When she was first introduced to the world in 2010, she was Andrej Pejic, a captivating and versatile model who could glide down a runway in men’s or women’s clothing and make just about anything look effortlessly chic. At 6-foot-1, with her deep-set eyes and sky-high cheekbones, she was so striking that she quickly became a well-known, sought-after model, walking for designers such as John Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs.
Carine Roitfeld, then editor of Paris Vogue, introduced Pejic, who identified as male, in a womenswear spread that had the fashion world buzzing and Pejic doing interviews everywhere. She was a man who wore women’s clothes exceptionally well — better than most women, actually.
Pejic, 22, came out as a member of the transgender community Thursday night. From now on, she will model only womenswear, and her first name is Andreja.
Pejic always seemed comfortable in her skin; her quietly topless daring cover for Dossier Journal made headlines when Barnes & Noble elected to censor it with a poly bag. In the photograph, which was taken when Pejic still identified as male, she is seen removing a white button-down shirt, hair in curlers. Earlier this year, Pejic revealed, she had sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). “Now I can stand naked in front of a mirror and really enjoy my reflection. And those personal moments are important,” Pejic told Style.com.
The revelation does not come as a complete surprise; in 2011 Pejic said she would consider SRS to model for Victoria’s Secret. As far as we know, there’s no contract with the ubiquitous lingerie company, but Pejic elaborated on her thinking on SRS in her interview with Style.com:
I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older—I’m 22—and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.
Pejic also shared the news in a post on Facebook Thursday:
“I realized my past as an androgynous woman doesn’t make me any less of a woman today and I’m proud of it,” Pejic told Entertainment Tonight.