Trans Pride: 13 transgender models shaking up fashion, from Ines Rau in Playboy to Victoria’s Secret’s Valentina Sampaio

Hari Nef, Nathan Westling and Laith Ashley: three transgender models making their mark in the fashion world. Photos: @harinef; @nathanwestling; @laith_ashley/Instagram
The fashion industry still has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity, but that said, the progress it has made in recent years is not to be ignored, especially when it comes to transgender representation.

In 2019, Victoria’s Secret made waves for casting its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio. And according to The Fashion Spot’s diversity report, the spring 2020 runway was the second most gender-inclusive in New York Fashion Week history. 24 out of 2,327 models were transgender compared to three transgender models during the spring 2016 season.

Read on to learn more about 13 transgender models who are not only making an impact in the fashion industry with their successful modelling careers, but actively using their platforms to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community too.

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Hunter Schafer

Hunter Schafer. Photo: @hunterschafer/Instagram

Agencies: Elite Model Management and Community Modeling Agency in New York, Oui Management in Paris, Why Not Model Management in Milan and Premier Model Management in London


You may have recognised Hunter Schafer from HBO’s Euphoria, but before she became an actress, she actually started out as a model and has walked for some of the biggest fashion houses including Dior, Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs. She’s currently signed to top modelling agencies in all four fashion capitals.

Indya Moore

Indya Moore. Photo: @indyamoore/ Instagram

Agencies: IMG Models in New York and William Morris Endeavor in Los Angeles


American actor and model Indya Moore is transgender and non-binary, and uses they/them and she/her pronouns. Although they started out working as a model – having shot for Gucci and Dior, and walked for Telfar – they’re now focusing on their acting career, starring as Angel in Pose, a TV series about New York City ball culture in the 80s, with film Escape Room: Tournament of Champions in the works too.

Hari Nef

Hari Nef. Photo: @harinef/ Instagram

Agency: IMG Worldwide (New York, Paris, Milan, London and Los Angeles)


Hari Nef made her runway debut during New York Fashion Week in spring 2015 and was subsequently the first openly trans woman to be signed to IMG Models a few months later. Six years on, she has extended her portfolio to acting with a recurring role in season one of You, and a few appearances in other series including Acting for a Cause and Room 104. Have a scroll through her Instagram and you’ll notice she also uses her influence to educate about transgender rights.

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Ines Rau

Ines Rau. Photo: @supa_ines/Instagram

Agencies: Next Paris and IMG Models in Paris and Modelwerk in Hamburg


In 2017, French model of Algerian descent Ines Rau made history as the first openly trans Playmate to appear in Playboy. Aside from modelling for brands including Balmain and Hood by Air, she’s also a regular on the Paris Fashion Week front row.

Andreja Pejić

Andreja Pejić. Photo: @andrejapejic/Instagram

Agencies: Ford Models in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, D’Management Group in Milan, Storm Management in London, Sight Management Studio in Barcelona, Mega Model Agency in Hamburg, Way Model Management in São Paulo, Chadwick Models in Sydney, Bravo Models in Tokyo and Visage Management in Zurich


Bosnian-Australian model Andreja Pejić started out as one of the first androgynous male models in the industry, and has walked for major labels including Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. After coming out as a transgender woman in 2014, she continued to make history as the first trans female model to front a major make-up campaign (for Make Up For Ever).

Valentina Sampaio

Valentina Sampaio. Photo: @valentts/Instagram

Agencies: The Lions in New York, Women Management in Paris, Monster Management in Milan, Premier Model Management in London, Uno Models in Barcelona, Iconic Management in Berlin, Scoop Models in Copenhagen, Modelwerk in Hamburg, Photogenics LA in Los Angeles, Joy Model Management in São Paulo, Select Model Management in Stockholm and Chic Management in Sydney


Valentina Sampaio created a lot of buzz in 2019 for being Victoria’s Secret’s very first transgender model (a year after its chief marketing officer Ed Razek claimed to Vogue that the brand would not be casting trans models “because the show is a fantasy”). Having graced the covers of international titles and signed to 12 agencies worldwide, the 24-year-old is definitely one to watch.

