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Monday, September 9, 2013

38

Interview with a High-Fashion Model Who Is Also Transgender

Arisce Wanzer lives in New York and is signed to the BMG Agency. Right now Fashion Week is putting her to work. 

Let's start from the beginning. Tell me about your childhood? 

I'm from Northern Virginia, which is a wonderful place to grow up. My family was very supportive, and everything was really normal. I had a brother, and he played with his G.I. Joes, and I played with my Barbies, and I had two sisters too, and we were just all different and it was fine.

Any struggle that I had growing up was always internal rather than external. Once I got to school, I didn’t know why certain qualities about me were suddenly different—I always had friends, and people always thought I was funny, but everyone would always call out my differences.

Differences that weren’t interpellated at home.

Yeah. I think people are just really used to black-and-white, cut-and-paste. But, you know, we’re all different. Someone’s going to be an accountant if they’re good at math, and the thing that I’ve always been best at is being a girl.

Did you identify as a girl starting as a really young kid?

Well, I didn’t have any real examples, so not really. I saw Shanaynay on Martin, and RuPaul, and I recognized something there—like, “Okay, so that’s a thing”—but I didn’t identify with them, because what they do is fabulous, but it's like clowning, almost.

I just thought I was really feminine and super gay.

How old were you when you started to think you were gay?

Really young. 4 or 5. As soon as I found out what gay was. For a while, it was totally neutral. I’d talk to my girlfriends in the neighborhood about how we thought Tyler or whoever was cute, and it wasn’t till we got older that people started to really make these divisions, and it sucked.

Did your sense of who you were attracted to shift over time?

No, I’ve always been boy crazy! I just love boys. I think they’re so cute, and also so awful, they’re just the worst for you. The nice guy is so hard to find and he’s usually married. But I’ll always love boys, all of them. I date everyone under the sun. If you’re a boy and you’re cute and you’re nice to me, I’ll totally give you the time of day. I go on three or four dates a week. I write a dating column!

It's cool to hear that you’re enthusiastic about dating—that’s sort of rare to hear in general.

Yeah, dating is awesome! I mean, that’s one of the biggest things I want to be about—that transgender people have lives like anyone else. I had such a good support system growing up, I went to college, I’ve never gotten into trouble, and my dating life is totally normal. People are always like, “Oh, you’re going to be a hooker because you’re a tranny.” I’m like, “Ahh, I don’t want to be a hooker!”

Did you come out as gay when you were growing up?

I came out as gay when I was 17, and I moved to Miami, which was an interesting thing to do. I was this super queeny gay guy who had long hair and wore lots of mascara, and I was going to gay clubs and just no dating life materialized for me. These guys were just like, “Listen, I date queens, but you’re actually a girl.”

I said “No way!” But then I started hanging out with other trans girls, and they were like, “Are you going to go through the rest?”

I was like, “The rest of what?”

They were like, “You’re trans. You just don’t know it yet.”

So I decided to do some reading. I checked a bunch of books out of the library. I immediately identified with some things, but I wondered about others. Like, I didn’t feel like I was trapped in the wrong body.

Never?

Yeah, not at all. I have the body I want, like, very consciously—I’m very careful to maintain it, especially now, because of what I do for a living. I go to the gym a lot, and don’t do any weight lifting because I don’t need any help getting a man body, hello!

What about hormones?

I don’t take any hormones. I don’t like anything that alters your body chemistry other than alcohol. Hormones really change everything, I’ve seen so many of my friends, and their mood swings—it’s playing with fire.

Which isn’t to say I’m opposed to them! If you want hormones, awesome. Live and let live. You go smoke crack on the corner if you want. I’ll be over here watching Sex and the City on my couch with a bowl of oatmeal.

What was the turning point for you to define yourself as trans?

I went to a therapist. I had already come out as gay once—I didn’t want to come out as the wrong thing again! As soon as she met me and asked me a few questions, she was like, “Okay, I’m going to go ahead and pre-diagnose you as trans, but let’s get these questions answered.” I went to her every week for about three months, and then I was like, “Yep. I’m definitely transgender. Thanks so much for your time.”

