Transgender models have been surging in popularity over the past few years. As a result, more and more models are opening up about their transgender identity and pursuing a career in modeling. This post explores some of the most famous transgender models who have captivated audiences with their beauty.
The world of modeling can be tough to break into. But for these 36 women, it’s not the industry they were born to break into – it’s their own. From trans beauty Jennie Klay to drag star Nicole Paige Brooks, these are the models making history by both “wearing” and embracing their womanhood. Check out this list of inspirational individuals who are defying categorical norms and looking darn good doing it.
Table of Contents
- 1. Carmen Carrera
- 2. Amanda Lepore
- 3. Andreja Pejić
- 4. Isis King
- 5. Candy Darling
- 6. Octavia St. Laurent
- 7. Hari Nef
- 8. Caroline Cossey
- 9. April Ashley
- 10. Harisu
- 11. Jamie Clayton
- 12. Roberta Close
- 13. Parinya Charoenphol – Nong Toom
- 14. Lea T
- 15. Jenna Talackova
- 16. Geena Rocero
- 17. Juliana Huxtable
- 18. Arise, Wanzer
- 19. Choi Han-bit
- 20. Ines Rau
- 21. Bibiana Fernandez
- 22. Cindy Thái Tài
- 23. Gigi Gorgeous
- 24. Valentijn De High
- 25. Kim Petras
- 26. Candis Cayne
- 27. Chen Lili
- 28. Nong Poy
- 29. Claudia Charriez
- 30. Laverne Cox
- 31. Nguyen Huong Giang
- 32. Jazelle Barbie Royale
- 33. Hunter Schafer
- 34. Indya Moore
- 35. Valentina Sampaio
- 36. Jari Jones
1. Carmen Carrera
Carmen Carrera was born in 1985 in the U.S. She is a reality television star, model, burlesque performer, and actress from the United States. She is known for making history in the modeling industry with her more feminine look and artistic inclination. Carrera is openly transgender, which adds to her celebrity. Additionally, Carrera is a transgender activist and a transgender lady.
2. Amanda Lepore
Amanda Lepore was born in 1967 in U.S. She is a transgender American model, singer, and performance artist. In addition, she is known as a transgender activist and an author, social critic, and theorist. Several awards have recognized her career in the arts, including the Obie Award, Bessie Award, and Pioneer Award. Her other notable television appearances include: Pose, Amazon Prime’s All Gays Walk Down Broadway, and The Passing Parade.
3. Andreja Pejić
Andreja Pejić Was born in 1991n in Yugoslavia. She is an Australian model and actor. She has become the most recognizable transgender model in the world since coming out as a trans woman in 2013. Pejić has been featured in Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar and on the cover of French Vogue. She is signed with Elite Model Management in New York City and is represented by View Management in Milan and Paris. Andreja Pejić is also the first openly transgender woman to be featured on the cover of Vogue Paris.
4. Isis King
Isis King is a model, actor, and fashion designer from the United States born in 1985. Isis King is best known for her roles on the reality television show America’s Next Top Model’s eleventh and seventeenth cycles. She was the first trans woman to compete and became one of the most visible transgender individuals on television. She has also been featured in L’Oréal’s advertising campaigns and on the covers of V Man, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan Brasil.
5. Candy Darling
Candy Darling was born in 1974 in Forest Hills, Queens. She was an American actress and transgender icon best known as a Warhol Superstar. She was a muse of The Velvet Underground and appeared in Andy Warhol’s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971).
6. Octavia St. Laurent
In 1964, Octavia St. Laurent Mizrahi was born. She was an AIDS educator and model in New York City’s Black and Latino ballroom community and Harlem’s opulent events. She became well-known after appearing in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. Among her many achievements, she was the first African American transgender model to be in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2002.
7. Hari Nef
Hari Nef was born in the United States in the year 1992. She is a model, actor, and writer from the United States. Gittel in the Amazon original series Transparent was Nef’s breakthrough performance, for which she was nominated for a SAG award. Hari Nef made her catwalk debut at New York Fashion Week Spring 2015, walking for Hood By Air and Eckhaus Latta, and was signed to IMG Models as the first openly transgender woman.
8. Caroline Cossey
Caroline Cossey was born in 1954 in England. She is a British model who went by the name Tula and wrote two memoirs under that identity. For Your Eyes Only, a 1981 James Bond film, featured her. After her role in the film, she was outed as transgender by the British tabloid News of the World. She was the first trans woman to model for Playboy in 1991. Since then, Cossey has campaigned for her right to marry legally and be recognized as a woman.
9. April Ashley
April Ashley MBE was born on this day in 1935. She is an actress, model, and novelist from England. She was one of the first British persons known to have had sex reassignment surgery after being outed as a transgender woman by The Sunday People newspaper in 1961. Her marriage was declared null and void in a well-known court case known as Corbett v Corbett. She was recognized as a woman by the U.K. government in 2014.
