Nathan Westling Announces His Transition

Photo Collier Schorr courtesy Society Management

In less than three months, 2019 has already been a banner year for transgender male models, with Finn Buchanan becoming the first openly transgender man to walk for Hedi Slimane’s re-envisioned Celine and Krow Kian notching firsts on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue and closing Louis Vuitton’s women’s show last week. This morning, CNN broke the news that Nathan Westling, a longtime staple of our Top 50 Models rankings list formerly as Natalie with an instantly identifiable mane of bright red waves, has come out as transgender and is transitioning with plans to return to modeling soon. “I hit a point where I was tired of just existing, because that was kind of my whole life and how I lived,” Westling said. “I always questioned how people just lived life, and just woke up and felt good and could just do things. And I couldn’t.”

After his many successes in the industry, including campaigns for Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Prada, Dior, and Louis Vuitton and covers of Dazed, Another, Document, The Last Magazine, and T Magazine, Westling made the decision early last year to step away and focus on himself, having spent over ten years fighting depression. He started taking testosterone and plans to have his chest reconstructed before returning to New York after a few months living in Los Angeles and rejoining the modeling world, which he says was important in helping him understand himself. “Working as a model, you know, a lot of people ask, ‘Did that screw with you? Did that hurt you?'” he explained. “(Modeling) was cool to me because I’ve always been playing a character, a persona, my whole life. So to be able to be put in all this different hair and makeup, I was able to discover myself as well, and see myself as so many different things; to really know that this is who I should be and the path I should take.”

Westling told CNN that he has been talking with past clients, who have been extremely welcoming, and he expects to come back to an industry that has made vast improvements in diversity and representation over the past few years and one that is ready to embrace him for who he truly is. “It feels like I’ve been wearing like a mask my whole life,” he said. “Once I removed that mask, it was like I was finally… I don’t know. I’m not wearing a skin that I don’t feel I am anymore. I’m not playing a persona; I’m not trying to be something I’m not anymore. I don’t feel like I’m stuck in this weird moment of having to be in-between.”

4 Comments
  1. Change his Top 50 description and image for male identity! Or put him on the Male Top 50

  2. Will Nathan begin modeling mens clothes? or will he stick to womens? I am so happy for him!

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