I called my mom. She was like, “What’s transgender?” and so I explained. She said, “That sounds about right.” She asked me if I was happy and healthy and if I was going to finish school. I said yes. She was like, “Okay, that’s all that matters.”

That’s great. When and how did you start modeling?

I actually started as a boy. The first trip I took to New York to visit the big agencies, I got a lot of nos, but not firm nos. Like “You’re not right for us right now.” So I knew I had a shot, and back in Miami, it was easy for me to get work, because I was in fashion school and people just always needed models. I did a lot of work for free, which is fine. If you love it, you’ll do it for free.

How did you present as a model back then?

I couldn’t possibly come off as masculine on camera, so I just tried to be very androgynous. Even now I like a sort of androgynous, mixed look—I’ll wear a boy’s T-shirt with short-shorts and pumps. I promised myself early on that I would never extend certain social hang-ups to the way I dressed. I never want to be that tranny that’s afraid to be seen out of a dress.

You don’t shy away from the word tranny. Do you feel like it’s fine for other people to use it when they talk about you?

Oh, words are just words. I’ve been bashed on websites for using the word. I understand. But I think no one can use a word against you if you’re already using it in your own way. Someone yells at me, like, “You’re a hot tranny mess,” and I’m like, “Yep!”

There’s a lot of appearance-based stuff in the queer community that I don't like. For example, people will be very quick to bash a sloppy tranny on the street, a guy in a wig who looks like he came out late in life. Or you'll be out and someone will be like, “Will you just look at that queen in the baby tee, high on molly and blowing bubbles in the club.” I’m like, LET THE BITCH BE HIGH! We can’t only support people that have a well-executed look. I mean, I’m a model and I don’t execute my look well all the time. Everyone’s gonna have a laundry day. We’re all just the pot calling the kettle black. Everyone is hated by someone.

Preach. So, what made you transition sort of officially into modeling as a girl?

Things really took off when I got my boobs.

Did you always want boobs?

Oh, I have always wanted boobs. One of my biggest role models is Victoria Beckham. She’s just a G. Out there, doing it all. She’s stunning. I modeled my boobs after her. My doctor was like, “It’s not gonna look natural,” and I said, “I don’t care!”

Yeah, I mean—her boobs don’t look natural, and they look great. What’s your cup size?

I’m a 32 A/B. I didn’t want big boobs, I didn’t want guys to see me and be like, tig ol' bitties. I didn’t want to get new clothes either—that would have been expensive!

How long ago did you get them?

Four years ago, almost exactly. Their birthday is August 24th.

How’d you decide to get them?

I was in my shower, listening to a Lily Allen song, “The Fear,” and I had an epiphany.

I should say—it’s not like I’d been unhappy, but I knew that modeling projects would open up to me if I had boobs, and I felt like I was just really close to looking like the person I felt like. This was the one part of me that I did feel nervous about, dating guys and always being like, “Ugh, I feel like a fucking boy.” I was tall, skinny, lanky. I was just feeling raggedy, like I lacked finesse.

Then that song came on, those lyrics like “What are you waiting for,” and I got out of the shower mid-shampoo, Googled “plastic surgery doctors for transgender people Miami,” and made my appointment for the next day. Then I got back in the shower and finished washing my hair. And two weeks later I had boobs.

What was it like to have them so quickly?

I woke up and it was as if they’d always been there.

Cool. So I’m sure you face a decent amount of resistance in the fashion industry, but I wonder what that feels like specifically, and what you attribute it to.

I think in general the fashion industry is just fickle. They just don’t give a fuck. If it’s not trendy right now, it’s dead to them. And so often, they’re like, “We already have a tranny. We already have a black girl.”

You feel like there’s a lot of tokenism.

