Today I walked for Marc Jacobs, but I also walked for Venus Extravaganza, Mesha Caldwell, Jo Jo Striker, Jaquarrius Holland, and countless other trans women who’s lives were cut short due to senseless violence and lack of understanding. I love all my Transgender brothers and sisters and I will do whatever it takes to make a difference. Know that you are not alone, know that I’m here fighting for our community; fighting for our liberation.
Model Teddy Quinlivan — who you may recognize from the recent Marc Jacobs, Coach and Oscar de la Renta runways or her past campaigns with de la Renta, Michael Kors and MSGM — came out as transgender yesterday. The 23-year-old revealed the news in an exclusive interview with CNN Style as well as on her Instagram page, where she posted a short film titled “My Name is Teddy I’m Transgender.”
Quinlivan, who’s enjoyed an extremely successful modeling career since being discovered by Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015, told CNN that she “decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States.”
She continued, “There’s been violence against transgender people — particularly transgender women of color — since before I even knew what transgender was. I just felt a great sense of urgency. I’m very fortunate to be in (a) position (that) I never really thought I would be. It’s really important to take advantage of a time like this…I was ready to come out, but I think the times we live in elevated the sense of importance and urgency.”
In the Amber Grace Johnson-lensed mini-documentary (below), Quinlivan, who transitioned at age 16, discusses her childhood awareness that she was, in fact, female, the fears that delayed her coming out and her decision to finally do so. “I always knew I was female like just in my soul, in my heart in my brain. I had to pretend to be male to appease everyone else,” she recalls. “At one point I just stopped giving a fuck.”
A post shared by Theodora Quinlivan (@teddy_quinlivan) on
The film is incredibly intimate. Quinlivan gives her interview in bed, wearing a silk slip dress. Johnson cuts between footage of Quinlivan now and home videos from her childhood, when she lived as a male. There’s also voice-over from Quinlivan’s mom, who’s clearly extremely understanding and supportive of her daughter’s journey.
Quinlivan hopes that, by going public with her gender identity, she’ll help bolster visibility and acceptance across the industry. “Hopefully my story reaches people in the same way that the stories of Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have (already) reached trans people,” she told CNN. “There are not a lot of openly trans people in media, and I think it’s really important to show people that not only am I trans, I’m (also) very successful and good at what I do.”
An aside: In her CNN interview, Quinlivan also acknowledges the fact that the qualifier “transgender” may now be forever linked to her name, and she’s OK with that. “If being transgender is something that gets attached to my name throughout my career, then it’s for a worthy cause. But I look forward to the day when it doesn’t matter,” she stated. For the sake of tracking progress, we’ll be among the publications that use this signifier. However, we’re equally eager for the day when widespread change eliminates the need for any labeling.
Click through the gallery below to see all of Quinlivan’s New York Fashion Week Spring 2018 appearances.
[ via Vogue ]