Female models earn 3 times more than men. So it’s not surprising that 19 year old Andrej Pejic tried his hand in the female modeling industry. Due to his androgynous looks, he is said not to look like “any other guy nor girl”. And whether he is strutting in an Oscar de la Renta gown or in a Giorgio Armani 3 piece suit, Pejic may just be one of the biggest models out at the moment. He has even been compared to Any Warhol’s transsexual muse “Candy Darling”. But Pejic is not the only model blurring the gender lines and working for the opposite side.
Elliot Sailors is a female model that has done the reverse. This model in her early thirties has decided to break into the male modeling industry as a way to reinvent herself and sustain her revenue in an industry were age is your main offender. Basically, she wanted to continue her modeling career and switching sectors provided a way for her to keep her job for years to come. Female models may get paid more, but their youth is also more highly valued. With her career headed in a new direction, Sailors told Elle.com that she, “hoped the transformation would open up a conversation about identity and gender in fashion [and that] one of [her] favorite things about working in menswear is that people are much more direct about what they want”.
Unlike Pejic and Sailors who have at least dabbled in both worlds at one point in time, Casey Legler works exclusively modeling menswear and is the first female model to do so. She is also the only woman signed to the noteworthy agency, Ford Men. Her story can be viewed in the May 2013 issue of Vogue titled “Gender Agenda”. The Huffington Post describes the article as focusing on “fashion’s new found propensity for ‘gender-flipping’ and how designers and models are blurring the lines of gender and sex, of male and female.” Legler makes a point to recognize that her career decision was not about gender identity, stating in an interview for Time Magazine, “I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other. But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something.”
Much less a statement about gender identity and more of a focus on personal successes in this fierce industry, these models are breaking boundaries in their own unique way.
-Vanessa Noble, Fashion Staff Writer