Transgender model Andreja Pejic has appeared in many magazines — but her latest feature is one for the history books. In the pages of the May 2015 issue of Vogue, featuring cover girl Carey Mulligan, the catwalker granted the fashion bible an intimate look at her life and her place in the fashion world.
Born Andrej Pejic in Bosnia in 1991, right before the war, she and her family fled to a refugee camp in Belgrade and eventually settled in Australia, where Pejic was bullied by her classmates for being different.
“I wanted to stop puberty in its early tracks,” she recalled. “I was worried about my feet being too big, my hands being too big, my jawline being too strong.”
After years of feeling uncomfortable, Pejic finally underwent gender-reassignment surgery (now known as gender-reconfirmation surgery) last year.
“Society doesn’t tell you that you can be trans,” she told the magazine. “I thought about being gay, but it didn’t fit… I thought, well, maybe this is just something you like to imagine sometimes,” Pejic said about being female.
It’s a good thing her true feelings never faltered — three years after being discovered at a McDonald’s in Melbourne at 16, she walked the Paris runways for Jean Paul Gaultier, Jeremy Scott, and Marc Jacobs. She’s also covered a bunch of fashion mags including GQ Australia, Elle Serbia, and i-D.
As if her career wasn’t already on fire, she’s set to represent Make Up For Ever, becoming one of the first transgender models to land a major beauty campaign.
Looking back at her journey, Pejic says she’s happy about the future of transgender women in the industry. “We’re finally figuring out that gender and sexuality are more complicated,” she said. “It’s about showing that this is not just a gimmick.”