Monday, March 07, 2011

Interview | Andrej Pejic by Jez Smith for Oyster Magazine

Photographed by Jez Smith for a series of intimate photos to accompany an interviewmodel Andrej Pejic (Chadwick) appears in the latest Oyster magazine.

Renee: What was your reaction when first approached to play a role in women’s fashion?
Andrej: It was expected, almost inevitable. I remember the first time. I had just finished with L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, and Geoffrey J. Finch, the designer for Antipodium, asked me if I’d open his show in Sydney. I of course had no qualms, and the experience was unreal.

Renee: Has your success in women’s shows and editorial had an effect on your bookings in menswear?
Andrej: Well, my success in women’s editorial has definitely had a positive impact on my career overall. There are levels of high fashion that male models never really reach; to be in Vogue can only mean good things.

Renee: You have played a key role in bringing about positivity for, and acceptance of, transsexuals. How do you feel about being tasked with being a poster boy for the transgender movement?
Andrej: I’m not really keen on the idea of being a poster boy for anything. I think it makes for a very limited existence. However, bringing awareness to an often isolated, misperceived and mistreated minority is something I’m very happy to do. Other models have spoken out about feeling displaced and isolated as a result of their appearance.

Renee: Is this something you have struggled with?
Andrej: I think you may be referring to Lea T. She has stated this, however it isn’t her appearance that is the isolating factor — she is a beautiful girl — rather it is the backward perception many people have of transgender individuals. This, however, is the fault of our governments and ruling circles, which are not even interested in such issues. Religious stigma and the media also play very negative roles. I personally feel very accepted in the fashion industry, [as well as] by my family and friends; however I’m aware that there are many who disapprove of the way I am, and at times I do find this saddening.

Renee: Your success as part of this movement has seen you travel around the world, working with some of the highest profile talents in the industry. How has your experience affected your perceptions of beauty and sexuality?
Andrej: I admit that working in this industry has changed my perception of beauty. People I once thought were the most beautiful seem less so, and people who would have seemed strange to me before seem the most beautiful. However, all the great human achievements have resulted from intelligence and creativity, not physical appearance, so the amount of importance I place on beauty hasn’t changed. When it comes to sexuality… well, I’ve learned that it’s never straightforward, but at the end of the day it’s a job, not a whole new identity.


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