Andrej Pejic is quickly becoming the fashion world’s most desired model. But who is he? Yes, he. Here’s a look at the androgynous model’s rise to fame.
1. Pejic is not transgendered.
While he often wears women’s clothing and doesn’t mind when people mistake him for a girl, he has no desire to actually become one. Androgyny and cross-dressing do not make him transgendered — for that, he would have to identify as the opposite sex. Pejic still identifies as a man.
He told New York Magazine: “I know people want me to sort of defend myself, to sit here and be like, ‘I’m a boy, but I wear makeup sometimes.’ But, you know, to me, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity — I identify as what I am. The fact that people are using it for creative or marketing purposes, it’s just kind of like having a skill and using it to earn money.”
2. He wasn’t always so glamorous.
3. Pejic and his family are Bosnian refugees.
He was born to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father. His mother fled to Serbia with her children, and they were granted refugee status to move to Melbourne, Australia, where Pejic grew up. His father stayed behind.
4. Pejic became famous for modeling a push-up bra...
To demonstrate just how well their push-up bra works, Dutch retail chain HEMA hired a model without breasts — Pejic — to wear it. He wore the bra under several figure-hugging dresses.
5. ...and a wedding dress.
Pejic was honored with the showpiece of the Jean Paul Gaultier womenswear show last year — he wore the designer’s see-through wedding dress. He also wore a more conventional bridal look on the cover of Out, where he was awarded “Stylemaker of the Year.”
6. His biggest problem? His shoe size.
Pejic is 6-foot-1, and a women’s size two to four — but his shoe size is a women’s 11. Since it’s a rare size for women, he’s forced to squeeze his feet into a women’s size 10 to walk in shows.
7. Pejic was named the 98th sexiest woman in the world by FHM.
The designation was an offensive one — macho mag FHM called him a ”thing,” and, in reference to his androgyny, said “Pass the sick bucket.” The article was later removed from FHM’s Web site.
8. His torso was censored by Barnes & Noble and Borders.
When Pejic made the cover of Dossier, the bookstores made the magazine sell that issue in an opaque bag to cover up a shirtless image of the model — even though men’s chests show up on magazine covers all the time.
“There's this expectation that men are masculine, and that women are feminine, and have bodies that can be recognized as female,” says Paisley Currah, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the author of the upcoming book United States of Gender, to the Daily Beast. “So Andrej, who is being presented socially as a woman, but whose body is a man, upsets those expectations. And he raises everyone's anxieties about gender as a result.”
9. He wore a skirt to meet the Queen of England.
When invited to Buckingham Palace, Pejic chose a Paul Smith blazer, Issey Miyake shirt, vintage Versace pencil skirt, his mother’s belt from the ’80s, and Toni Blanco shoes. He said it was inspired by “Sharon Stone, with a little bit ’90s.” Grazia magazine called the ensemble “modest and smart, but very beautiful ... a resounding success.”
10. Pejic likes to play tricks.
Joking about how Victoria’s Secret models have babies and go back to the runway with their original bodies just weeks later, Pejic jokes to New York magazine that he wanted to do the same thing, but in one day. He bought a fake pregnancy belly, but was prohibited from wearing it at a Brazilian airport. His Twitter account is full of sarcastic quips like, “I feel like Christina Aguilera is a blonde version of Snooki these days.” However, he can also get serious, often tweeting about politics and international affairs as often as he tweets about fashion.