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Munroe Bergdorf wants people to know role models aren’t ‘perfect human beings’: ‘I make mistakes just like everybody else’

Patrick Kelleher April 29, 2021
Munroe Bergdorf has a plan to become Strictly's first trans contestant

Munroe Bergdorf. (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Munroe Bergdorf wants people to know that role models aren’t perfect and that she makes mistakes just like everybody else.

The model and activist made her comments during a discussion with DJ and presenter Dotty and singer-songwriter MNEK for the Beats by Dre Informal series.

When asked by Dotty if she feels the “weight of responsibility” of being a role model for young LGBT+ people, Munroe Bergdorf explained: “I don’t try to be that.”

She said: “I just try to be as authentic as possible and remind people that a role model is not a perfect human being, it’s a fully-formed person that is trying to do their best.

“I make mistakes just like everybody else, but I like to think that it’s really about how you acknowledge those mistakes and grow from them.”

Munroe Bergdorf looks up to people who are ‘flawed’

Bergdorf said there are “a thousand things” she regrets, adding: “I don’t look up to people that are perfect, I look up to people that are flawed, that grow, and everybody that I looked up to as a kid was massively flawed and controversial.”

The trailblazing model said her identity as a trans woman is “inherently controversial” in today’s society, saying people would often stare at her when she entered a room because they “didn’t understand”.

“Things are only controversial until they’re not and then once you take away the shame that’s attached to something, it leads to progress because we’re able to talk about things,” she said.

When asked by Dotty if the LGBT+ community today needs to push boundaries and “be controversial”, Bergdorf said: “Yeah, I would say so.”

She elaborated: “When I was growing up a kiss between two men on EastEnders was the talk of the town, and now two men kiss on EastEnders and it’s not even a thing – you put the kettle on. It’s really not that much of a thing and it’s just exposing people to imagery that they haven’t seen.”

Elsewhere in the discussion, MNEK opened up about feeling a need to be a “martyr” and a person of “great importance to the Black queer community” when he released his debut solo album Language in 2018.

He said he “saw the impact” of being visibly queer during his album campaign, even though he sometimes wonders if his music is really reaching people.

“But when you go to a concert and you see a Black gay kid and they’ve found solace in what you’re doing, it’s a different type of success. It’s a different measure, but it’s 10 times as valuable,” MNEK said.

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