International fashion model Andreja Pejic hosted her first Reddit AMA today. She answered questions from Redditors, who asked Andreja anything about coming out as her authentic self, her career, crowdfunding the new documentary Andrej(a), and more.
We sifted through some of the questions and answers, to bring you some highlights. For the full list of questions and answers, take a look at the Reddit AMA.
What do you think people misunderstand most about transgender people today?
I would say the fact that we are human beings like anyone else, and we strive to have happy and fulfilling lives, like anyone else. And that we are like everybody else.
Did your status as the poster child for androgyny make your public transition any easier or did you find it more difficult?
I would say... transitioning publicly is definitely not the most favorable option. I think it comes with challenges that, you know, can be overcome if you live a private life. I definitely think being public and just being a poster child did come with its own struggles, definitely.
Hi Andreja! I'm a big fan. What's the best advice you have ever received? love you mama!
Don't complain, don't explain! Fashion gave me that advice. It's a work strategy. It just means that you kind of have to - when you're a model, you have to work hard and can't complain.
Have your fellow models and others in the industry been supportive about you coming out?
For the most part, everyone has been pretty positive. You know, there were definitely struggles along the way, which is what my documentary is all about, but I'm pretty happy with how I've been lucky so far. And we'll see what happens next!
Hi Andreja! :) As a trans woman I want to start off by saying how much of an inspiration and role model you are to me, and I was soso happy to hear the news of your own transition earlier this year.
My question is, what do you think the biggest obstacle is in the world today to the acceptance of transgender people? And what do you think can be done to help remove this obstacle? Thanks for doing this AMA!
I think it's a lot to do with the way transgender people are represented in the mainstream. I think there needs to be a lot more positive representation. Growing up, when I turned the TV on, the only representation of transgender people was Jerry Springer, and that's horrible, so I think that's a big obstacle. And I just think that obviously transgender people need access to jobs, healthcare, housing, because it is one of the most disadvantaged minorities, so at the end of the day, it's a struggle for equality.
Are you going to be putting out more clothing items like you did with the shirts as part of the "Whatever" line? It shouldn't come as a surprise, but I've gotten more than enough "Wow! Who's that girl?" from it -- and have been happy to explain :)
Yeah! One of the prizes that we have on our Kickstarter is a t-shirt designed by me and it will most likely have my face, so you go on the Kickstarter and pledge you will get the t-shirt. And thank you for being so supportive & spreading my name!
This might not be answered but are you from outerspace? (There is an alien race called the Nordics, they are very tall and all have long blonde hair :) )
Yes, but don't tell anybody ;)
How did you first get into modeling both men and women's clothes? Did you identify as transgender back then? What would you say to young people of today who want to look androgynous?
I did, I identified from a very young age, but it's not something I shared publicly, not with my friends even, just with my family. And I guess to model both men's & women's clothes wasn't something I set out to do, I knew I was going to be androgynous, but I didn't know the type of career I was going to have, it was really the stylists who saw my look and decided to play around with me and put me in dresses and suits and whatever... and to young people who want to look androgynous, I say: go for it! for me it was really fun and it gave me the opportunity to express myself, I think there's something really cool about it, and it's something you can really do when you are young...
Hi Andreja, as the parent of an 11 year old transgender girl, I am so happy and proud that has she role models like you to look up and aspire to become. I am curious though, what was it like for those years that you were "in the middle" like for you? Most Trans* folks I know have said that they've "always known"... Did you always know that you were transgender? Also, how is your family with everything? Thanks!
It's great to hear from a supporting parent. I think that is great. I identified from a very young age. I figured out who I was very early on. But I kept that to myself, and then when I did tell my mom, she (I would say) is not the most modern woman, she didn't understand at first, but she loves her children so much she was wiling to understand and learn and support. And I think that is the job of every parent, the basic needs of a child to be accepted and loved. And i had a very successful career during that time, but it was a transition phase - I had fun with it at the time, but I knew that I had to transition, I had to claim my truth and live life as a woman, I am happy I have achieved that goal. Definitely it was not easy. there were struggles along the way, but I think I am stronger because of those struggles right now and because of being able to overcome those struggles.
What makes you proudest of yourself? Did you ever doubt yourself?
I think everyone, you know, has moments where they doubt themselves. For me, I definitely doubted being able to have a successful career - when I started, I was always told "You're too specific" "You're too niche" "You'll never make any money" "This isn't something that can work" "No one's had a successful career modeling both menswear and womenswear" so that put a lot of doubts in my mind... and it kept me very humble, but I was also definitely happy to prove those people otherwise, to prove MY own doubts wrong. I think I'm happy I've come this far. That I've achieved something I set out to do. At the age of 15, I told myself I was doing to do this, and I did it. So I think that's the one thing I'm probably the proudest of.
Hi Andreja! You are a wonderful role model and mind-opener. I wanted to know, what are some charities or organizations other than GLAAD that have supported you or you recommend supporting?
Well, obviously I love GLAAD and their support, which has been amazing throughout this journey. It really helps to have that backing and organizations out there. We have done a lot of work with the Ali Forney Center, it's for homeless LGBT youth... there are lot of great resources out there for transgender people. You can check out my website as well: http://andrejapejic.comBottom of Form