika Ervin, 6"8'/2.03m, did modeling work for Harper's Bazaar and in fashion shows in Milan, and in 2011 Amazon Eve, her performance name, became the Guinness World Record World's Tallest Professional Model.

Dominique Jackson from Tobago became a resident model for fashion designer Adrian Alicea and walked for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She has also modeled for Vogue España.

Choi Han-bit,  amongst more than 1,200 applicants to the annual SBS-sponsored Super Model Contest, gained public attention by progressing through the contest's preliminary rounds. Choi's participation drew mixed reactions from internet users and other contestants, but SBS officials stated that they would view it as a "violation of human rights" to disqualify a transgender individual whose legal sex was female. As one of the contest's 32 finalists, Choi automatically qualified as a professional model. Despite this, Choi faced discrimination in the modelling industry, having been refused participation in fashion shows without any clear reason.

2010

Lea T had attempted a career as a male model, but was always being taken as female. Later Riccardo Tisci employed Lea as his personal assistant and used her as his fit model. He based his autumn/winter 2010 Givenchy collection around the idea of androgyny and Lea agreed to be featured. Later Carine Roitfeld, the editor of the French Vogue published a nude photograph of Lea with her male genitalia only partly covered. She was also featured in the Italian Vanity Fair, and was on the cover of Lurve magazine.

Kayo Satoh had been doing modelling work in Nagoya, and became an exclusive model for Tokai Spy Girl magazine. She became more famous when on 31 August 2010 she mentioned on Nippon Television's Majotachi no 22ji that she had been born male, after online rumours.

Alicia Liu was outed in 2010 when a schoolmate put a photograph of her as she had been on the internet. She called a press conference and stated: "As far as I can remember, I love being a woman. The past is not important".

Anastasia Michaelsdotter, Sweden, age 14 was scouted by several modelling agencies.

2011

Andrej Pejić, androgynous model from Bosnia via Australia, walked both the men’s and women’s shows for Jean-Paul Gaultier, was on both Schön! and Dossier Journal covers, number 18 in top 50 male models, and 98 in FHM 100 Sexiest Women.

Isis King, having completed transition, returned to America’s Next Top Model 17. She was eliminated in the third week. She then became a model for American Apparel.

Miss Sahhara, from Nigeria, walked at London Fashion Week for four seasons. She was also involved with Alternative Fashion

Liu Shi Han, had had completion surgery and became China’s first trans model.

Nikkiey Chawla, 26, India, has walked at Milan, and is in an episode of UTV Bindass’s show Emotional Atyachaar.

Valentijn de Hingh was followed by a documentary team from age 8-17. Then a model, then rejected because too tall. Now modelling again.

2012

Carol Marra was invited to participate in the Minas Trend Preview, a fashion show that happens right before Fashion Rio and São Paulo Fashion Week. This led to more work, including in Paris.

Anastasia Michaelsdotter, now 16, was walking in Milan and Paris.

24 May 2012. The trans models were pulled from a fashion show at SM Mall of Asia for Philippine Fashion Week at PFW's insistence.

2013

A petition that Carmen Carrera, alumna from RuPaul’s Drag Race, serve as a model for Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show garnered 45,000 signatures, but to no effect.

Nicole Gibson walked the runway at London Fashion Week, just days before undergoing gender confirmation surgery.

Lea T featured in Benetton campaign.

Andreja Pejic on cover of Serbian Elle.

American Apparel put out a call for transgender models.








2014

The Bangkok-based Apple Modeling Agency has launched the first transgender model division with 18 models on its books.

Ines Rau, of Algerian descent, who had comnpletion surgery at age 16, was featured in the May issue of Playboy, and then worked as a model in New York, and also appeared in Vogue Italia.

Geena Rocera, from the Philippines, then 30, having worked as a model for over a decade, came out.

Carmen Carrera on cover of Dress to Kill, profiled by CNN.

Valentijin de Hingh featured in Tom Ford's autumn campaign.










2015

Andrej Pejić, after completion surgery in late 2013, was profiled by Vogue, and also became the first-ever trans woman to sign a cosmetics contract.

