Teddy Quinlivan has made fashion history by becoming the first openly trans woman to appear in a Chanel campaign.
The model and activist announced she is the first openly transgender model to be tapped by Chanel Beauty for an advertising campaign.
Quinlivan shared the news on her Instagram account, posting a video and image from the campaign along with a heartfelt quote on the significance of this role.
“I find I don’t cry anymore when things are sad, but isn’t it interesting when we shed tears in moments of triumph?” she wrote.
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CHANEL BEAUTY -I find I don’t cry anymore when things are sad, but isn’t it interesting when we shed tears in moments of triumph. This was one of those triumphant cry moments for me. My whole life has been a fight. From being bullied at school consistently, kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it, my own father beating me and calling me a fagot, to receiving industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job... This was a victory that made all of that shit worth it. I had walked 2 shows for Chanel while I was living in stealth ( stealth meaning I hadn’t made my trans identity public yet) and when I came out I knew I’d stop working with some brands, I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again. But here I am in Chanel Beauty Advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community. The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you’re worthless. It’s your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting, Because if you give up then you will never experience the tears of triumph. Thank you to everyone who made this dream a reality! @nicolaskantor @shazmakeup @sebastienrichard1 @casadevallbelen
“This was one of those triumphant cry moments for me. My whole life has been a fight. From being bullied at school consistently, kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it, my own father beating me and calling me a f–got, to receiving industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job.…This was a victory that made all of that s–t worth it.”
After walking the runway for brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chloé, to name a few, Quinlivan came out publicly as transgender in September 2017.
Upon revealing her former life to the world, the 25-year-old worried that she would never work again with exclusive heritage brands such as the Parisian Chanel.
Quinlivan continued to express her excitement over the Chanel Beauty campaign on her Instagram Stories, praising other members of the LGBTQ community — including actresses Laverne Cox and Hunter Schafer and Victoria’s Secret model Valentina Sampaio — for their accomplishments.
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The Trump Administration’s has taken a dangerous anti LGBTQ+ stance throughout the past 2 years. Now the Administration is seeking to define “gender” as strictly Male or Female based on the sex organs of the individual at birth despite the currant accepted science and definition. Trump’s archaic and bigoted definition limits the spectrum of gender to either black or white. Gender is more than just the organs you were born with, gender is an experience. The idea that this will be so narrowly specified by either a penis or vagina negates the mental component of expressed gender identity. The experience of being female is more than just having a vagina; the experience of being male is more than just having a penis. This proposed stance explicitly places the physical characteristics of sex over the psychological aspects of gender. This stance also implies that what is in your pants is socially and societally more significant than how you present yourself in daily life; A stance that can only be made by a lack of critical thinking and empathy. Defining something as complex and intricate as gender to only the physical is akin to defining intellect by the size of the brain... completely irrelevant. While most people’s gender identity matches the sex organs they received at birth it’s extremely narrow minded to believe that in a world with nearly 7 billion humans there is no possible way that there are instances where the physical and the mental don’t align. Human life and interaction is more complex then simply the bodies we inhabit. If Mr. Trump would like to not have the size of his hands be directly correlated to the size of his dick then maybe he should extend the same courtesy and reasoning to transgender individuals.
“This is such an exciting time to be alive if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, especially if you’re [transgender] because trans girls are just out here f–king killing it,” she said.
“There is no glass ceiling that is unbreakable like this is our moment to seize the world and we just have to keep fighting and keep getting ourselves out there and making a difference and bringing exposure to the trans community to the forefront of the global stage.”
Chanel has also been praised for casting Quinlivan, given that the campaign featured the Boston-native as if she were any other model, eschewing tokenism or PR stunts for the brand.
In recognition of this milestone for the trans community in fashion, leading figures like Trace Lysette and Munroe Bergdorf have taken to Instagram to show their support for Quinlivan and the campaign.
Main image by @teddyquinlivan