Harisu, Lee Kyung-stage Eun’s name, is a South Korean singer, was born in 1975. She is a singer, model, and actress from South Korea. Harisu was born a boy but identified as a girl early and underwent sex reassignment surgery in the 1990s. She is the first transgender entertainer in the Republic of Korea, and she was the second person in Korea to officially alter their gender in 2002. Her stage name is a play on “hot problem” in English.
11. Jamie Clayton
Jamie Clayton was born in California in the United States in 1978. She is an actress and model from the United States. Clayton is best known for Nomi Marks’s roles on Netflix’s Sense8, Sasha Booker on Designated Survivor’s third season, and Tess Van De Berg on Showtime’s The L Word: Generation Q.
12. Roberta Close
Roberta Close was born in 1964. She is a Brazilian fashion model. She was a transgender model to appear in Playboy’s Brazilian edition. She is the first transgender model to be featured in the Brazilian Playboy. Roberta Close was born as a boy and later transitioned into a woman.
13. Parinya Charoenphol – Nong Toom
Parinya Charoenphol was born in Thailand in 1981. She also knows the stage name, Parinya Kiatbusaba, and Nong Toom nickname. Thailand’s former Muay Thai (Thai boxing) champion, model, and actress. Before surgery, she was a kathoey, a Thai term for a transsexual lady.
14. Lea T
Lea T was born in 1981 as Leandra Medeiros Cerezo. She’s a transsexual fashion model from Brazil who was reared in Italy. Her professional last name, “T,” stands for Tisci, and she has been dubbed Riccardo Tisci’s “muse.”
She is the brand ambassador for Redken, a hair-care company based in the United States.
15. Jenna Talackova
Jenna Talackova is a Czech actress who was born in 1988. She is a model and television personality from Canada who rose to prominence in 2012 after winning a legal struggle to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant after being previously disqualified due to her gender identity. She has also appeared on such television programs as “IGN Inside Gameshow” and “Celebrity Wife Swap.” She was formerly called Jenna Talackova-Jacques, an heiress to the Talackovic family fortune.
16. Geena Rocero
In 1983, Geena Rocero was born. She is a New York City-based Filipino-American model, TED speaker, and transgender campaigner. Rocero is the founder of Gender Proud, a media production firm that recounts transgender people’s stories worldwide to promote justice and equality. In addition, Rocero has lectured at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and the White House regarding transgender rights.
17. Juliana Huxtable
Juliana Huxtable is a British actress born in 1987 in the U.S. She is an artist, writer, performer, and DJ from the United States. Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Project Native Informant, Artists Space, the New Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts are just a few places where Huxtable has shown and performed. In addition, Huxtable is a member of the House of Ladosha collective in New York City and the author of two books. She previously lived and worked in New York City, and since 2020, she has been based in Berlin.
18. Arise, Wanzer
Wanzer was born in Woodbridge, Virginia. Arise, Wanzer is a model, comedian, and actress. In the past, Wanzer has worked for major brands such as Dolce Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, and Calvin Klein. She is a transgender model who has had interviews in media outlets like Huff Post and Vogue. Wanzer wants to be the first transgender model in history to sign a clothing deal with a major label. She plans to launch her fashion label this year, emphasizing creating high-end luxury items for transgender women.
19. Choi Han-bit
Choi Han-bit was born in 1987 in South Korea. She is a South Korean model, actress, and singer. She is a member of the Mercury girl group from South Korea. Choi underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in 2006 with the help of her parents. As a result, her given name was changed to Han-bit, and she is now legally recognized as a man in South Korea. She had previously appeared on Yoo Jae-Jinsil suk’s Game on the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) television show Yoo Jae-Jinsil suk’s Game in 2005, before her operation. In addition, she was a competitor on Cycle 3 of Korea’s Next Top Model, where she came in 10th place.
20. Ines Rau
Ines-Loan Rau is a French actress who was born in 1990. Her nationality is French, and she works as a model in the fashion industry. She was the first openly transgender Playmate and was named Playmate of the Month by Playboy magazine in November 2017. She holds dual French and American citizenship. She had already risen to fame when she appeared in a show during the same period as trans model Carmen Carrera. After her appearance in Playboy magazine, Rau has been called South America’s Brad Pitt.
21. Bibiana Fernandez
Bibiana Manuela Fernández Chica wad born in 1954. She is a Spanish actress, singer, T.V. presenter, and model. Her professional career started when she was a teenager and replaced singer Silvia Ponte. Since then, Fernández has participated in several films and television series. She also had a distinguished career as a model since 1976. Fernandez revealed to the public that she was transgender in 2007, which caused controversy.
