Givenchy model Lea T has revealed why she decided to be open about being transgender.
The Italian model was asked by Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci to star in the ads and says that she agreed on the condition of being open about her trans status.
Speaking to the New York Times, Lea said: “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.”
Lea previously worked as an assistant to Tisci and insisted that he mention her trans status in interviews.
“When you are a transsexual, you look for your future, and you can’t see it,” she said.
“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.”
Since appearing in the Givenchy adverts, she has also been featured in French Vogue and Italian Vanity Fair. Her modelling agency says it has had over 400 interview requests for her.
Lea is the daughter of former footballer Toninho Cerezo, who will not speak publically about her.
She plans to undergo surgical transition shortly.
“This is something you are going to keep for your life,” she said. “I will always feel uncomfortable, but [the surgery] will make my life a little easier, and I will look in the mirror and see something I like more.”