Yeah. They’re like, “It’s going to be hard to force another one of you in there.” But that just tells me they’re lazy and I don’t want to work with them. If they don’t see my potential, then that’s just sad. I mean, you have to be a good model if you get here and you weren’t even born regular!

Who were your favorite models growing up?

Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, all the supers. They were such vixens! They made getting paid to be beautiful seem like such a great idea. Except of course that’s not what the job is, really—modeling is a lot of work.

What do people not know about model life?

It’s really repetitive. You’re constantly on the move, you’re getting measured over and over, people are just sort of mindlessly asking you to take off your top and tell them your inseam even though your measurements are right there on the card. Just, yeah, lots of measuring.

How hard do you have to work to make sure your body doesn’t change from those measurements?

HARD. Today I had pine nuts, a handful of raisins, and a bowl of mixed fruit, and that’s just… what I’m going to eat today, because I have to be naked tomorrow in front of 100 people. On a diet like this it can take all of your energy just not to be a bitch! Sometimes I’m like, “I wish I was good at something else besides modeling so I could just EAT.”

Is that sort of heavily restricted eating what you find that most models do?

Oh yeah. If anyone says otherwise, they’re either lying or they’re 15 years old. Me, I’m 26 and I have to watch that shit. I also save some calories for going out, just for casual drinks at the bar. I’m much more a bar girl than a club girl. In the club I can’t even hear myself and people are just like “I HAVE A ROLLS ROYCE” and I’m like, “Don’t you even want to ask my name?”

Anyway, it’s a lot of work. No cheese ever. It’s okay for now—my body is my rent. One day I’ll be able to eat cheese. If I last in this industry I plan to pull a Tyra and just look however I want.

How much is your transgender identity part of your model identity?

I definitely see myself as a female model—I think I take great pictures as a real, just, woman. At the same time I’m so open about being transgender, I’ll tell a stranger on the street. And I get typecast a lot. They’ll suggest me for club-kid things, crazy rave shoots. I’m like, “I grew up in northern Virginia listening to Dave Matthews, and I watch Sleeping Beauty on Saturday mornings, and I’ve never been to a fucking rave.”

I mean, I’ll do it. But it sort of jades me. The same group of us ends up at these castings over and over. We aren’t the girls who get Chanel and Christian Dior. And when it’s all transgender girls, we’re not even in the same visual paradigm. Some are short, some have blue eyes, some are curvy. I know I’m getting taken seriously as a model when I’m in a line of girls that just look like me: mixed-looking, short hair, skinny. THAT’s a competition.

What in your portfolio are you the most proud of?

I did an Opening Ceremony commercial, a campaign for Selima Optique—I just did a spread in Purple Magazine with Andrej Pejic, shot by Mario Sorrenti and Mel Ottenberg. Andrej and I often end up at the same castings. The tranny elite! I also shot with Patrick Demarchelier a long time ago, and I did a thing for Candy Magazine that I was really proud of. I also did a commercial for Chrysalis Lingerie, which is specifically for transgender people and women who’ve gotten surgery for cancer. They’ve got pockets in the bras—it’s a great training bra for young transgender girls who can’t do hormones or surgery.

Let’s talk about dating. How much ignorance do you encounter in your dating life?

Well, it’s listed on my profile, but in general I do get a lot of backhanded compliments. I get a lot of “I can’t believe you’re trans, it’s too bad, you’re so beautiful.” I’m like, “I’ll take it, but I’m sad that you think this is such a problem.”

Do the guys you date mostly date transgender girls?

There are some tranny-chasers, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but some of them do have these ideas about what we’re going to be like, and of course we’re all so different. These guys want to pigeonhole us to be porn stars, and I am so not that. Like, I talk to my mom on the phone every day. I’m not going to do this freaky thing you saw on the Internet.

How often are you the first trans girl a guy’s dated?

It happens. They’ll ask questions, which is natural, but after a few I politely let them know that I’m not their teacher. I’m like, “Please ask me questions about my dreams and aspirations rather than this sexual part of me that is not relevant at this point in our conversation.” I don’t want to be mean about it, but I’m really not a teacher.

