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Gigi Hari
@gigi.hari

Trans model Gigi Hari is disrupting binary notions of beauty


TextFelicia Pennant

We speak to the model and artist about her transition, never conforming to beauty ideals, and looking like a dragon

The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopaedia of creatives and emerging talent from across the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty. From supermodels to digital artists to makeup prodigies transforming themselves in their bedrooms, these are the beauty influencers of tomorrow who embody everything Dazed Beauty is about. Discover them here.

Being in a Matty Bovan film did so much more than just kickstarting London-based artist and model Gigi Hari’s career. “I began modelling at the same time that I began my medical transition as a way to celebrate my form in all the stages between masculinity and femininity and document my progression in a non-medicalised sense,” she says. Being able to create images you don’t see trans models involved in often was a form of therapy for her and since then, she’s walked and appeared in campaigns for Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY and Zandra Rhodes, as well as features for Dazed.

“Unapologetic authenticity, presenting yourself in your truest form whether that involves actual beauty products and make-up, or nothing cosmetic at all,” is how Hari explains what beauty means to her. Her Instagram feed is a testament that – a brilliant stream of flamboyant and ever-changing hair and experimental beauty looks, as well as an honest insight into the realities of being trans. ‘It’s very rare that I have felt beautiful, at least in a traditional sense. However, I have always known that I at least look interesting, which in itself is a special kind of beauty,’ she shares. 

Here, we speak to the model and artist about her transition, never conforming to traditional beauty ideals and looking like a dragon.

Call you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?

Gigi Hari: I’m trans-femme, a model and artist, gentle and fragile but deeply powerful. My own inspiration and self-destruction. I’m currently staying in central London but came from a little twinkle in the back of a child’s consciousness, a little girl from Mars and a boy from Venus who share one body, constructed me in their dreams. I don’t think there is really one place I grew up or if I am really done growing. I’ve developed the most character in homes and hearts of loved ones.

What’s your earliest beauty related memory?

Gigi Hari: Perhaps as a young child asking my friend’s mum to tie a braid string into my bowl cut. The braid was pink, purple and gold – a perfect combination – placed slap bang in the centre of my bangs, and I was wearing my friend’s baby pink fairy wings. Everyone in sight mocked me but it didn’t matter because I felt like the prettiest girl in the room.

 What is it you do and why do you do it?

Gigi Hari: I began modelling at the same time that I began my medical transition as a way to celebrate my form in all the stages between masculinity and femininity and document my progression in a non-medicalised sense. To embrace the beauty of the in-between. It was a therapy for me to create images I didn’t see people like myself involved in so often. Now, it’s continued as something I enjoy and have skills in despite the stressful aspects of the fashion industry. I still feel a drive to push myself further and elevate to a new level. 

How did you get into it? 

Gigi Hari: By chance.  My first job was a film for Matty Bovan, cast via social media, which opened a lot of doors for me. 

“When I first saw G-Dragon, it was like he gave me permission to experiment with beauty outside of a western view of masculinity before I knew my trans-identity. His entire look used to change by the week: hair in every colour and style, more expressive make-up than other K-Pop idols at the time” – Gigi Hari

What have your career highlights been so far? 

Gigi Hari: London Fashion Week AW19 was an insanely busy time with no sleep, lots of caffeine and little recovery time, but I was really proud of myself for booking six on-schedule shows and presentations as a freelance model. Being the face of the Björn Borg x Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY underwear campaign, the first time a trans-feminine person has been the face of a ‘men’s’ underwear campaign from what I know, was kind of crazy. Any time I see myself in print is a highlight because it all used to seem so out of reach.

Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words?

Gigi Hari: Saturated, whimsical, and naive?

How do you assert your identity and experiences through your beauty and hair?

Gigi Hari: Each day my hands create what they want, I quite literally wear my feelings on my hair and face. The most simple, quiet looks are usually the most considered if I feel it’s necessary to distract and conform in that moment. Anything that’s happened can suddenly spark a whole bunch of ideas and help me channel the persona I’m ready to channel that day.

What beauty, skin and hair products are you using the most right now?

