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Munroe Bergdorf talks schooling ‘racist snakes’ while casually gracing the front cover of Teen Vogue

Josh Milton September 9, 2020
Munroe Bergdorf on the cover of Teen Vogue wearing a black leather trench

Photographed by The Masons, Munroe Bergdorf spoke to Teen Vogue's Thora Siemsen for the magazine's September issue. (Teen Vogue)

The definition of Black trans brilliance that is Munroe Bergdorf shared her incredible Teen Vogue cover Wednesday (9 September) and outlined her new role with L’Oréal Paris.

Teen Vogue’s September issue poses the question, “What Is Fashion Now?“, and stars the British model on one of two covers wearing a billowing black Erdem coat and kaleidoscopic Julia Heuer trousers.

“I really don’t have the words to describe how this feels,” Bergdorf wrote on Twitter, announcing the cover. “As a Black, queer, transgender woman, I never ever thought that I could be on the cover of Vogue.

“But here we are! Dreams do come true.”

Munroe Bergdorf talks putting the ‘racist snakes’ in L’Oréal Paris to task.

Inside the magazine, Bergdorf reflects on her new role with L’Oreal Paris and the journey that lead up to it.

Bergdorf was hired the beauty brand’s first-ever trans model in 2017, but was axed weeks later when the Daily Mail seized upon comments she had made as white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia and killed anti-fascism protester Heather Heyer.

After L’Oreal sought to align itself with Black Lives Matter earlier this year, the author and DJ lit into its “meaningless”, hypocritical show of solidarity and called out its “racist snakes”.

Bergdorf told Vogue how her outcry prompted a phone call with the brand’s new president Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, who joined after she was fired, and the offer to be L’Oréal Paris’ diversity consultant.

“I’m now in direct contact with the brand president and will be part of the UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, helping them to be as inclusive as possible with their imagery, with their products, to look at their campaigns ahead of time and be involved in the process of reducing oversights.

“It’s a responsibility and a role I’m taking very seriously. So many decisions get made, and then by the time that it’s due to go out, it’s too late.”

New book Transitional will give hope to young Black trans people.

Bergdorf also reflected on the title of “activist”, one she said she “embraces” but that is often listlessly tagged onto other models for simply existing.

“It’s ruthless,” she mused, “you can’t just be a model. You need to be a trans model, and you need to explain to everybody what it means to be trans, on top of all of the work that cis models do.

“I think it can be quite triggering for marginalised people to be involved in an industry, contribute in a way that is valuable, and then be expected to also be an activist.”

She also spoke about her upcoming book, Transitional, billed as a manifesto on gender.

“I want young Black trans women to hold this book, to have it on their bookshelf and feel like it’s a source of power, that I went through all of that s**t and came out on the other side, still able to generate self-love and compassion and understanding for other people.”

More: fashion, munroe bergdorf, teen vogue, Trans, transitional

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