These 26 Models Are Actively Increasing LGBTQ+ Representation in Fashion

These 26 Models Are Actively Increasing LGBTQ+ Representation in Fashion
Indya Moore

Transgender nonbinary actor and "Pose" star Indya Moore began their modeling career working with luxury brands like Dior and Gucci, then moved on to acting. You might have seen them on the critically acclaimed "Saturday Church," all while scoring major magazine covers like Harper's Bazaar, Porter, and Elle along the way. The model is also immersed in the world of fashion design. Last year, they created a gender-fluid and size-inclusive capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger, bringing their values to the classic American fashion brand.

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Shaun Ross

Shaun Ross is doing away with outdated standards of beauty as a gay, Black and albino model. He has walked for fashion houses like Alexander McQueen and Givenchy, and been featured in music videos for artists such as Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, and Katy Perry. In addition to these milestones, the model is also carving his own path in music with the release of his debut album, "Shift."

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Jari Jones

Jari Jones is an influential model, actress, and activist. She appeared in Calvin Klein's 2020 Pride campaign and was the first Black trans woman to produce a film competing at Cannes Film Festival. She was recently recognized at the GLAAD Media Awards for her role in the movie "Port Authority," an honor she shared on Instagram with the caption: "Thank you @glaad for recognizing the importance of honoring Black Trans Women and the major contribution we have not only to our community but society."

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Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne has a résumé that boasts top model, actress, and musician. She came out as bisexual a few years ago, and has worked on initiatives to support The Trevor Project, a nonprofit devoted to suicide prevention for queer young people - including an apparel line with Puma.

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Isis King

Since appearing as a contestant on "America's Next Top Model," Isis King has become a well-known face in the transgender community, walking in shows like Savage x Fenty. King was the first trans model to appear on ANTM, and while she did not win the competition, she's certainly reached new heights.

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Hunter Schafer

Hunter Schafer may be best known for her role as Jules in "Euphoria," but she's also a talented model who has walked for Dior, Miu Miu, Vera Wang, and Helmut Lang. Speaking to The New York Times about trans representation in Hollywood, she said: "I think it's always preferable that a trans person plays a trans person - one, because there's enough cisgender actors in Hollywood, and two, because trans people can bring levels of experience to the trans experience that they might be portraying. A cisgender actor might be able to conceptualize and get it down to a T but won't have the experiences in their back pocket that they can bring forward to use for that character. Trans people deserve to see themselves represented on their own TV screens, not being inhabited by people who might not completely understand them."

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Freja Beha

Freja Beha has ruled the runways for the likes of Prada, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Chanel, Dior - basically all the major fashion houses you can think of. She is one of the most visible LGBTQ+ models in the fashion industry, famous in part for her shaggy hair, tattoo collection, and androgynous look. Beha isn't stopping anytime soon; she revently walked the Saint Laurent fall 2022 runway during Paris Fashion Week. And did we mention she was a former muse to fashion force Karl Lagerfeld?

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Stella Maxwell

This It girl has modeled for Victoria's Secret and been the face of cosmetics brand Max Factor. Professional accolades aside, she's also been linked to Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart.

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Munroe Bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf is a British model who has walked in London and NYC Fashion Weeks and uses her platform to address hard-hitting topics, including LGBTQ+ rights, racism, and feminism. In a recent Instagram post for example, she shared a thought-provoking graphic, educating her more than half a million followers on what Pride really is. In June 2020, this change-maker joined L'Oréal Paris's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

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Catherine McNeil

At just 33, Catherine McNeil's already a fashion veteran. She's appeared in major campaigns for Givenchy, Dior, and Versace; modeled for numerous Vogue editions; and walked in Men's Fashion Week in 2018 - adding to her mile-long résumé.

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Tasha Tilberg

A top model in the '90s, Tasha Tilberg quickly made a name for herself in the industry. The British-Columbian star was discovered at 14, and walked the runways of Helmut Lang, Louis Vuitton, and Calvin Klein. The model has now turned her focus to sustainability. In a recent interview with Fashion Magazine, she said, "My amazing agent really examines opportunities before she brings them to me. Then we look to see if the brand aligns with my values."

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Arizona Muse

Which edition of Vogue magazine has Arizona Muse covered? Oh, just about all of them, from American to French to British and beyond. Most recently, she joined other activists in the fight for sustainable consumption. She founded a charity called Dirt, which supports biodynamic farming.

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Valentina Sampaio

In 2019, Valentina Sampaio was hired as Victoria's Secret's first transgender model, and she was the first trans model to appear in the Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue. The Brazilian-born model told POPSUGAR at the time, "To me, [gender-neutral modeling] represents a victory for society; not just the trans community, but for all people who are currently underrepresented in fashion. We are experiencing a moment - an evolution, and it is a positive one. Brands are finally learning and catching up to the importance of inclusivity and diversity."

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Erika Linder

Erika Linder is a sought-after model for major shows, but perhaps you'll recognize her from Katy Perry's "Unconditionally" music video. The Swedish model and actress recently opened up to W Magazine about her journey, touching on when she was discovered. "I was 14 and at an outside concert in Stockholm with my best friend. This woman came up to me and said, 'Do you want to be a model?' And I was like, 'Is she talking to me?' I didn't believe it. I pictured models as being way more girly. I said no and they were on me for a few years, but I didn't do it until it was 21."

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Lea T

Lea T has been a muse for fashion designer Riccardo Tisci for more than a decade. When he made her the face of a campaign, she told The New York Times in an interview, "He saw that my transitioning process was hard, how prejudiced people are and how I was suffering. He wanted to make me happy to have a nice picture of me." You might have also noticed her on the covers of the Italian editions of Vogue, Grazia, and Glamour.