Valentino Sampaio went from doing local shows and photo shoots to being in São Paulo Fashion Week, and being on the cover of Elle Brasil and L’Officiel Brasil.

December. New York Magazine/The Cut ran a cover story reminding readers that Tracey Norman, now 63, was the first black trans model. This led to Clairol welcoming her back as the face of its new “Color As Real As You Are” campaign.

Loiza Lamers won Holland’s Next Top Model 8, initially in stealth until rumours were found on the internet. She was voted the winner after disclosing her gender history.

Hari Nef walked shows during New York Fashion Week, and was signed to IMG Models.

Peche Di, from Bangkok, started Trans Models NYC.

2016

Lea T hosted the opening ceremony at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Andrej Pejić, was awarded "Best International Female Model" by GQ Portugal and the following year she made history by becoming the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of GQ.

Gemma Cowling debuted at the Adelaide Fashion Festival at age 19. She claimed to be the first Australian trans model signed to agency, Estelle Asmodelle having been forgotten.

Shay Neary, from rural Pennsylavania, signed by Coverstory, becoming the first openly trans plus-size model.

2017

Valentino Sampaio was on the cover of Vogue Paris, March 2017, with the by-line: ‘Transgender beauty: How it’s shaking up the world’ and with an editorial inside.

Teddy Quinlivian, who had been discovered for Louis Vuitton in 2015, came out, and was praised by those she worked with.

Playboy featured Ines Rau, proclaiming her to be the first trans women so featured, despite her own earlier appearance, and that several others had been featured in past years.

Kami Sid, Pakistan’s first trans model.

Munroe Bergdorf was employed as the first transgender model to front a L'Oréal campaign in the UK.

Leyne Bloom, from Chicago, appeared in Vogue India.

2018

Giuliana Farfalla, who had completion surgery at 16, participated on the twelfth season of Germany's Next Topmodel, and finished in eleventh place. In January 2018, she became the first transgender model to appear on the cover of the German Playboy.

2019

Teddy Quinlivian, hired by Chanel. Listed as one of the "Top 50" models by models.com.

Geena Rocera, Playboy Playmate for August.



--------------------------------


  •  Elspeth H Brown. Work! A Queer History of Modeling. Duke University Press, 2019. The only trans models mentioned are Teri Toye and Tracey Norman.
Both Wikipedia and 10 Greatest Transgender models list persons not mentioned above. I have not included those who have not either walked a significant catwalk, been featured in a significant advertising campaign or been featured in a significant photography exhibition. Participation in beauty pageants, being a porn star, being an actor or on the internet does not count.

18 September 2019

A Chronology of trans persons in modelling and fashion: Part I: to 2000

Part I: to 2000
Part II: 21st century


1889

L.S., a fashion model in Paris, In 1909. Aged 20, she was engaged to be married and was bothered by apparent tumours in her labia majora and attended the Hôpital Beaujon. A biopsy of the tumours resulted in them being identified as testicles. The doctors then decided that she was a 'true male', that is a masculine pseudo hermaphrodite. She was informed that her feminine 'genital aspiration', that is her engagement to her fiancé, was an act of homosexuality.

1950

Michel-Marie Poulian worked as a model in Paris, in addition to painting portraits and doing stained-glass windows for churches.

1955

Charlotte McLeod did modelling in New York and New Orleans.

1959-62

Noted Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm went to Paris and shot Jacquie Sarduy, Nana and other trans women. These were later published as  Les Amies De Place Blanche, 1983.

1960

After completion surgery in Casabalanca, April Ashley returned to England, and was able to build a career as a model; clothed, in underwear and nude. This led to a very small part in the film The Road to Hong Kong. Until November 1961 when she was outed in the Sunday People.


1964

Holly Woodlawn was briefly employed as an in-house model at Saks Fifth Avenue, new York.

1965

A person we know only as ‘Queen Elizabeth’ got a job in Davison’s department store in Atlanta as a model. One day the boss walked in as she was changing and saw her penis. She was immediately fired.

1966

Benjamin’s The Transsexual Phenomenon tells us of Betty/Suzanne who after surgery worked as a fashion model.

