Project Runway has featured its first transgender model during its 17th season, which is currently airing on Bravo.
In last night’s episode, the model – who introduced herself as Mimi – told designer Kovid Kapoor: “I have been working so hard to get here, especially for the transgender people. They need to work harder than other people. I’m so glad I got here.
“I’m the first transgender model in the Project Runway,” she added.
“I’m the first transgender model in the Project Runway.”
– Transgender model Mimi
Transgender model wants to ‘change the industry’
Mimi continued: “I want to change the industry. I want to inspire all the transgender young generation who have a dream.”
The designer who was tasked with creating Mimi’s outfit, Kapoor, responded by saying he was “so honoured” and said she was “a goddess.”
He also suggested that he could relate to Mimi’s experience of oppression, as he and his boyfriend come from the Himalayan highlands of India, where homosexuality was illegal until last year.
Speaking on the show, Kapoor said: “One day our neighbours called the cops on us and we actually had to leave our home the very next day. That’s why I feel like there is so much connection between her and I.”
“I want to inspire all the transgender young generation who have a dream.”
– Transgender model Mimi
Project Runway debuted in 2004, and the latest season marks its return to Bravo after it aired for a number of years on Lifetime. The show’s latest season also sees Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano taking roles alongside Elle editor Nina Garcia.
Tim Gunn caused controversy for saying he was ‘conflicted’ about transgender models
Former Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn caused controversy in 2014 when he said that he was “conflicted” about the idea of letting transgender people be models on the show as they had the “bone structure of a man.”
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He said: “The fact that fashion designers would put basically adolescent-shaped boys or men in wmoen’s clothes is head-scratching for me because, anatomically, women and men have different shapes.
“So, to be looking at women’s fashion on a tall, skinny guy with no hips, there’s no way you can project yourself into those clothes.
“I don’t want to say that because you were a man and now you’re a woman, you can’t be in a women’s fashion show. But I feel it’s a dicey issue.”
– Tim Gunn
“On one hand, I don’t want to say that because you were a man and now you’re a woman, you can’t be in a women’s fashion show. But I feel it’s a dicey issue.
“The fact of the matter is, when you are transgender — if you go, say, male to female — you’re not having your pelvis broken and having it expanded surgically. You still have the anatomical bone structure of a man.
“One of my mantras is that it’s important to be honest; it’s important to be direct.”
Meanwhile, a transgender model was recently featured in a Pantene advertising campaign in the UK.
Cambell Kenneford told PinkNews that it was an “honour” to appear in the campaign as the first British openly transgender model to appear in a Pantene campaign.
“I think it’s great that brands are being more inclusive and including transgender models,” Kenneford said.