1. Carmen Carrera (U.S.)– wants the world to know she’s more than just a pretty face
After appearing on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Carrera came out as a transgender woman, parlaying her successful burlesque career into high-profile shoots for W magazine with legendary photographer Steven Meisel.
Her fame on the rise, late last year her fans petitioned Victoria’s Secret to hire Carrera as their first transgender Angel. Though the lingerie brand never responded to the call, Carmen remains undaunted and plans to audition for their 2014 runway show. Carmen is also an advocate for transgender rights and equality.
2. Lea T—native of Brazil
Brazilian bombshell Lea T. is now one of the world’s current favorites in the fashion modeling industry. She earns the top spot as a groundbreaking supermodel in 2010 when she became muse to Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci.
She is also a pop culture icon of Transgender Advocacy in the LGBTQQIA Community. She appeared in his haute couture shows and ad campaigns, and has since been featured in various high fashion editorials for various fashion magazines including W, Interview, V, and Candy.
3. Jenna Talackova—Miss Universe Canada
Of Czech and Babine descent, Talackova was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 15, 1988. She experienced gender dysphoria beginning in early childhood, and began her gender transition at age 14.
And what makes her fame is when she successfully waged a legal battle to be allowed to compete in the Miss Universe Canada after being initially disqualified for being a Transgender woman. I really appreciate what she says: “You know, you need to be real with yourself, and you need to realize that it’s not a mistake. You have an amazing life to live–live it the way you want to.”
4. Ines Rau—Assume who you are with no fears
The gorgeous Ines Rau had tongues wagging last year when her steamy shoot with Tyson Beckford went viral. The 24-year-old French model, now based in New York, was inspired to come out as a transgender woman after reading a book by pioneering trans model Caroline. Following in Tula’s steps, Ines recently posed for Playboy’s “Art Issue,” and she shines in Barneys’ lauded campaign, Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters, shot by Bruce Weber.
Her life attitude is worth admiring. When asked what she would say to children who are struggling with their gender identities, Rau said: “Having a sex change is not the answer to insecurities or other issues, a lot of transgender do not understand that it has to be done with reflection: because of a real deep desire to be a woman from a younger age. It’s fabulous the level of happiness- it’s just absolutely impossible to describe. I’m the happiest girl in the world, just being what I wanted to be. You have to love yourself enough to go for it without the fear of being judged or rejected. That’s my advice for them.” (Interview with models of the minute: models.com)
5. Candy Darling—A legacy in making transgender a part of pop culture
As the muse to the Velvet Underground and Warhol superstar, Candy Darling’s name lives on through her work in the iconic artist’s films Flesh and Women in Revolt. And because she gave her name to the world’s first transgender style magazine, Candy. She is more an actress than model and although she died at an early age of 29, she’s still a style and fashion icon in her own rights.
6. Caroline “Tula” Cossey—James Bond Girl
Caroline “Tula” Cossey is an English model as well as one of the world’s most well-known transgender women, having appeared in a James Bond film and been the first to pose for Playboy. Since being ousted by British tabloid News of the World, Cossey has fought for her right to legally marry and to be recognized by the law as a woman.