Gigi Hari: My close friend, make-up artist Sabu Suzuki, got me obsessed with Cetaphil, now my go-to moisturiser. Dermaplaning every three to four weeks is something essential that I can’t skip out on in regards to skin. Having quick easy rituals you can do to maintain yourself is important, especially if you struggle with depression or anxiety. I currently love Depyxim’s emulsions because you can use them just like paint and they are super waterproof and transfer-proof – the red shades don’t stain! I have also been making a lot of hairpieces and wigs lately, which makes it a lot easier to change up my vibe and feel inspired to try new looks.

What’s your favourite smell and why? 

Gigi Hari: Honestly I’m not much of a fragrance person. Anything light that doesn’t register that it’s been implanted into the area. The smell of someone’s clean bare skin is comforting and prettiest to me.

Who is your beauty icon? Why?

Gigi Hari: G-Dragon. When I first saw him, it was like he gave me permission to experiment with beauty outside of a western view of masculinity before I knew my trans-identity. His entire look used to change by the week: hair in every colour and style, more expressive make-up than other K-Pop idols at the time. His overall peacock vibe – flamboyant and obnoxious but tasteful – (made him) my first major celebrity crush. I’m so excited to see what he has to offer and what’s next for him now that his military service is coming to an end.

What does beauty mean to you? 

Gigi Hari: Unapologetic authenticity, presenting yourself in your truest form whether that involves actual beauty products and make-up, or nothing cosmetic at all. It’s more a way of being than your surface appearance. Being able to appreciate the beauty in things outside of your current universe of understanding.

When do you feel most beautiful? 

Gigi Hari: Honestly it’s very rare that I have felt beautiful, at least in a traditional sense. However, I have always known that I at least look interesting, which in itself is a special kind of beauty, and obviously I have made a career through my appearance partially. I maybe feel most beautiful when I am connecting with people’s hearts and not their eyes.

“I’ve been told I look like a dragon ever since I was young and I’ve always had an obsession with them and dinosaurs. I spent hours of my childhood drawing dragons – different breeds on historical backgrounds” – Gigi Harri

What do you do in your spare time?

Gigi Hari: I tend to spend a lot of time indoors doing illustrations, listening to hours of old K-Pop albums, making new hairpieces and wigs and daydreaming. I’m quite an anxious person and don’t like to spend a lot of time in public without friends around. Every time I do have the courage to go out alone: browsing vintage stores or make-up shopping.

How do you want to change the world? 

Gigi Hari: It seems so cliché to say, but I would love if we could flick a switch to stop judgement being made because of something completely out of someone’s control. Their sex, gender, sexuality or lack thereof, height, hair texture, and skin tone, and the geographical location they were born in, even class. And that people would do more small things to help each other. I know I should do more; we can all do more, even a passing compliment to a stranger. 

It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why? 

Gigi Hari: MULTICHROME SKIN! It’s all I’ve ever wanted – pearlescent pink skin in varying depths and hues. It would be so pretty to watch everybody twinkle in the sunlight. Kirakira daydreams.

It’s 30 years from now. You stumble home at 3am and catch your reflection in the fridge door. What do you look like? 

Gigi Hari: Hopefully I have pearlescent pink skin and a few more inches of hair. I’m still waiting until it grows past all the way down my back so I can experience a Cher hair moment with my natural locks at least once. Otherwise I’m pretty content with my appearance. Trans people are constantly told they need to change themselves in order to ’pass’, to be seen as valuable, desirable or fully who we say we are. I’ve come to appreciate the androgynous features I have and wouldn’t change them to please the gaze of others.

You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?

Gigi Hari: A dragon. I’ve been told I look like them ever since I was young and I’ve always had an obsession with them and dinosaurs. I spent hours of my childhood drawing dragons – different breeds on historical backgrounds. I don’t know where it came from, and they don’t really exist in my artwork so much anymore, but maybe I should bring them back. 

You’ve opted to be cryogenically frozen in hopes of continuing the human race. When you’re awoken it’ll be your responsibility to kick-start the breeding. How will you wear your hair on your first date? 

Gigi Hari: Whoever is paying for me to be cryogenically frozen is going to be wasting a lot of cash since I’m sterile, but I’d be happy to date some cuties anyway. I think hair will have to be in my classic twin anti-gravity bubble braids, maybe with a choppy bang. It’s my perfect go-to for when I don’t want to overthink it but I want to stay cute and fun, or grab people’s attention. Perfect characteristics you need to snag a second date, right? 

What is the future of beauty? 

Gigi HariExperimental, non-binary, and more forgiving. Less uniform and increasingly inclusive. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

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