Tommy Dorfman wanted to look back at ‘reintroduction’ pictures in 20 years ‘and not be embarrassed’
Tommy Dorfman has admitted she didn’t want to look back on her Time magazine shoot in 20 years’ time and ask: “Bitch, why are you in a mesh bodysuit?”
In July, Tommy Dorfman reintroduced herself to the world as a proud trans woman in a magazine interview and photoshoot with Time magazine, one that she said was about “clarifying”, not coming out.
Three months on, speaking to friend and pop star Charli XCX on the singer’s BBC podcast Best Song Ever, Dorfman explained that it was important to her that the shoot felt timeless.
“Something with that shoot that was really important to me was that when I decided to do a more clarifying piece – not really a coming out piece – I would look back on it in 20 years and not be embarrassed by what I wore or how I looked,” Dorfman said.
“Not that I would ever be embarrassed by wearing Mugler but we had some options [that I tried on] and was like :‘Oh my god, I’ve never looked hotter in my life, I’m going to step on everyone’s throat in this’ and then ultimately I was like,” she sighed, “in 20 years I’m going to look at this and be like: ‘Bitch, why are you in a mesh bodysuit for your coming out?’”
The actress and photographer detailed how support from the team onset helped her get through that monumental day.
“It was deeply emotional. It’s one of the few days in my life where I remember almost every moment because I was so hyper-present and fortunately surrounded by people that I really love and people who really love me,” Tommy Dorfman said.
“Everyone kind of came together to hold me up on that day, like I really am not responsible for that day. It was a great collaboration of folk I’d known for years and people I’d just met, all coming together in that room to help me tell my story in the most authentic, genuine way possible.”
In particular Dorfman had high-praise for her make-up artists Kali Kennedy and Sam Visser. “They are the two most affirming people to work with in our industry for trans people because they know how to beat my face but not make me look like a drag queen,” she elaborated.
Detransition Baby author Torrey Peters, who interviewed Dorfman for the Time feature, also received a shout-out for her work on the piece. “Having Torrey Peters write the piece, someone I idolise and have been mentored by was really magical.”
“I’m like crying right now thinking about that day,” she told the ‘Vroom Vroom’ singer on the podcast.
“You looked amazing, but above all else I could kind of tell that you felt amazing from your eyes and energy in those pictures,” Charli XCX said in response to Dorfman’s comments.
“That photoshoot, as well as being a monumental day for you, I think will be hugely inspiring and important to so many people who maybe aren’t as far along their journey with their identity as maybe you are now.”
“I think it’s so important to see people who you can reflect yourself in and identify with, and I just think it’s really amazing that you did that shoot,” XCX concluded.
“You would have looked amazing if you wore the mesh bodysuit too.”
Speaking about how far she’s coming in her personal journey with her gender identity, Dorfman reflected: “I did a side-by-side with a portrait of my face from that shoot, and a shoot I had done right before the pandemic in 2020 and it’s like two different people, like energetically.
“Take away the hair, take away the make-up, take away the clothes – behind the eyes it’s a distinctly different person.”
You can listen to the full interview with Tommy Dorfman on Charli XCX’s Best Song Ever podcast via BBC Sounds.
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