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AzMarie Livingston

Since appearing on "America's Next Top Model" in 2012, AzMarie Livingston has gone on to act in "Empire," "Precious," "The Real Housewives of New York City," and "The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty." She has also been featured in several music videos and even released her own debut singles.

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Chella Man

Chella Man is a deaf trans genderqueer artist, author, and designer who has created a beautiful jewelry collection and accompanying campaign with Asian-led brand Private Policy. Chella also executive produced the docuseries "Trans in Trumpland" and wrote a book called "Continuum" that explores his identities. He's been featured in magazines, is a friend of many fashion brands, and stars as a model in many of his own projects.

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Teddy Quinlivan

Theodora "Teddy" Quinlivan was the first openly transgender person to work for Chanel Beauty in 2019 when she landed an ad campaign. But she was actually discovered by Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015, and has since worked with many other luxury fashion houses including Saint Laurent, Dior and Carolina Herrera. She has also appeared on thge catwalks of Fendi, Chloe, and Marc Jacobs. She transitioned when she was 16 and came out in September 2017, two years after making a name for herself with Louis Vuitton.

In an interview with Elle in 2018, she said: "I think fashion, in terms of social power, is the most important industry. Advertising has tremendous impact in terms of who and what we find attractive. It's a hard sphere to penetrate. But I have. So I can't stay silent while a reality TV president actively fights to prevent people like me from living a normal life. . . Why can't a transgender person walk in a Versace show or run for office? She already has-and maybe, one day, I will."

(Getty / Daniel Zuchnik)
Andreja Pejic

Andreja Pejic has been making waves in the fashion industry since landing an international campaign for Gaultier before she transitioned. While Andreja used to model both men's and women's lines, she has since stated she will be modeling as a woman. In 2018, she made her film debut in the movie "The Girl in the Spider's Web."

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Ireland Baldwin

Ireland Baldwin has landed gigs for W, Vanity Fair, and Elle magazines. Yet, the model has been candid about her body image journey, writing in an Instagram post, "I have been called some version of fat, ugly, worthless and irrelevant by grown adults on the internet since I was a kid. It's nothing new. . . I am living a newfound motto: Stand up for yourself."

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Nathan Westling

Westling made his runway debut at Marc Jacobs in 2013 under a different name. He announced his transition in 2019 and has been named one of Business of Fashion's 500 most influential figures in the industry. He has starred in campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Versace, Prada, Chanel, Dior, and Alexander McQueen, just to name a few, and has been featured in countless magazines.

(Getty / Yuchen Liao)
Leyna Bloom

In 2017, Leyna Bloom was one of the few openly transgender models walking the runways at New York Fashion Week. As the second trans model to be featured in SI Swim, alongside Valentina Sampaio, she also made history as the first Black and Asian trans woman in the iconic magazine. Her feature film, "Port Authority" (also starring Jari Jones), made a debut at Cannes Film Festival in 2019, making her the first trans woman of color to have led a role in a movie featured at the prestigious festival.

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Laith Ashley

Laith Ashley is an artist, singer, actor, and model who broke onto the scene in "RuPaul's Drag Race" and "Pose." He transitioned medically at age 24 and went on to model Calvin Klein underwear, before working with Barney's New York, Diesel, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

(Getty / Rodin Eckenroth)
Hari Nef

Hari Nef was the first openly trans woman to sign to IMG Worldwide. She has since made waves in both the fashion and movie industries, starring in the film "Assassination Nation" and making appearances on the hit Netflix show "You" and the HBO Max series "And Just Like That." Nef has also turned her Instagram page into an educational resource for transgender rights.

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Madison Paige

Madison Paige has modeled in campaigns for many brands, including Gucci, Paul Mitchell, and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as collaborated with Photo/Genics + Co. on a gender-neutral clothing line.

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Geena Rocero

Geena Rocero is a runway pro who came out as transgender while giving a TED talk. She founded Gender Proud, an organization with the goal "to elevate transgender justice and equality."

(Getty / Vincent Sandoval)

"As long as gay people don't have their rights all across America," the late gay liberation activist Marsha P. Johnson once said, "There's no reason for celebration." The unsung LGBTQ+ activist and drag performer was a prominent figure in the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations confronting discrimination that would unify LGBTQ+ community members around the world. Drawing on Johnson's legacy, a group of LGBTQ+ models continue to speak out their truth and advocate for gay rights today.

The LGBTQ+ community has made significant strides toward representation in fashion. From queer fashion designers amplifying the community year-round to LGBTQ+ influencers asserting their presence in heteronormative spaces, the fight continues with a new crop of trailblazers working across disciplines. Actress Laverne Cox, for example, recently helped design the first transgender Barbie, a move that will help LGBTQ+ children and young adults have the much-needed representation they deserve.

The fashion industry is also slowly opening its catwalks and advertising campaigns to LGBTQ+ talent, thanks in part to some of these gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender models who are living their truth and thriving in these heteronormative spaces unapologetically. While there is still much more to accomplish, these inspiring individuals are paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps.

Read on for a list of headline-making LGBTQ+ models you should know about right now. Follow their work and content to educate yourself on the history of Pride celebrations, and be sure to actively show up for the community by participating in Pride events, voting for candidates who support gay rights, and buying from queer-owned brands and businesses.

- Additional reporting by Allison Ingrum and Zara Patel

Related: These 22 Trans Models Are Revolutionizing the Fashion Industry