The fashion industry, once dubbed as cutthroat and strict with its standards of beauty, is now trying to move forwardâ . We're now steadily recognizing beauty in all shapes and sizes. It's a move that's long been needed especially since fashion has always been used to express ourselves and showcase our identities.
In honor of this, we're recognizing seven transgender Pinays who are making their marks in the fashion space across the world. Scroll on and remember their names!
LOOK: 7 Transgender Pinay Creatives in Fashion
1. Geena Rocero
A similar story to Angel Evangelista in the hit TV show Pose, Geena started in the “byukon (beauty contest)” scene in the Philippines, a community that is similar to the ballroom scene that started in New York where trans and queer folks were celebrated. It was after Geena moved to the US in 2001 that she made a name for herself by walking the runways of NYFW. All of that success inspired Geena to share her experiences, and so she did through motivational speaking. Her TED talk that she gave back in 2014 about her coming out story easily went viral with over 4 million views and was translated into 32 languages. Since then, Geena has been active in speaking about gender-based issues. In recent years she worked with UN Women and World Economic Forum speaking about the Global Gender Gap Report.
In 2020 Geena again made history as the first Trans Asian Pacific Islander to be announced as Playboy Playmate of the Year and is currently writing a memoir on her colorful experience as a Trans Pinay.
2. Justine Llarena
A model, artist, and fashion designer, Justine paved way for younger queer folks to dream and reach new heights as she was the only Filipina who made it as a finalist on Worldwide Trans Model search in L.A.. If she's not making her modeling dreams come true, you can find her on Tiktok creating dreamy makeup looks, dressing up in cute 'fits, and showing off her talent in fashion illustration.
3. Veejay Floresca
We can all recall her viral video in 2010 reacting to Miss Universe Finals when Venus Raj famously entered the Final 5. Well, from a simple pageant fan, Veejay is finally living out her dream as a beauty queen herself! Veejay competed in this year’s Miss Trans Star International pageant representing the Philippines, finishing Top 16. Right now, she is currently in the U.S. actively expanding her clothing business.
4. Dominique Castelano
Following her big moments in modeling as the face of Maybelline and Heaven by Marc Jacobs, Dominique is currently an artist gearing up for her first solo art exhibit at The Highline Nine in New York City. She also appeared on the TV show Pose which featured the life of the LGBTQIA+ community and the ballroom scene during the '90s.
5. Leyna Bloom
The sultry Leyna sizzled on her Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover in 2021 and continues to amaze us with her new photos for SI in Belize. She was the first transgender woman ever to be on the cover, joining Kelsey Merritt. Other than modeling, Leyna is also an actress and a proud activist who isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in. Part of her list of accolades was being a nominee for GLAAD Media Awards 2022 with her interview for Sports Illustrated done by Tyra Banks. The America's Next Top Model host described Leyna as a “beacon that demands respect for the Trans community.”
Lukresia is a treasure waiting to be discovered. A talented model with an otherworldly taste for fashion, this Cebuana beauty sure knows how to catch attention through their unique and avant-garde designs made of materials sourced from their backyard. Even Mugler and John Paul Gaultier’s interests has been piqued by the trans-Pinay’s designs!
7. Vi Macario
A fresh face and a striking beauty, Vi has immediately been a favorite in the hair modeling scene. Whether she’s a blonde, a bob, or rocking a funky color, she carries it effortlessly. Brands like Tresemme, and Wella, and Denman have recognized her modeling prowess, and she’s a favorite of celebrity hairstylist Lourd Ramos.
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