Being an Androgynous Model
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Gender fluidity is more accepted than ever before. Today, celebrities feel empowered to admit they are non-binary or genderqueer, and we are seeing more acceptance and education amongst the general population too.
The fashion industry is famously selective and restrictive when it comes to its representation. But even they are beginning to diversify. This means androgynous models are finding more opportunities for success.
What is Androgyny?
An androgynous model is someone who is able to present both male and female physical traits. This may mean they look just as good in a suit as they do a dress. Ruby Rose is a great example of an androgynous model; despite being a female model, she often wears clothing and hairstyles that reflect a more masculine look.
The Beginning of Androgynous Fashion
Androgyny has been popular for years. In the 1900s, Chanel designed trousers for women. Until then, trousers had been a traditional item of menswear.
In the 1940s, women were fighting against the patriarchy. The suffragette movement saw many women adopt a more fierce, independent style to reflect their fight to be heard.
In the 60s, homosexuality was decriminalised. People began to feel more comfortable experimenting with gender boundaries. Many style icons broke expectations and wore controversial clothing. Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix were at the forefront of this.
The first tuxedo for women was then designed in 1966 by Yves Saint Laurent. The 70s continued to see a rise in feminism. Grace Jones and Prince became extremely popular.
Today, it’s not uncommon to see celebrities challenging gender norms. Androgynous models are regularly seen on TV and on the runway.
What Does an Androgynous Model Look Like?
Anyone can be an androgynous model if they typically wear clothing that is usually associated with the opposite sex. For example, a man with long hair and painted nails could be described as androgynous. Similarly, a woman with short hair who prefers trousers to skirts can also be deemed androgynous.
There is no scale of reference or rulebook. You do not need to be trans or gay to be androgynous; your sexuality and sexual orientation do not matter. Having naturally masculine or feminine characteristics will make it easier, but fashion and make-up can also be used to make natural features look more manly or feminine.
Famous Androgynous Male Models and Female Models
- Rain Dove
- Ruby Rose
- Elliott Sailors
- Erika Linder
- Alex Crush
- Tamy Glauser
- David Chiang
Getting Into Modelling as an Androgynous model
While we have seen massive amounts of progression within the fashion industry, unfortunately it is still a difficult and competitive industry to get into. Diversity is still not where it should be. Androgyny is still not as mainstream as other genres of modelling.
Androgynous models and trans models are most often seen in high fashion or editorial-style modelling campaigns. Jean Paul Gaultier is well-known for his gender-fluid styles. and for challenging gender expectations.
Getting into modelling is difficult at the best of times, but an androgynous model must also face discrimination and a lack of acceptance in some areas of the industry. You must be confident and have plenty of self-assurance to succeed.
Try to find a modelling agency that works with androgynous models. These agencies will have a list of brands and companies that are known to work with these sorts of models. Remember that you can apply to as many agencies as you like, as many times as you like – don’t self-restrict. You won’t know if you have the look they’re looking for unless you apply!
Follow other androgynous models on social media (specifically Instagram) and try to understand what makes them so popular. Try to get as much experience as you can and build your portfolio.
Remember that to be a model you will face knockbacks and rejection – it’s part of the job, so don’t be disheartened.