It’s also like, why would you claim you’re into this and not do some reading? Google will teach you anything they need to know. Ignorance is a choice these days. I think a lot of men have a hesitation to own that they might be into transgender women in a real way.

Do you have any tips for non-models on how to look good in front of the camera?

Confidence is key! I cannot stress that enough. Confidence reads on camera and it reads in the room—you can tell when everyone’s beaming, and you are working it because it’s your job. If you’re not comfortable, a shoot just turns into an awkward train wreck, with the photographer just staring at the model and being like, “Can you just give me something here?”

You have to just lift your chin up and be silly and refuse to be afraid or embarrassed. No one’s making you do this; you’re here because you wanted to fight for it. Train yourself in front of the mirror, find out what angles work best for you. Learn to be ugly on purpose! And have fun. It’s supposed to be fun.

What’s the best part of your job?

I like seeing my pictures just like anyone would. But you know what I really love? Seeing girls that I taught to walk. Like, I’m so old, they’ve always got me teaching these bitches to walk during Fashion Week—they’re like, “Can you please take this 15-year-old girl who can’t speak English and teach her how to walk down a runway?” And I’m like, “Fine.” And then I see the girl go out there and do it, and start booking tons of jobs, and I’m so, so happy.

Fashion Week’s got to be a trip, right?

Oh, honey. I carry a flask.

 Arisce Wanzer is on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr


38 Comments / Post A Comment

nina!

I love that she talks to her mother every day.

Also: "Ignorance is a choice these days." This resonated.

chevyvan

@nina! That grabbed me as well. So so true!

vittoriama

Amazing!! Wonderful espectacular work! Thanks!!@v

likethestore

This was so great. I'm all internally fingersnapping and you go girl. Very interesting that she chooses not to take hormones, is that common in the community?

Rhinestone Eater@twitter

@likethestore: Well, the one trans person I know is a 6'3" redneck guy with a full beard. I've never seen him in his feminine persona, but he tells me about his rhumba panties and the beautiful wedding gown he bought in preparation for his wedding to a woman, and her sudden death.

It's a diverse community.

adorable-eggplant

"Everyone’s gonna have a laundry day." Whelp, I know what I'm getting tattooed on my forehead. Seriously.

ETA: But actually, today someone told me they liked my sweater, so yay.

j-i-a

@adorable-eggplant i love that part. especially from a model. "we can't only support someone if they have a well-executed look." HYFR

stonefruit

@j-i-a (I had to look up HYFR, now I feel old.)

Arisce Wanzer, you seem smart and thoughtful and I really dug this interview! Also, tig ol' bitties is one of my favorite things to say.

adorable-eggplant

@j-i-a That was my very favorite line, and it's so true and so loving.

nonvolleyball

so great. in all of the quotes, she comes across as such a positive, happy person--I feel like I'm in a better mood now that I've read this. :)

Elleander Morning

@nonvolleyball
Right? I want to be friends with her because she's clearly one of this people that makes life seem so much happier.

Nancy Sin

I laughed out loud at least six times reading this. Arisce, I am now following your everything.

HereKitty

This whole interview is awesome, especially "You go smoke crack on the corner if you want. I’ll be over here watching Sex and the City on my couch with a bowl of oatmeal."

Roxy Throatpunch

This was just delightful. What a great attitude you've got, Arisce.

And this killed me: "In the club I can’t even hear myself and people are just like 'I HAVE A ROLLS ROYCE' and I’m like, 'Don’t you even want to ask my name?'" Because seriously. Ugh, clubs.

adorable-eggplant

@Roxy Throatpunch Is it weird that I was briefly sad that no one has ever tried that line on me? Just like a tiny glimmer of disappointment.