1970

Les Lee, performer at Le Carrousel, designed and modelled a collection of women's clothes with some success, such that the models union was able to persuade the French Government to pass a law forbidding female impersonators from working as models.

Georgia Ziadie was working as a model in New York when she met Lord Colin Campbell, married him a week later, and they were divorced the next year.

1971


Rachel Harlow, following her lead role in The Queen, 1968, and her subsequent triumph at the Cannes International Film Festival, had become the hostess at a Philadelphia nightclub named with her own name. There were also interviews, endorsements, modeling jobs and television appearances.





1974

Andy Warhol recruited models from the new transy bar Gilded Grape for his Ladies and Gentlemen (The Drag Queen Paintings) series. They were paid $50 and Andy took polaroids. They were not shown as such in the US, but in September 1975 were exhibited in Italy.

1975

Tracy Norman attended a modeling event at the Pierre Hotel in New York in 1975. There she was discovered by renowned photographer Irving Penn and booked for Vogue Italia a few days later. She was quickly featured in major advertising campaigns, Ultra Sheen and Avon Cosmetics. Clairol put her face on their dark-auburn hair dye no 512, launched that year.

1976

After the end of her public affair with John B Kelly, brother of movie-star and princess Grace Kelly, businessman and on the Philadelphia Council, Rachel Harlow dropped out of the night-life business and the gay subculture. She did continue to work as a model in New York, but avoided publicity.

1977

Potassa de la Fayette, model and star on the dance floor at Studio 54.

Robertina Manganaro was a model for the avant-garde artist, Enrico Baj.

1979

Diane Delia worked in New York as a model for Avon Cosmetics.

1980

Lauren Foster had started working as a model in Johannesburg and then Paris regularly in magazines and advertisements. However she was disqualified from the Miss South Africa Pageant. Her big break was in 1980 when she was hired by and was featured Vogue to do a 6-page fashion editorial. She was outed by the tabloid Scope, when another model sold the story, which resulted in ignorant press attention.






Essense Magazine booked Tracy Norman again for several sessions in 1980. During the last session, the hair dresser's assistant, who was from the same part of New Jersey and had been asking around trying to figure out who Tracy was, spoke to the editor, Susan Taylor, who stopped the shoot. Nobody said anything. However Tracy was never paid for the last shoot, and the pictures were never used. Work in New York dried up. There was a rumor that Taylor threatened to sue Zoli, the agency for false advertising, but the agency did not know either. Eventually a friend confirmed that her secret had gone around quickly, but still no-one said so directly.

1981

Caroline Cossey (Tula) was noted in Smirnoff Vodka’s “Well They Said Anything Could Happen” advertisement in 1981 that shows her water-skiing behind the Loch Ness Monster. She was a Page Three Girl for The Sun. This led to a small part in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, 1981, and an associated article in Playboy. This led to her being outed as trans, and as a consequence lost most of her modelling contracts.

1982

Tracy Norman, seeking work in Paris, got a phone call for another model, who had returned to New York. She was offered the gig, but delayed it for two weeks while she slimmed down to a French size 6. This led to a six-month contract with Balenciaga.

1984

in New York, the new fashion sensation was the openly transgender Teri Toye, who had moved to New York from Iowa to study fashion. She was offered modeling work, especially for the cult fashion designer Stephen Sprouse, but also for Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Circulate magazine dedicated six pages to Lauren Foster.

Tracy Norman returned to Newark in 1984, and signed with the Grace del Marco Agency. However after a few months she was featured in an Ultra Sheen cosmetics ad, and then she was remembered. Again work dried up.

Roberta Close in Rio was becoming famous as a model and actress.

1985

Valerie Taylor, in stealth, was working as a model in Los Angeles.

Leslie Townsend, in stealth, was working as a model in Houston.

1988

Noor Talbi found work in Paris on the fashion catwalks at age 19, before she returned to Morroco and became a renowned dancer.

1993

Robertina Manganaro, encouraged by her rich husband to become a stilista, opened a studio in Paris, using her title-by marriage Comtessa.