22. Cindy Thái Tài
Cindy Thái Tài was born in 1971 in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam as Nguyễn Thái Tài. She had sex reassignment surgery in Thailand’s Yanhee International Hospital in 2005. She became a well-known vocalist in her native country, with albums released in 2006 and 2007. On occasion, she appears on My Best Gay Friends, a Vietnamese web series. She was the first Vietnamese transgender person to come out publicly.
23. Gigi Gorgeous
Gigi Loren Lazzarato Getty was born in 1992. Gigi Gorgeous is a Canadian YouTuber, socialite, actress, and model. She identifies as transgender and gender fluid. She began her career by uploading recordings of herself singing to the internet on YouTube in the early 2010s. By mid-2013, she became widely known with her YouTube channel, which featured interviews, makeup tutorials, and other content. In 2014 she was recruited by the fashion brand “Calvin Klein” to model a clothing line inspired by her on her YouTube channel.
24. Valentijn De High
Valentijn de Hingh was born in 1990 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is a transgender Dutch Model and an Indonesian transgender activist from Jakarta, Indonesia. She was a contestant on Expeditie Robinson 2013, the eighth episode of the Dutch version of the American reality television show Survivor, which aired that year.
25. Kim Petras
Kim Petras was born in 1992 in Germany. She is a German singer and songwriter. Petras was born a male, but in 2017 she revealed that she was transgender and thus began her transition from male to female. In 2017, she self-released her debut single, “I Don’t Want It at All,” which went on to top various Spotify viral music lists.
26. Candis Cayne
Candis Cayne was born in 1971. She is an actress and a performer from the United States. Cayne has hit the Hollywood scene with a film role in Transamerica. Cayne is openly transgender, which adds to her celebrity. Cayne is a transgender activist and a transgender lady.
27. Chen Lili
Chen Lili was born in 1980 in China. She is a Chinese singer, model, and actress who identifies as transgender. She is known for her work as a fashion model. Lili is openly transgender, which adds to her celebrity. Lili is a transgender activist and a transgender lady. In early 2004, Chen attempted to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
28. Nong Poy
Treechada Petcharat, better known by the names Nong Poy, or Treechada Malayaporn. She was born in 1986 in Thailand. She is a Thai actress and model. Poy is openly transgender and one of Thailand’s most famous transgender people. Poy is a transgender activist and a transgender lady.
29. Claudia Charriez
Claudia Charriez was born in 1982 in New York, USA. Jennifer Hudson: I Still Love You is one of her many credits as an actress (2015). She is openly transgender, which adds to her celebrity. Charriez is a transgender activist and a transgender lady.
30. Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox was born in 1972. She is an LGBT activist and actor from the United States. In her portrayal of Sophia Burset on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, she became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award in any acting category and the first since composer Angela Morley in 1990. She is an openly transgender woman and one of America’s most famous transgender people. Cox is a transgender activist and a transgender lady.
31. Nguyen Huong Giang
Huong Giang was born in 1991 in Vietnam. Nguyen Huong Giang was originally born with the biological sex under Nguyen Ngoc Hieu’s birth name, who graduated from Dong Da High School (Hanoi) in 2010. After that, Ngoc Hieu studied at the College of Arts. Hanoi. In 2011, Ngoc Hieu went to Thailand to translate transgender into females.
32. Jazelle Barbie Royale
Jazelle Barbie Royale was born in 1987 in the state of Florida. She is a transsexual beauty pageant winner from the United States. She was the second American and the first African-American woman to win Miss International Queen in 2019. She worked as a healthcare provider and a nightclub singer in Orlando as of 2019. Valentina Fluchaire of Mexico succeeded her as Miss International Queen in 2020.
33. Hunter Schafer
Hunter Schafer was born in 1998. She is a model, actor, and LGBTQ rights activist from the United States. She made her acting debut in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” series Euphoria as Jules in 2019. She is the first transgender model to land a major acting role playing a transgender individual in a T.V. series.
34. Indya Moore
Moore, Indya Adrianna, was born in 1995. Indya Moore is an actress and model from the United States. They are most recognized for their portrayal as Angel Evangelista in the F.X. series Pose. In 2019, Time magazine named the actor one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
35. Valentina Sampaio
Valentina Sampaio is a Brazilian actress who was born in 1996. She is a Brazilian actress and model. In August 2019, Valentina Sampaio made history as the first openly transgender model for Victoria’s Secret. In 2020, Valentina Sampaio made history as the first openly transgender model for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
36. Jari Jones
Jari Jones was born in 1991. She is an actor, filmmaker, model, and LGBTQ rights activist from the United States. Jones worked on Port Authority as a cast member, writing consultant, acting teacher, and producer. Jones made history as the first black trans woman to produce a film at the Cannes Film Festival.