ETA: Someone did once try "Have you ever smoked crack out of a soda can?" But a) I wasn't even in a club b) much less classy.

sintaxis

wow, a whole lotta misogyny and sexist tropes about women (oh, i mean "bitches", sorry) in this one.

j-i-a

@sintaxis just as she uses "tranny" towards herself with a ton of self-love, i think she also uses "bitch" towards women (and would use it towards herself) with a ton of self-love (because she is a woman) and love extended in general - gotta say i'd 1000% rather arisce (or anyone with her attitude) say "bitch, ya look good" to me than hear another person call me by my name, or by "miss," or a "lady," with any bit of negativity in their lil heart

Urwelt

@sintaxis Besides the word bitch, what sexist and misogynist tropes are you seeing? Seems to me she doesn't spend much time talking about women as a group at all.

(Or did you just post that to fill some sort of transphobic radfem quota?)

stonefruit

@Urwelt sheesh, thank you.

titmouser

@Urwelt Wow, such a great culture of supporting your sisters in their feminist analyses exists on The Hairpin! What a fucking joke.

adorable-eggplant

@titmouser How does that rise to the level of analysis? Urwelt called out (aggressively, yes) the lack of supporting evidence for the claim that there is misogyny in this piece. J-i-a pointed out (correctly, imho) that the presence of the b-word is not in itself proof of misogyny [as a parallel example, I have an older friend who is gay who will not use the word 'queer' to refer to himself or others, because for him personally it will only ever be a hateful slur, but other people are comfortable with that word and even use it in progressive contexts]. Solidarity for everyone, y'all.

Not that there weren't some things about the piece that made me uncomfortable (handful of raisins! A life without cheese! Why can't high fashion designers present a standard of beauty that's attainable without self-abnegation!?) but Arisce came off as really supportive of her peers and refreshingly non-judgmental. She didn't saying anything that pinged my bells as showing more internalized misogyny than any other woman I've met. AND if she did say something problematic, why not point it out in a direct and non-accusatory way? I.e. You said X, that bothered me because Y." Which would actually count as analysis rather than snarking (and my big take away from this is no snarking just because someone isn't doing/looking the way you think they should). People do feminism differently and I don't have to agree with all of them just because we're sisters.

sintaxis

@Urwelt You're right... no one can ever question if a trans person has said something misogynistic, because 1- impossible and 2- that's not fun, but mostly 3- questioning something a trans person does inherently means you are a transphobic radfem boogeyman. BOO!

sintaxis

@adorable-eggplant
1. There is no "being good at being a girl". Playing with dolls and makeup does not make someone good at being a little girl. It means they hold sex-role stereotypes about what is appropriate behaviour for little girls.
2. Arisce says that she did not feel body dysphoria. She talks about being told that she is trans because of the way she behaves, from lovers, friends, and a therapist. I think those people have likely unduly influenced her to see herself as trans when she did not expressly identify with that when she did her own research.
3. Following that, she admits that she couldn't be seen as a woman in modeling until she got fake breasts. Plastic surgery to attain a misogynistic male-defined view of a "good body" for women is anti-feminist. Feeling that your breasts are a true marker of your femaleness is wrong.
4. Being strong and lifting weights = man body? It is damaging to women and girls to be told by role models that lifting weights is counter productive to having a nice body. It's also blatant sex-role stereotyping.
5. I think we can totally question, as feminists, what transgender models represent when we use them as a culture, to embody the "perfect woman" body. This is a question that has already happened with other trans models, while Arisce can't control that, I think that as feminists it's important to question getting beauty advice from someone who has an unachievable body for 99% of women, even more so than non-trans models do.
6. The over emphasis of "boy craziness" as a way to bond with women/demonstrate womanhood is clearly not feminist. We as feminists should call out the overemphasis of men as central narratives to women's lives.
7. The clearly misguided belief that men actually care about women's hopes and aspirations when they date us. I don't know a single woman who hasn't had men say gross porny shit to her- this should be where she empathizes with the misogyny that women face from men, not where she believes that men are only asking her gross porny things because she is trans. We all feel this misogyny, let's recognize it for what it is.
8. Emphasis on looks as only redeeming quality. Arsice herself says she wishes she were good at something other than being a model so she can eat. If you don't see the fucked up nature of that statement and what it communicates to young women who have been told all their life that their only value is looking pretty, well, I just gotta say, go back to women's studies 101.

