It’s been a busy five months for Aaron Phillip since she joined Elite Model Management last September.
A mention in Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21”, a photo shoot for ID magazine…Not bad for the seventeen year old who is the first disabled, trans, black model to be snapped up by a leading fashion agency.
Speaking to CNN as, across the water, London Fashion Week was about to close its wardrobe for another season, Philip spoke about her life before the world knew her name.
Philip said: "I freelanced for a year and I was doing jobs by myself and trying to navigate a career on my own (while in my) junior year at high school.
"Sometimes I'd have to coordinate photo shoots myself, (or) with the people around me, and find people to assist me or help on set. It was a lot of back and forth."
"There's been a really, really dramatic difference."
As you can probably tell already Phillip hasn’t allowed her disability – cerebral palsy – to hold her back and she isn’t backward when it comes to voicing her opinion. Need evidence? Check out one her tweets in December which simply read “I’m not an activist. I just give a fuck lol.”
After going through the transitioning process Aaron believes she needs to pave the way for budding models with a disability.
She knows how the fashion industry can be tough when it comes to accommodating disabled people first hand. Phillip was unable to accept an invitation to New York Fashion Week because the event didn’t offer suitable wheelchair access.
"The fashion industry has only known one type of body, and one type of marketable figure for so long. (But) now we're entering this time, and this climate, where all types of bodies want to be pushed forward and celebrated -- not only celebrated, but be seen as desirable and marketable," she said.
“I know it's about business," she added. "But at the same time, there's always a way to make business inclusive and marketable towards anyone, whether you're working in it or you're consuming it.”
The model went on to stress she doesn’t want to be known just for her gender or disability. "Because I happen to be black, trans and disabled, I'm sensationalized to the point where it's just like 'oh, wow, Aaron is such an enigma,' Aaron explained.
"I just want to do me, and do me unafraid. I want to have a good time all the time and continue keeping people on their toes, but most importantly, make myself happy."
Naomi Campbell lists Aaron Philip as one of her biggest influences.
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