Model Aaron Philip has made history, again! Last September, Philip became the fast black, disabled transgender model to be signed by top modelling agency- Elite Model Management. Nine months later, Philip has achieved another feat that few models, young and experienced, can boast about. She made the cover of Paper Magazine and was interviewed by Naomi Campbell for the magazine.
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Philip names Campbell as her inspiration. “We’re both black women getting a platform and doing lots of work that should be done,” she said in an interview.
Campbell is also a trendsetter in the fashion industry having been the first black model to grace the cover of a magazine.
Discrimination based on gender, race and disability is rife in any industry and the fashion world is no exception. It takes tenacity, vision and thick skin to overcome these challenges. Philip, who was born with cerebral palsy, had to endure discrimination on all three fronts but her confidence has propelled her to the forefront. She has made a name not only for herself but others who wish to excel in their chosen fields but who fear discrimination.
“We’re garnering success and with that comes a lot of criticism and hatred,” Philip said. “So we have to keep our skin on, we have to keep professional. It’s just a matter of stepping your foot down and being brave, but also knowing that we are what we are.”
Philip first gained popularity when she tweeted “Honestly, when I get scouted/discovered by a modelling agency it’s OVER for y’all!”
Her tweet went viral and she got what she had been aiming for, recognition and a chance to work in her dream field, to be a fashion model.
While she doesn’t identify herself as an activist, Philip has become the poster-girl for diversity. “The fashion industry has only known one type of body, and one type of marketable figure for so long,” she says. “Now we’re entering this time where all types of bodies want to be pushed forward and celebrated…[to] be seen as desirable and marketable.”