"Androgyny is more than just a passing fashion"

Top model Andrej Pejic challenges the gender binary order by parading on men and women catwalks. Specific phenomenon or new sexual revolution?

María Ovelar

October 8, 2011 


He is 19 but speaks with the assurance of someone 30. His mother is Serbian, his father is Croatian. The Balkan conflict exploded in front of his face. It was hard. But so was his way in the society where certain prejudices still remain. Still, optimism abounds.

He started playing with his identity when he is 14 years old…

The first time I dressed as a woman was when I was three. At 14 I released my feminine side. My mother at first feared for my safety, but gradually began to understand, she inquired into my case by means of people who happened through the same situation and began to support to me. My brother has always protected me and understood.

His career began in a McDonald’s. An agent approached, asked for a cheeseburger and asked him to model.

Indeed, it was. I started working at 17. After high school I traveled to London with five directions and some money in my pocket. Interestingly, all agencies turned me away, but the last one was Storm.

How did it feel to be on camera? And when he stepped on a catwalk?

My first session was for the Oyster magazine with two models in Paris. I knew little about the office and felt intimidated. The first parade was a shot of adrenaline that I broke my ankle. And I continued walking!

Then came the big day: the parade of Jean Paul Gaultier which raised an eyebrow over that exhibition in a semi-transparent wedding dress. How did he know the designer?

My mother was the first who spoke to me about him in my teens, and she gave me his perfumes for men and women. But I met him in person at a casting for male fashion. Jean Paul offered the models some ice cream and I was the first to accept one.

The fact he is success so young, he thinks he is already mature before?

Well, this time I learned to cook pretty well … And that is one of the most important skills a good girl should empower throughout her life … (laughs).

Coco Chanel was a pioneer when it comes to blur the line between genres. But fashion is still divided.

The male is stereotyped, respond to consumer demands. The female is more free. But sometimes, increasingly, can not tell if the styling is a man or a woman.

A well-known masculine publication included him in the list of the 100 sexiest women in the world.

Yes. I was very flattered to occupy No. 95.

But the episode did not end there. One writer called him the “thing”. Will he take legal action?

It was not a mere episode. Never before something happened to me … I try to be objective about intolerance. The person who wrote that article was conservative and transphobic, retrograde product of a society.

How to break down the barriers?

The world is divided into classes, and differences of nationality, gender or race are the result of the capitalist system. The only thing that can abolish these outdated barriers and fight for greater democracy and equality is the proletariat ones.

With his attitude and character, he is preparing the ground for others. Does he receive thank yous letters?

Yes, many. And the other day I received a gold necklace from a Saudi sheik.

Androgyny goes beyond appearance. Is there a third sex or is it just a fashion?

Transsexuals have always existed. To blame a social minority to a tendency seems to me incorrect.

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