It’s International Transgender Day of Visibility day around the world today (March 31).
It’s a day where we have a responsibility to raise awareness of the trans community and the issues they are faced with on a daily basis.
Taking that on-board, we decided to chat with the first ever trans model to appear on Britain’s Next Top Model, Talulah-Eve Brown.
The current series is only a few weeks in, but the gorgeous star has quickly become a firm favourite both with fans and the judges – and it’s not hard to see why.
But what’s her story? We caught up with her at 100 Wardour Street in Soho to find out:
As a Trans woman and knowing there haven’t been any in the competition before, were you nervous of applying to take part?
No not at all. That stuff doesn’t scare me anymore. I’e been through a lot in my life so now I just want to be the best me I can be. Being the first puts me in a league of my own where I can shine.
How has the reaction been since you’ve been on the show?
Really good and positive and I’ve had lots of support from the trans community and people on the street. But from people within the fashion industry it’s been pretty negative. Some of them don’t like my look or the fact that I am transgender. The hardcore fans of BNTM don’t like me. The religious fans don’t like me. On all the fan pages it’s all about the other girls and not me.
Trans women are slowly starting to be recognised in the industry which is fantastic, but why do you think it’s taken so long to happen?
Laverne cox and Gigi Gorgeous have been great examples. They aren’t just fighting the world for acceptance they’re just getting on with life and fitting in. The more you scream and rant about how ill treated we are, the more we’re just going to get pushed back and seen as different. Just live and let be and the world will start to fall into place. On the show I just went on to be a normal girl like everyone else.
Have you ever been turned down by an agency or a client, simply because you’re trans?
That’s really hard to answer because they would never ever turn you away and say that. But I think I have yeah. I’ve been turned away from a lot of things in life but it’s hard to pinpoint and prove it’s because I am trans.
Trans youth have some of the highest suicide rates and it’s a huge issue in the LGBT community, and this week it’s Trans Awareness day on Friday. What advice would you give to those young people who are realising they’re different?
Just be brave and be fearless. In the end you only regret the chances that you didn’t take. There’s no better chance to take than being you and being real. It’ll be difficult at first but in the long run it’s the best chance you’ll ever take.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
My mum and dad, because when they got together black and white people didn’t often date. Today it’s normal to see, but back then they got a lot of abuse from people everyday because they were in love. It was hard for them but in the end they made it through the adversity and had me.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years time?
A household name on the cover of fashion magazines.
There’s a big issues surrounding the idea that straight men fetishise women in the trans community, is this something you’ve struggled with? How have you found dating since your transition?
When men find out I’m trans they become less like gentleman and more sexual. It’s been terrible for my love life because many men just see me as a sexual fantasy they want to fulfil. Not enough men don’t take trans women seriously so it’s difficult to find one who is open and honestly looking for love.
As a gay man myself, I know how tough it can be just in day to day life. How do you personally deal with people who treat you with contempt purely because of who you are?
I do get a lot of shit but in all fairness to me, because I’m considered an attractive trans woman people treat me a little better. That’s the hard world we live in. If you’re a trans woman in your 40s who is just starting to transition you will get shit for the way you look.
I would love to change that in the world. If you’re trans and you pass as a woman you’ll be treated well. If you’re not passable as a woman you’ll get treated badly. That’s the harsh world we live in and it sucks.
Britain’s Next Top Model airs exclusively on Lifetime in the UK.