Aaron Philip becomes the first trans and disabled model to sign with a major modelling agency

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Aaron Philip has now signed with the Elite modelling agency.

Philip signed with the Elite modelling agency last week, and thanked her supporters for helping her “make the fashion world more inclusive.”

She then added: “This hasn’t been easy, but we did it! I’m so excited and grateful to work hard and share this new chapter of my life with you all.”

And Philip later penned an essay for Them, writing: “I entered the fashion world with intentions of making the industry more diverse, inclusive, and accessible.

“‘I have never seen a physically disabled supermodel or a Black transfeminine model heralded, celebrated, or even working in the way other models are.  And I hope to change that. This lack of representation and visibility in fashion has deeply affected me throughout my life.

“[It] has driven me to take matters into my own hands to carve a space and try to provide opportunity for members of my community in this field.

“While this might sound inspiring to some, to me it’s simply a matter of showing the world something different. And opening people’s minds — especially in fashion, where there’s a fine line between art and consumerism.”

Related: Leyna Bloom’s bid to be the first trans model of colour for Victoria’s Secret has gone viral

She added: “As a person, I wear my identity on my sleeve. Coming into this industry as one of two models in wheelchairs signed to a major modeling agency (the other being my angel & good friend Jillian Mercado) while being Black and transfeminine is both very empowering and sort of terrifying. And like any other model, I have many aspirations.

“Fashion is important to me because it’s the ultimate form of conveying self-expression and toying with gender. The possibility of creating opportunities for disabled and gender-nonconforming people in high fashion is what excites me about being in this industry.”

But while acknowledging how excited she was to begin her journey, Philip did share some fears, saying: “‘I know that because of my appearance, my disability, and my identities, I may be boxed into a position where I’m either seen as unique and fascinating, or straight up not what a casting director or designer may be looking for.

“More than anything, I can only pray for success and happiness within my career and the goals I intend to achieve. I don’t want signings like mine to be a trend or a fad. I want careers for Black, disabled, and trans models to be attainable and sustainable.

“‘While I work toward my goals, it’s nice to reflect on the fact that I’m here to celebrate myself, my communities, and my friends who work in this business.

“I’m so very honored to be chasing and achieving my dreams. I hope that one day soon, trans and disabled models will be able to reach the level of success any other talented and hardworking model can. I won’t settle for anything less.”

She ended her essay, saying: “See you on the runway.”

And you can follow Aaron Philip on Instagram here.

Related: Trans model Andreja Pejić cast in Girl With A Dragon Tattoo sequel

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