Culture/Style

Meet Aaron Philip, the trans, disabled model who just landed her first major magazine cover

In an interview with Naomi Campbell, Phillip shared her vision for the industry: “Representation matters because everyone deserves to be objectively beautiful”

June 25, 2019

Last year, the fashion industry entered a new era of inclusivity when 18-year-old Aaron Philip became the first black, trans, and disabled model to sign with a major agency. Now, Philip is blazing her trail even further forward by landing her first major magazine cover.

Philip, appears on the cover of this month’s pride issue of Paper Magazine with an interview with none other than fellow trailblazer Naomi Campbell. The issue includes a photoshoot of the model shot by Myles Loftin and styled by Tiffani Williams. In the 18-year old Phillip describes Campbell as “my hero”:

Born in Antigua, Philip’s family moved to the States when she was just 3 years old in search of better treatment for their daughter’s medical condition. At age 17, she announced her modeling aspirations to the world with a tweet captioned “honestly when i get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it’s OVER for y’all! by y’all i mean the WORLD! it’s real inclusivity/diversity hours folks, get into it!” back in November of 2017.

Since then, tweet has gained nearly 100,000 likes. But more importantly, it brought Philip to the attention of Elite Model Management, who signed her in July of 2018. Philip has since gone on to model for ASOS.com and be included in Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21” list before her latest Paper cover story.

In the interview, Philip explains how her role in the modeling world isn’t just a career, but a responsibility to transform the fashion world into a space of equality: “I want to be seen equal, I want to have the equal opportunities that any other woman would have in life itself, I want to have those experiences. I want to have normalcy,” adding that “I would now like to see the diverse models get the same contracts as their counterparts.”

Though Philip notes that the fashion world has “gotten a lot better,” she admits that “I still think there is a lot of improvement needed” – as evidenced through recent controversies such as Gucci’s blackface turtlenecks or Victoria’s Secret’s transphobic comments. Thankfully, Philip’s already-influential work in the fashion world isn’t going unappreciated:

More of this, please.

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