Saturday, March 4, 2017

Meet The Founder of New York's Transgender Modeling Agency

The First Photo Shoot for Trans Models NYC (HuffingtonPost)

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The fight for transgender rights is an uphill battle with few strides. While transgender representation in fashion has become more evident, equality can not be reached until transgender individuals have rights in another way too. Peche Di is the powerhouse and creative genius behind Trans Models NYC, an agency located in New York that specifically aims to find professional opportunities for transgender men and women who are looking to work in fashion and entertainment.

Steve Madden

Trans Models takes pleasure in their ability to operated by a diverse team of talented and motivated transgender individuals. Founded in March 2015, Trans Models NYC initially featured nineteen models, ten of which were transgender men and nine transgender women.

Di created Trans Models NYC in response to an increasing visibility of trans people in the media. "I wanted to create work for myself and for other trans people that struggle within the fashion industry because it is not as inclusive as it could be. I felt there was an opportunity, a moment of ripeness, to inject something new into the industry," said during an interview with Forbes.

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As a native of Bangkok, Thailand, Di didn't really experience the same level of discrimination commonly faced with Western transgender individuals. Di went to an all boys schools from first grade all the way until grade twelve. She also attended a military school part-time at the age of fifteen. "I was bullied by all the boys in school because I'm different. But I was very into sports, especially Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do. So I let them know, you can't hurt me, because I will you, too."

At 16-years-old, she began taking estrogen, which is widely available without a prescription in Thailand. She also often would sneak out of her parents' house, secretly dressing up in wigs, short skirts, and hanging out with a group of her other trans friends. Eventually, her parents found out and all they were supportive, there were no discussions about it.

The more her body changed, so did her confidence. Her hair grew out after high school and she found work as a cabaret dancer. She also entered Thailand's popular transgender beauty contests. "I did the contests to prove to myself and others around me that I'm beautiful.

Her wins became a driving force for her dreams to compete on America's Next Top Model. In 2010, at the age of 21, Di arrived in the United Sates on a student visa studying English and film at NYU. One month later, she won Miss Asia NYC, annual beauty pageant in Manhattan for transgender Asian women. Through the pageant, Di was able to meet a mentor who now helps run Trans Models NYC.

There are only two other transgender modeling agencies currently in the United States: Transcendence Icon in Boise, Idaho, and the Los Angeles-based Thailand's Apple Model Management. Peche Di is super busy laying the infrastructure of Trans Media, a conglomerate that features a TV channel and other endeavors. With Di help, she is bridging the gap between transgender models and also giving them a presence within the fashion and entertainment industry.

Trans Models NYC
What do you think about the lack of transgender models in fashion and entertainment? Let us know in the comments below!

By: Ajea Nicole

Ajea Nicole is a 20 something from Boston, MA who craves anything style related. Though her love of style originated from scouring her mom’s closet, she often gleans style inspiration from Solange and June Ambrose. When she is not catching up on Project Runway, she can be found working out at the gym, reading a good book or
somewhere in a sushi restaurant.

Connect with her!
Twitter: @ajeanicole
Instagram: @ajeanicole

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