Six months ago, Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci cast his muse and best friend Lea T in an ensemble ad campaign for the brand. Yesterday, the New York Times highlighted T. — along with James Franco’s Candy cover and Marc Jacobs‘ cross-dressing turn for Industrie — in a Thursday Styles article titled, “Bold Crossings of the Gender Line” about the “saturation” of “gender-bending” in the news and media.
While the Times lauds the “empowerment” and “pride” behind the gender-bending coverage, it’s Lea T. who really seems to embody the movement. Since T.’s Givenchy ad was released back in May, her agency has received more than 400 interview requests — a boon for T., who told the Times that her participation in the campaign was more than just a career move.
“When you are a transsexual, you look for your future, and you can’t see it. I thought this would be a nice message for another tranny: ‘Look, we can be the same as other girls and boys.’ It’s small, but it makes you feel like you have a little chance. Maybe a transsexual will open a magazine and think: ‘That’s cool. We can be whatever we want.’ That’s why I did the Givenchy campaign.”
She also revealed the story behind her single initial last name — it stands for Tisci, who she says “unofficially adopted” her into his family. “He saw that my transitioning process was hard, how prejudiced people are and how I was suffering,” she told the Times. “He wanted to make me happy to have a nice picture of me.”
T. is currently in Milan waiting for her sexual reassignment surgery. “This is something you are going to keep for your life,” she explained. “I will always feel uncomfortable, but it will make my life a little easier, and I will look in the mirror and see something I like more.”
T. is set to be featured on an upcoming episode of Oprah’s final season. “I hope we have a big revolution,” she said, “and people change their minds about us — that it is just the beginning.” We do too.
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