Andreja Pejic is so over having to talk about her vagina. The trans model recently spoke about what it’s like to be “out” in the public eye.
Speaking with Refinery29, she said,
“I get tired of answering questions about my vagina. Does my story give more of a dimension to my career and make me more memorable? I think so, but I have to relive some really personal things. You don’t see Rosie Huntington-Whiteley being asked the same sorts of questions. But I guess that’s the price you pay for this life.”
As the “first” to do many things as a transwoman (she’s the first to land a cosmetics contract, for example), she’s forced into a box of this one identity. But you know what, there’s a lot more to Andreja than her gender.
Pejic first started walking the runway when she was discovered at 17 when she was pre-transition. As an androgynous model, Pejic had a hit career and walked for both menswear and womenswear shows. But she was unhappy with the way she was portrayed in public. She said,
“There were moments in my career as a boy that I hated every second of it. I hated the media exposure, I hated seeing article titles saying ‘Male Model,’ or ones that would sensationalize it by putting up a pretty picture of me and being like, ‘This Is A Man!’”
She gained so much fame that folks in the industry started advising her against transitioning, saying it would ruin her career.
“They were like, ‘You don’t want to associate yourself with the trans thing too much because it’s not chic or it’s low-end or whatever.’ I think a lot of people in this industry do whatever they can to have a career and they didn’t understand that I would risk everything — it was deeper than a career [to me].”
Once she had surgery she said she felt “incredible.” And fortunately, her career continued on just as fast as ever.
“It’s a beautiful thing to not have to feel ashamed, to not have to hide. There’s a particular sense of accomplishment to this journey. To be living in Manhattan in 2017 for a person like me is incredible. It’s this dream I had as a kid that seemed like the stuff of fairytales, so the fact that I did it myself — I set out into the world and said I want to live the way I am and I don’t want to hide — feels like a fucking diploma.”
Still, she knows that as a white woman in the public eye, she has the privilege not guaranteed to every transwoman.
“Acceptance and exposure are great, but people need a job, education, the opportunity to live life, to love, to transition…”
“I want to say the future is bright, but I don’t know. I believe in humanity and that we can build a better world, but it’s going to take more than just hashtags.”