2016 has been a huge year for trans models. Hari Nef graced the cover of Elle’s September issue, dedicated to icons of change. A new Oxygen reality TV show Strut, executive-produced by Whoopi Goldberg, will follow the lives of trans models as they break down barriers and work to make themselves household names.
Now, Tracey “Africa” Norman and Geena Rocero have become the first transgender models to appear on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar India—and on any edition of Harper’s Bazaar.
Art director and executive producer Christopher Sollinger told The Cut that the shoot was inspired by Norman’s own story. Earlier this year, Norman was announced as the face of the hair company Clairol, a position she previously held during her short-lived modeling career in the ’70s and ’80s but which was taken away from her after she was outed by a hairstylist on an Essence magazine photoshoot. Sollinger said:
This entire project stems from wanting to do something with Tracey. The way she had to live in hiding and in fear, being such a beautiful woman with so many talents and gifts, just felt so wrong. She’s someone who should be celebrated. I wanted to create an image that she would be able to look at and feel proud and seen and loved and appreciated.
Filipino model Geena Rocero has been modeling since she was 21, most notably for international swimsuit brands. She’s also known for her TED Talk, “Why I must come out,” in which she speaks profoundly about her journey and why she risked her career to come out as transgender.
Norman and Rocero will be featured along with models Soo Joo Park, Tyra Banks, Hind Sahli, Pyper and Daisy America, Emanuela de Paula, Cora Emmanuel, and Hannelore Knuts in a special-edition issue titled “The Nine Wonders of the World,” focused on the examining the diversity within the modeling industry.