Two years ago, Aaron Philip burst onto New York’s modelling scene at the tender age of 16. Now, the model has gone from unknown high school junior to the first black, transgender, physically disabled model to be signed to a major agency.
Joining Elite Model Management in September last year, Philip’s signing sparked a revolutionary shift in the fashion industry – finally a move towards inclusion.
In a new video for Dazed’s Model Moments series, we meet the 18-year-old and Dazed100er to discuss representation, activism, and her hopes for the future of fashion. Touring New York (Philip lives in the Bronx) the model expands on her now-viral tweet about activism in fashion.
“I think when it comes to being a marginalised person in society,” Philip muses, “people have such high expectations and they want people who are marginalised to do the labour of constantly advocating for themselves… (but) I’m not an activist, I’m a model. Why should you have to call yourself an activist to give a fuck?”
And a model she is – firmly asserting her place in the industry, Philip made her runway debut earlier this month (June 14) sashaying down the catwalk at WILLIENORRIS WORKSHOP. With her sights set on Gucci, Prada, and Dior next, Philip tells us her hopes for the future of fashion are “genuine inclusion and diversity”, where people are made to “feel included and respected and valued”.
Now a force of representation, Philip concludes that she’s “happy to be able to be myself in a space where there’s not much of me”.
Watch the full film below, and vote for Aaron Philip on the Dazed100 now.