Feb 28, 2011 12:00AM

Oyster #91: Andrej Pejic

Excerpts from our feature on Melbourne model Andrej Pejic.

Androgyny is a buzzword that has been embraced by the fashion pack for as long as we can remember, but the recent appearance of transgender models on international runways has kicked gender bending into overdrive. In the nineties, supermodels Omahyra Mota and Kristen McMenamy made their mark with their masculine look. A decade later couture sensations Iris Strubegger and Hannelore Knuts stepped into fill their shoes. Compelling and confrontational, the gender dichotomy has never failed to push a few buttons but the archetypal tomboys and biker bitches of the past were nothing like the androgynes of the new era.

Riccardo Tisci, creative director of fashion titan Givenchy, changed all the rules when he chose to feature his transsexual personal assistant, Lea T, as the star of the brand's Fall Winter 2010 campaign. The brooding Brazilian's gothic aristocracy embodied the Givenchy aesthetic, and Tisci single-handedly created a new transgender perception of beauty. Word was out femme males were in.

This reverse role-play of the sexes has now created a niche for effeminate male models. The buzz is palpable, and Melbourne model Andrej Pejic is at the centre of the hysteria

In Oyster #91, Renee Warne asked the epicene beauty how all this twisted transgender attention sits with his own perceptions of sexuality. Here is an excerpt of the interview, along with images including those that were previously unpublished.

Renee: What was your reaction when first approached to play a role in women's fashion?
Andrej: It was expected, almost inevitable. I remember the first time. I had just finished with L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, and Geoffrey J. Finch, the designer for Antipodium, asked me if I'd open his show in Sydney. I of course had no qualms, and the experience was unreal.

Has your success in women's shows and editorial had an effect on your bookings in menswear?
Well, my success in women's editorial has definitely had a positive impact on my career overall. There are levels of high fashion that male models never really reach; to be in Vogue can only mean good things. 

You have played a key role in bringing about positivity for, and acceptance of, transsexuals. How do you feel about being tasked with being a poster boy for the transgender movement?
I'm not really keen on the idea of being a poster boy for anything. I think it makes for a very limited existence. However, bringing awareness to an often isolated, misperceived and mistreated minority is something I'm very happy to do. Other models have spoken out about feeling displaced and isolated as a result of their appearance.

Is this something you have struggled with?
I think you may be referring to Lea T. She has stated this, however it isn't her appearance that is the isolating factor she is a beautiful girl rather it is the backward perception many people have of transgender individuals. This, however, is the fault of our governments and ruling circles, which are not even interested in such issues. Religious stigma and the media also play very negative roles. I personally feel very accepted in the fashion industry, [as well as] by my family and friends; however I'm aware that there are many who disapprove of the way I am, and at times I do find this saddening.

Your success as part of this movement has seen you travel around the world, working with some of the highest profile talents in the industry. How has your experience affected your perceptions of beauty and sexuality?
I admit that working in this industry has changed my perception of beauty. People I once thought were the most beautiful seem less so, and people who would have seemed strange to me before seem the most beautiful. However, all the great human achievements have resulted from intelligence and creativity, not physical appearance, so the amount of importance I place on beauty hasn't changed. When it comes to sexuality... well, I've learned that it's never straightforward, but at the end of the day it's a job, not a whole new identity.

Words by Renee Warne.
Photography: Jez Smith @ Vivien's Creative
Hair: Gavin Anesbury @ RP Represents using ghd
Make-up: Natasha Severino @ The Artist Group using M.A.C Cosmetics
Make-up Assistant: Peter Beard
Fashion: Kelvin Harries @ The Artist Group
Model: Andrej Pejic @ Chadwick

Latest


New Label Violetine's 'V1' Collection

The femme, the pretty and the juicy.


Rachel Rutt x CAMP Fall 2014

Shot by Renee Carey on the outskirts of Sydney.


There Might Be A Romy And Michele Reunion

If Disney stop being jerks about it…


Marina Abramovic Wants To Hire YOU

It helps if you're in NYC and willing to work for free.


Girls In China Are Taking Armpit Hair Selfies On Social Media

Plus enter our competition; win ultimate respect.


Friday Feed: Cybersex Edition

In honour of the best archival video ever.


Gallery: Faces of Splendour

Shot by Isabella Moore at Splendour in the Grass.


Spike Jonze Joins Cast of Girls

Guest starring in the fourth season with Natasha Lyonne, Gillian Javobs and more.


See SUKU's 'Lucidity' Collection

Lucid dreaming err'day.


Watch Odd Future's 'Beyond Scared Straight' Parody

"Why you got so many NECKLESH??"


Your Facebook Photos Aren't That Private

The site's asking all users to download an app for messages too.


Racial Plastic Surgery Is Strange And Real

'I'm not gonna spend my life being a colour.'


Pussy Riot Sue Russia, Win Award For Political Thought

Saying their imprisonment equated to torture.


Imaginary Dating Profile: The Preatures

Getting intimate on a truck with Isabella, Jack, Luke, Gideon & Tom.


Exclusive Video: Chicks Who Love Guns 'Deep End'

We talk to the boys about going bush.


RES Denim x Gadir Rajab

Shot in the Blue Mountains.


OKCupid Is Experimenting On You

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, but playing with hearts.


Karen O Has A New Video 'Rapt'

"Love's a fucking bitch."


Turn Yourself (And Others) Into Emojis

And use other people's #trending pics.


Russia Regains Control Of Lizard Sex Satellite

Ground control to major reptile.


Street Style Polaroids At Splendour 2014

Plus our favourite moments, overheards and artists.


Welcoming Andreja Pejic!

Andreja Pejic reveals she had sexual reassignment surgery earlier this year.


An Alternative To The Fifty Shades Of Grey Trailer

Because it's like 'Secretary' but less good.


Artist Reimagines Terry Richardson As Francis Bacon

Terryworld goes creepy-figurative.


Collection Survey: STRATEAS CARLUCCI

The winners of the Woolmark Prize Australian Regional Finals.


Nike SB Fit To Move Campaign

A new collection feat. our boy Alex Olson!


Mid-Week Music: SBTRKT x Ezra Koenig, Team Spirit, Basement Jaxx, BANKS and HTRK

Everything you should hear/see today, in one place.


Top 5: High School Subculture Documentaries

Riot grrl, rap, 80s punks, skate witches and Japanese parkour.


Beyonce Is Rosie The Riveter

A feminist is a female version of a hustler.


Diverse Emojis Are Here With iDiversicons

United colours of emoticon.