1994

Alessandro di Sanzo, who had played a trans teenager in the films Mery per sempre, 1989. and Ragazzi fuori, 1990, was hired by the Rome fashion designer Egon von Furstenberg to walk the catwalk in a bridal dress. The Church took umbrage as she was a known transsexual.

Storme Aerison posed as a supermodel and claimed to be the sister of real supermodel Kathy Ireland. Photographers and others gave her their services in exchange for a percentage of a calendar that she said that she was producing.

1996

Estelle Asmodelle was the face of the Supermodel Agency in Australia; she was their spokesman and main model during 1996-2000.

1998

Claudia Charriez, then age 16, was already modelling.

1999

Sophia Lamar modelled for Levi’s and others.

Lee Si-Yeon first made a name as a male model, and was known for a feminine appearance and wearing women's clothing on the catwalk – the first model to do so in South Korea. Later she decided to transition, which was completed in 2007.

Before becoming the host on Taiwan's Eastern TV Auction Channel, Li Jing had worked as a model.

2000

Amanda Lepore worked extensively with photographer David LaChapelle advertising Armani and MTV. Swatch released a ‘Time tranny’ watch with her features.

Robertina Manganaro, stilista, had her first show at the Milan Pret-a-porter, which cost her a million francs of the family money.

14 September 2019

Tracey Gayle Norman (1951 - ) model

Original version: April 2014

Tracy Norman was raised in Newark, New Jersey. Father thought that his child was too effeminate and made a desultory attempt at teaching boxing. He moved out when Tracy was 6; the mother worked multiple jobs to support her two children.

The first in her family to graduate high school, Tracy, on the same day, told her mother that she was a woman, and was accepted. A few months later. Tracy met a old-school friend who had started transition. She answered questions and gave Tracy some birth-control pills.

In trans clubs, Third World and Up the Down Stairs, she was told of a doctor who prescribed to trans women, and soon she was not just being taken as female, but was being noted for her beauty. This was at the same time as Lottie and Crystal LaBeija founded the House of Labeija with a ball at the Up the Down Stairs.

A friend of Tracy who helped her with make-up, worked in the fashion industry and knew where fashion shows were being held. He taught her what to say at the door, that she was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which let her stand in the back row. Thus she attended a modeling event at the Pierre Hotel in New York in 1975. She noticed a group of black models and followed them in, making sure that she was the last person.  There she was discovered by renowned photographer Irving Penn and booked for Vogue Italia a few days later.

One of the other models, Peggy Dillard, was nice to her, while the others shunned the newcomer. Dillard revealed many years later that, as she had spent years DJ-ing at a gay disco, and had friends who had transitioned, she was able to read the newcomer. Tracy was paid $3,000 – more than she had ever had before. Penn referred her to an agency, Zoli. Some weeks later, Penn received a phone call from Condé Nast magazine, passing on the rumor that Norman was not born female. Penn dismissed it out of hand as ridiculous. A make-up artist approached her during a break and said that he knew what was going on with her. He also said ‘Don’t worry, I think you’re beautiful. Just be natural.’ He also told the photographer Anthony Barboza, who replied that if that were the case, the magazine must know. Apparently it went no further and Tracy was rehired by the same magazine six months later.

Tracy was similar in appearance to the rising black model Beverly Johnson, and quickly was featured in major advertising campaigns, Ultra Sheen and Avon Cosmetics. Clairol put her face on their dark-auburn hair dye no 512, launched that year.


Essense Magazine booked her again for several sessions in 1980. During the last session, the hair dresser's assistant, who was from the same part of New Jersey and had been asking around trying to figure out who Tracy was, spoke to the editor, Susan Taylor, who stopped the shoot. Nobody said anything. However Tracy was never paid for the last shoot, and the pictures were never used. Work in New York dried up. There was a rumor that Taylor threatened to sue Zoli, the agency for false advertising, but the agency did not know either. Eventually a friend confirmed that her secret had gone around quickly, but still no-one said so directly.

