Aaron Philip is Elite Model Management's first black and transgender, and first physically disabled model
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For Aaron Philip, the future of beauty is inclusive, accessible, uplifting and gender non-conforming. After being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler, Aaron and her family moved to the U.S. from the Caribbean Island of Antigua in search of better medical options. Now living in the Bronx, the seventeen-year-old, who identifies as a non-binary trans girl and gender non-conforming femme, has taken up modelling in an effort to provide mainstream representation for both the trans community and people with disabilities.
To date, Aaron’s calls for inclusivity in the fashion industry have gained her over 30,000 Instagram followers, shoutouts from industry big names such as Duckie Thot and Tyra Banks, shoots for a handful of major magazines, campaign work for H&M and ASOS, a NOWNESS takeover and a contract with Elite Model Management – the agency's first black and transgender, and first physically disabled, model. Not bad for a high school kid currently in the process of applying for college.
Aaron uses her social media as a platform to uplift the voices of black trans women and femmes. Among the collection of portraits, artwork, and selfies – all in her personal aesthetic, which she describes as “glossy, sparkly, and goth” – you can find gofundme links raising money for everything from top surgery to DACA renewal fees. Her tireless work to push the parameters of what we find beautiful is not just about improved representation of trans and disabled people who appear in the media, but championing intersectional thinking to improve the lives of trans and disabled people everywhere.
Which fictional character do you most relate to and why?
Utau Hoshina from the anime Shugo Chara because we have the same hair colour and she inspires my fashion sense so much!
What is your favourite look of all time?
My favourite look of all time is Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala in Rei Kawakubo. It was so elegant, complex and fit all the requirements of the theme!
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me, is the purest, most raw, true form of physical self expression there could be.
What three beauty products are in your bag right this second?
2 in 1 lip balm/pink lip tint, glittery lip balm (that I use as eyeshadow or highlighter) and sparkly lip gloss!
When do you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I’m wearing what I want, how I want to wear it.