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Laith Ashley

Laith Ashley. Photo: @laith_ashley/Instagram

Agency: Slay Model Management in Los Angeles

Laith Ashley first came onto the radar when famed photographer Bruce Weber shot him in a Barneys campaign in 2013, and seven years later, in addition to being a model, he has also acted in LGBTQ+ shows Strut and Pose, and released a few singles over the years. When he faced backlash because of a shoot he did with Diesel, he got encouragement from Orange is the New Black star and fellow trans entertainer Laverne Cox. Ashley has also actively taken part in many LGBTQ+ public awareness campaigns.

Nathan Westling

Nathan Westling. Photo: @nathanwestling/Instagram

Agencies: The Society Management in New York and Elite Model Management in Milan, Paris, London, Barcelona and Copenhagen


Before coming out as a trans man, Nathan Westling was already one of the top models in the industry, having walked and fronted campaigns for some of the biggest fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Prada and Alexander McQueen. After taking a hiatus for half a year, he revealed his transgender identity in a 2019 CNN Style interview. He also walked in Helmut Lang and Michael Kors’ shows during New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2020.

Lea T

Lea T. Photo: @leat/Instagram

Agencies: Women Management in New York and Paris, Elite Model Management in Milan and Uno Models in Barcelona


Did you know that the “T” in Lea T’s name stands for Riccardo Tisci? She has been the muse of the Italian designer ever since he casted her in the Givenchy autumn/winter 2010 campaign, and she has continued to be featured in his works, including Burberry’s festive campaign in November 2019.

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Teddy Quinlivan

Teddy Quinlivan. Photo: @teddy_quinlivan/ Instagram

Agencies: Vision Model Management in Los Angeles, Supreme Management in New York, Select Model Management in London, Premium Models in Paris, Scoop Models in Copenhagen and Monster Management in Milan


Theodora “Teddy” Quinlivan’s modelling career took off after she was discovered by Louis Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015, and she came out as a trans woman two years later in an interview with CNN Style. Aside from being one of the top models at the moment, she’s also an outspoken activist who advocates for the transgender community.

Casil McArthur

Casil McArthur. Photo: @casil_the_goat_lord/Instagram

Agencies: Soul Artist Management in New York, Supa Model Management in London, DSM Management in Hamburg, Photogenics LA in Los Angeles and West Management in Tokyo


Casil McArthur has been modelling since he was 10 as a little girl, transitioning when he was 16. Most recently, he walked for Coach and Marc Jacobs, and was featured in Milk Make-up and Kenneth Cole campaigns.

Dara Allen

Dara Allen. Photo: @dara._/Instagram

Agencies: Heroes Model Management in New York, Special Management in Milan, Premier London Management in London and Freedom Models in Los Angeles


Dara Allen first made waves as an unsigned model who walked for Marc Jacobs back in 2017, but three years on, she’s now represented by four agencies in four big cities, and has continued to walk for brands such as Coach, Dion Lee and Prabal Gurung, on top of starring in campaigns by Salvatore Ferragamo, Alexander McQueen and more.

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Krow Kian

Krow Kian. Photo: @krowwithak/ Instagram

Agencies: Heroes Model Management in New York, New Madison in Paris, Why Not Model Management in Milan, Supa Model Management in London, Uno Models in Barcelona, Nest Model Management in Berlin and Lizbell Agency in Vancouver


After working as a female model for six years, Krow Kian stepped out as a transgender male model and opened Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 show in September 2018. Six months later, the 24-year-old was back on the same catwalk, closing the French maison’s autumn/winter 2020 show. Since then, he has worked with major brands including Proenza Schouler, Balmain and Alexander McQueen, and he’s undoubtedly one of the rising names in the modelling world.

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This article originally appeared on Buro 247

  • Indya Moore has shot for Gucci and Dior and is starring as Angel in Netflix series Pose, while you might recognise Hunter Schafer from HBO’s Euphoria
  • Laith Ashley got encouragement from Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox and regularly takes part in LGBT awareness campaigns