titmouser

@sintaxis This is perfect. All spot on and so glaringly obvious, it's a wonder that no one else on this thread has highlighted these points; obviously, this is rhetorical when looking at your former comment!!! I mean, the last few interview questions?! Encouraging women to dedicate MORE time to the mirror as empowerment?!

adorable-eggplant

@sintaxis 1. That conflates two separate comments: she mentions playing with barbies and later says that she was good at being a girl, so it's not clear that one defines the other.

2. Who doesn't have people influence their identity? Why would research make an identity less valid?

3. Modeling as an industry does have some twisted beauty standards. Acknowledging an industry standard and conforming to it (getting paid to do so) isn't misogynist: it's a practical response to the misogyny embedded in her profession and, as Arisce mentions, it's not easy for someone without a lot of class privilege or a nest egg to simply change professions.

4. I found that to be a bit of self-deprecating humor, but I don't think that the implication was that having a muscular body wasn't desirable, in fact, it's implied that a lot of models do train with weights.

5. 99% of women aren't going to look like models anyway you slice it.

6. I have no problem with boy crazy. I was/am boy crazy and it's been a fun ride.

7. "The clearly misguided belief that men actually care about women's hopes and aspirations when they date us." Is that a typo? Why would anyone date someone who doesn't care about their hopes and aspirations? Those gross porny questions she gets are unique. Or at least they aren't the same as questions that I've gotten: I would be a dollar.

8. Again, I think this is something wrapped up in performing the expectations of the profession itself and her own experience. She hasn't found something else she's good at that someone is willing to pay her for yet: that's not a crime.

Women's Studies sounds like a circle of hell if it's all about doing it wrong.

titmouser

@adorable-eggplant Welp, clearly het, and confused by postmodern emphasis on I-me-individual "empowerful" LibFem versus feminist community. It's sad to see how many women will use all justifications they can to disbelieve that men are generally pretty awful to women. I guess I should expect HP to devolve into another Jezebel with articles on how to empower yourself through blowjobs and stripperobics. Barf.

adorable-eggplant

@sintaxis Whoa, dear, that went off the rails. I have a warm, fuzzy community, and I'm glad you aren't a part of it (except that we briefly inhabit the same internet space, but that cannot be helped).

Urwelt

@sintaxis

1. There is no "being good at being a girl". Playing with dolls and makeup does not make someone good at being a little girl. It means they hold sex-role stereotypes about what is appropriate behaviour for little girls.

Do you mean girls can only enjoy dolls and make up because they hold sex-role stereotypes, or do you mean that only people who hold sex-role stereotypes think that dolls and makeup are necessary to be "good at" being a girl? I'll be charitable and assume the latter. Perhaps you could also be charitable and interpret what she said as "performing femininity felt easy and natural".

2. Arisce says that she did not feel body dysphoria. She talks about being told that she is trans because of the way she behaves, from lovers, friends, and a therapist. I think those people have likely unduly influenced her to see herself as trans when she did not expressly identify with that when she did her own research.

Man, if only she had someone in her life more qualified to tell her what her gender identity should be. Someone more feminist. Someone more educated. Someone better. Someone more like you. I mean sure, she has her "lived experience" (overrated), but you read an edited interview with her that one time, so you probably do know best.

3. Following that, she admits that she couldn't be seen as a woman in modeling until she got fake breasts. Plastic surgery to attain a misogynistic male-defined view of a "good body" for women is anti-feminist. Feeling that your breasts are a true marker of your femaleness is wrong.

