Smile of the Week – Andreja Pejic on Risking Everything
In celebration of Pride Month, our choice of Smile of the Week is the transgender beauty, Andreja Pejic.
Certainly one of the most recognizable transgender supermodels of today, she was named Stylemaker of the Year on OUT Magazine’s 2011 list of the 100 Most Compelling People.
“A lot of people in the industry told me not to transition. 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].”
Prior to transitioning from male to female, Pejic had a successful androgynous modeling career. She currently among the celebrities who has a massive social media fan base, numerous ad campaigns, a long list of magazine covers, and even a Vogue feature.
Pejic shares with Refinery29 that she planned to transition right after high school. But, at 17 years old, she was scouted and she jumped at the opportunity.
“I was just interested in seeing the world and making some money for my transition and my family; I didn’t know [modeling] was going to become this big exploration and argument against gender.”
Pejic became the model every fashion brand wanted. She walked runways for major men’s wear and women’s wear, even landing a campaign as the face of Marc Jacobs. But she wasn’t really happy despite her success as an androgynous model.
“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!’”
In 2013, despite having influential naysayers, Pejic was finally able to schedule the much-awaited surgery. Days after her surgery, the model walked the DKNY runway. Several difficult months later, she left DNA Model Management and moved to Society Management.
Not long after walking in Giles’ fashion show, Vogue featured her story for their first-ever profile of a transgender model. In 2015, Make Up For Ever offers Pejic a contract, making her the first transgender woman to sign a contract for a makeup company.
“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.”
Indeed, Andreja Pejic risking everything to pursue her happiness is one of those stories you can read when you’re faced with challenging life decisions.