Photo via Transcendence Icon
Apple Model Management L.A. made headlines this week after becoming “the world’s first agency to represent all-transgender models,” The Advocate reports. This summer, the Bangkok-based modeling agency will put down roots in Los Angeles to begin exclusively promoting their transgender model division.
“We see trans individuals as beautiful,” says LA agency director Cecilio Asuncion. “Our strong commitment to developing them as successful models is never about quantifying or qualifying their gender. It’s never a question of if they are women or men, it’s about their passion and commitment to being the best possible models they can be.”
Asuncion went on to tell The Advocate that plenty of trans* models over the years have been unable to achieve their true potential, curbed by stigmas the fashion industry held toward the community. Now, he says, is time that changes.
There’s just one thing.
The world’s first transgender-specific modeling agency already exists in none other than Boise, Idaho, and its those exact stigmas that are keeping it out of this week’s discourse on transgender models over on Buzzfeed, Elle, Hollywood Reporter, and beyond.
Transcendence Icon, a small, yet growing firm, has been way ahead of the curve in promoting trans* beauty, fostering the careers of transgender models, commercial actors, dancers, and others since last March.
On Thursday, the agency issued a press release in response to The Advocate, who falsely attributed Apple Agency as the world’s first agency of its kind.
“Recently, other existing modeling agencies, both in the United States and overseas (namely Apple Models, Bangkok, Thailand) have begun to add representation of transgender models to their existing format, and some of those agencies claim to be first out of the gate.”
Apple Model Management’s height requirements for its models, a 5’8” requirement for trans* woman and a 6′ and up requirement for trans* men, are not only unrealistic for trans* individuals, but breed a serious lack of diversity, says Amy Icon, creator and executive director of Transcendence Icon.
On The Advocate’s report, Icon told Passport: “It’s a real disfavor to us, and to our 14-year-old brand ambassador D.W. Wiona. They clearly didn’t check their facts.”
Among the transgender models who wouldn’t make Apple’s cut is D.W. Wiona, a key player in lobbying state legislation to the Senate floor this year that allowed transgender students to use preferred-gender restrooms in public schools. A true beauty in her own right, the young trailblazer stands at 5 feet, 6 inches.
“While the agency doesn’t have an office in New York or Paris or Milan, it was the first of its kind and manages a number of unique and beautiful models with unbelievable potential.”