By 1982, Tracy had given up her apartment, and moved back in with her mother. A friend was already working in Paris, and another suggested that they go there. Tracy used her sister’s birth certificate to get a passport. In Paris the three friends shared hotel rooms. One day Tracy got a phone call for another model, who had returned to New York. She was offered the gig, but delayed it for two weeks while she slimmed down to a French size 6. This led to a six-month contract with Balenciaga.

The UltraSheen ad
Next she tried Milan, but work was slow there too. She returned to Newark in 1984, and signed with the Grace del Marco Agency. However after a few months she was featured in an Ultra Sheen cosmetics ad, and then she was remembered.  Again work dried up even though this was the year that openly trans model Teri Toye was being feted, and trans model Lauren Foster regained her career after being outed a few years earlier.

One thing went right. Tracey dated a straight male office worker from Long Island. He did not mind when she told him that she was trans, and they had a three-year relationship.

Tracy found work in shoe retailing, but again word got out and people came to stare through the window. She then took work at Show Center, a burlesque peep show in Times Square that featured trans women, but behind glass so that the customers could not touch. She was able to earn over $1,000 a day there, and stayed three years. This led to her involvement in the voguing balls, first as an observer, and then as a member of the House of Africa. She used her modelling experience and trained her team to walk like professionals, rather than the flamboyant style that the other houses affected. Her personal trademark was to walk in just jeans and t-shirt. She would take a white handkerchief and wipe her face in front of the judges to show that she was wearing no make-up – and the was met by applause. She became mother to the house, and was elected to the Ballroom Hall of Fame in 2001.

In the 1990s Tracey had encountered her father who was driving a bus that she was on. “I was like, ‘Daddy, it’s me.’ He was shocked to see me.” Later he was diagnosed with cancer, and she visited him in hospital. “He saw that I have done something very exciting with my life. I think he was proud of me at that point. He was more accepting.”

Later Tracey worked again in shoe retailing – for the up-market Peter Fox Shoes, and for a while was a manager.
Tracey in 2016


In December 2015, New York Magazine/The Cut ran a cover story reminding readers that Tracey, now 63, was the first black trans model. This led to Clairol welcoming her back as the face of its new “Color As Real As You Are” campaign.
  • Meekaprodigy. "Paris Is Burning Tea (Harlem Ballroom Scene)" Lipstick Alley, 03-26-
  • "Tracy Africa" The Luna show#100. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGWhRQSzqzkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvCKxygj0vM
  • Jada Yuan & Aaron Wong. "The First Black Trans Model had her Face on a Box of Clairol". New York Magazine/The Cut, 14 December, 2015. Online.
  • Carly Stern. "The 'first black transgender model' reveals how her high-flying fashion career, posing for the likes of Vogue and Clairol, crumbled after her gender identity was exposed". Daily Mail, 17 Dec 2015. Online
  • Jada Yuan. "Susan Taylor Says She Wouldn’t Have Outed Tracey Africa". New York Magazine/The Cut, Dec 27, 2015. Online.
  • Jada Yuan. "Tracey Africa Norman Is Back As the Face of Clairol".  The Cut, August 2016. Online.
  • Hermione Hoby. "How Tracey Norman, America’s first black trans model, returned to the limelight". The Guardian, 21 Aug 2016. Online.
  • Yada Yuan. "Trans Models Will Cover Harper’s Bazaar for the First Time". New York Magazine/The Cut, Sept 19, 2016. Online.
  • Elspeth H Brown. Work! A Queer History of Modeling. Duke University Press, 2019: 2-4, 13, 263-5, 267, 270-2. 
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Tracy or Tracey? She changed the spelling in the early 1990s.

After the December 2015 article in New York Magazine/The Cut, JadaYuan, the author, was finally able to get feedback from Susan Taylor, the editor at Essense who had supervised Tracey’s last shoot in 1980. Not surprisingly Taylor remembers things differently: “I always suspected she was genetically male. I accepted her as she presented herself, as an exquisitely beautiful black woman. Now, this is 40 years later, but I think someone that she went to school with in Newark told me that they knew her as a boy. I think.” … “And we sought to hire her into the ‘80s and she was not available. I just learned that a few days ago.”