My Optimism Outweighs the Fear

Photo by Melodie Jeng
Today on CNN Style, model Teddy Quinlivan made known her transgendered identity through an exclusive interview given to the news site. Since beginning her career walking exclusively for Louis Vuitton Teddy has been a constant presence on the runway for shows like Gucci, YSL, Marc Jacbobs, Coach and more, as well as off of it being known for her eye-catching street style quickly gaining her industry admirers who booked the American model for editorials in Vogue Japan, Love, Interview, Another and more. Quinlivan’s coming out adds her to a growing list of widely known trans models like Hari Nef, Andreja Pejić, Casil McArthur, Valentina Sampaio and furthers the discussion on the fashion industry’s progress towards more diverse, inclusive castings. Detailing in her interview, Teddy explains she transitioned at the age of 16 and has since been presenting as cis female, going on to say, “I was very lucky, because I won the genetic lottery — I looked a certain way and my voice hadn’t dropped. That privilege gave me a lot of confidence to walk down the street, date and (work) in the fashion industry, where people I would presume I was a ‘normal’ girl.”

Teddy told CNN her reasoning behind the reveal was manifold, but foremost saying, “I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States.” She noted, “There’s been violence against transgender people — particularly transgender women of color — since before I even knew what transgender was. I just felt a great sense of urgency.” Beyond the state of affairs, Teddy explained to CNN, “It’s political, but I’m also doing it for myself. I was ready to come out, but I think the times we live in elevated the sense of importance and urgency.”

Already her decision to come out publicly has been met with deserved praise from the industry like Marc Jacobs who officially stated, “I respect, admire and support Teddy’s decision to come out as transgender. Now more than ever it is vital that we pledge our allegiance to the LGBT community and use our voices to encourage and inspire acceptance, equality, understanding and love.” And on her Instagram, where she released a film that opens with Teddy fearlessly saying, “My name is Teddy I’m transgender,” casting directors, agents, and fellow top models sounded off with explicit support–validating Teddy’s daunting decision: “My optimism outweighs the fear.”

Teddy can add to her list of admirers.

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