This week’s New York Magazine Fall Fashion 2011 issue has a major feature on Andrej Pejic. How do I know that? Because Andrej’s video w/Aussie TV moved to the top spot this afternoon. I then know something’s going on. Voila, New York Magazine.
OK, I read the whole piece, a good overview of Andrej Pejic if you haven’t followed his rise, as we have at Anne of Carversville. What can I tell you that’s new?
Writer Alix Morris digs into the depths of Andrej Pejic’s transsexual identity in a way that hasn’t been done previously. Also interesting is the observation by Morris that Andrej’s physicality actually plays into the fashion industry’s current vision of beauty.
‘I guess professionally I’ve left my gender open to artistic interpretation,’ he says. This past year, he walked in both men’s and women’s shows for Jean Paul Gaultier (who describes Pejic as an “otherworldly beauty”), and was cast as Gaultier’s bride—traditionally a line’s pièce de résistance—in his Spring 2011 couture show. For New York’s Fashion Week in February, he modeled in five shows for men and four for women. Even at men’s shows, Galliano put him in “a skimpy little singlet” and Gaultier dressed him as Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent’s androgynous female muse.
Morris comes down where I reside on Andrej’s physicality. He looks very female and while he may walk the men’s shows, he’s often on the menswear runway dressed as a woman.
Andrej has only the faintest trace of an Adam’s apple. His jawline is delicate and while he shaves his legs, he has no chest or facial hair to speak of.
What he and others like the transsexual runway model Lea T (who was in a recent Riccardo Tisci campaign for Givenchy) are doing is sidestepping the gender issue altogether by not only passing as women but even managing to be a more ideal version of the impossibly hipless and curveless women the fashion industry fetishizes. Designers can use them and feel progressive without having to actually challenge the aesthetic norm.
Note this is the current size 0, not an ounce of fat, Black Swan aesthetic, not the 90s Supermodel aesthetic. This downsizing of an idealized vision of women’s bodies, post 90s Supermodels Crawford, Campbell & Co is a core subject of discussion at Anne of Carversville.
We learn that Andrej calls his transsexual, gender-bending reality ‘the situation’.
‘I don’t feel the need to explain myself,” says Pejic, who has nicknamed his androgyny and its concomitant confusion “the situation,’ as in ‘they didn’t notice the situation’ or ‘the Japanese just loved the whole situation’ or ’ like having a level of mystery to this whole situation.’
‘In this society, if a man is called a woman, that’s the biggest insult he could get.’ He (Andrej) arches his eyebrows skeptically and asks, ‘Is that because women are considered something less?’ Later, he tells me, ‘I know people want me to sort of defend myself, to sit here and be like, ‘I’m a boy, but I wear makeup sometimes.’ But, you know, to me, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity—I identify as what I am. The fact that people are using it for creative or marketing purposes, it’s just kind of like having a skill and using it to earn money.’
Giving a nod to the famous Supermodels, Andrej makes it clear that he doesn’t get out of bed for $50 a day.
‘I don’t get out of bed for less than $50 a day,’ he deadpanned. ‘I want to make that clear to America. This is a new age of androgynous supermodels. We don’t get out of bed for less than $50 a day.’
Andrej is addressing the reality that although he was being shot as a woman, he was being paid men’s rates. Those days over and Andrej is no longer fashion’s best cut-rate deal.
Andrej takes back him comment that he’s have a sex change to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. He isn’t thinking about having a sex change, unlike Lea T who is scheduled for her final surgery to become a woman this month.
People seeking the bottom line on Andrej Pejic’s own sexual preferences won’t get them in this article. He agrees that he attracts men and bi-curious women. ‘You know, I wouldn’t say that I’m really a sexual person, Andrej has volunteered in the past and is repeated in the article. ‘But I do appreciate love, and I would love to experience it someday. I don’t think I have yet.’
After that revelation, Andrej launches into an amusing recollection of pretending to be pregnant in Brazil’s airport.
The True Transformer
Another point of consensus between Alix Morris and myself regarding Andrej is his transformational ability. “He is a chameleon, a genius,” says director Rushka Bergman, former stylist for Michael Jackson. “There is nothing more boo-tee-fool, Andrej, than you!”
If you haven’t been Andrej’s film ‘Dark Narcissus’, enjoy it. I was stunned with Andrej’s range of expression and psychological connection, when I first saw the video. Anne
Andrej Pejic as the Dark Narcissus
More Andrej Pejic
In Paris Fashion Week Hillary Alexander Interview (see video), the always-thinking Andrej Pejic says he would get a sex change operation for Victoria’s Secret. This young wo(man) will go places.