Dang, now she's personally responsible responsible for how the world decides which bodies are female too? What a heavy burden. Good thing she's got courageous advisors like you, willing to make proclamations on which feelings about one's own femaleness are WRONG.

4. Being strong and lifting weights = man body? It is damaging to women and girls to be told by role models that lifting weights is counter productive to having a nice body. It's also blatant sex-role stereotyping.

Sure, she could have worded that more delicately. But I get the impression that you think her proper role as a role model would be to pretend that she could still get work even if she were perceived as more masculine. Fight the good fight, even if it means you can't pay your bills!

5. I think we can totally question, as feminists, what transgender models represent when we use them as a culture, to embody the "perfect woman" body. This is a question that has already happened with other trans models, while Arisce can't control that, I think that as feminists it's important to question getting beauty advice from someone who has an unachievable body for 99% of women, even more so than non-trans models do.

I absolutely agree with this, and I wish Jia had asked Arisce her thoughts about it. That said, I also think it's perfectly fine to ask her advice on modeling for the camera, which (as her answer demonstrates) is a skill separate from having a certain body type.

6. The over emphasis of "boy craziness" as a way to bond with women/demonstrate womanhood is clearly not feminist. We as feminists should call out the overemphasis of men as central narratives to women's lives.

Sure.

7. The clearly misguided belief that men actually care about women's hopes and aspirations when they date us. I don't know a single woman who hasn't had men say gross porny shit to her- this should be where she empathizes with the misogyny that women face from men, not where she believes that men are only asking her gross porny things because she is trans. We all feel this misogyny, let's recognize it for what it is.

Yeah? You go on a lot of dates with men? Or do you just think you're probably better qualified to know what goes on in heterosexual relationships than those other women because you're The Best Feminist? Tell you what, I've gone on dates with lots of men, and the stuff she's talking about does not resonate with my (cisgender) experience at all. Is there misogyny? Yes. Does it take that form? No. Because what she's dealing with is specific to her being a trans woman. Talking about her personal experiences with transphobia does not erase the existence of misogyny. There is enough oppression to go around.

8. Emphasis on looks as only redeeming quality. Arsice herself says she wishes she were good at something other than being a model so she can eat. If you don't see the fucked up nature of that statement and what it communicates to young women who have been told all their life that their only value is looking pretty, well, I just gotta say, go back to women's studies 101.

Wait, I thought she wasn't even really a trans woman? Whatever. Sure, this is an issue. But is it an issue of her own sexism? No.

carolita

I hope she has a lot of success, or at least enough to be able to eat cheese soon! :)
I didn't meet a lot of people in the business (back when I was the token 'ethnic' or 'ugly' model, myself -- yes I got told "we already have one 'special' model, I can confirm, she's right!) with her intelligence who lasted that long. It's a hard place for a thinking woman, so I wish her well and prosperity quickly!

iceberg

I really enjoyed this. I think she uses a few words that other people may be upset by, but in this context it didn't feel unnatural or offensive. She's a woman, she gets to say "bitch", and she's a trans* lady, so she gets to say that other word too (which I personally don't think is offensive but I'm an Aussie, we shorten everything and it doesn't denote disrespect).

I was actually more upset by her having to starve herself to achieve modeling success, but one of the things I really appreciate about Jia's interviews is the total lack of judgement, and I think it is something that lets the subject open up more than a question that had a motive behind it.

LilRedCorvette

"Or you'll be out and someone will be like, 'Will you just look at that queen in the baby tee, high on molly and blowing bubbles in the club.' I’m like, LET THE BITCH BE HIGH!"

Amen.

empathicalist

I'd love to see regular contributions by Arisce, if she ever had the time!

Alli525

@empathicalist YES. YES FOREVER.

commanderbanana

This was such a great interview! She is delightful, I wish we could go day drinking together.

Asad Yousuf@facebook

American college football coach Bear Bryant could be seen on national television wearing his trademark plaid and hounds-tooth fedoras. He also appeared on the cover of Time magazine wearing a fedora under the banner Fedora hat

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