I had given up a long time ago. I had thought that my chances were gone. I was never going to fulfil my LIFE dream of becoming a model. I had already started to look for agencies when I was 16 years old and started to transition to a girl. I got a 'no' from all of the agencies in Sweden back in the day, but I didn’t give up. If you can’t go to the mountain, make the mountain come to you.
Shortly after my gender reassignment surgery, I moved to Spain at the age of 20 since I knew that my look would fit the Spanish market more. When I was on the airplane, I sat next to an American woman that said that I should work as a model. I never told her about my model aspirations, and I knew my time was ticking since I wasn’t 17 anymore.
It took just one month before I got scouted by three agencies on the street! You can imagine my joy! One of them was a serious one! We made a portfolio with them and started going to casting. No big fashion jobs booked, only commercial jobs. I wanted couture! Long story short, I met a friend that said she had connections with a big agency in London. I then moved to London and they all said 'no' to me. On top of that, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me for being transgender. I was destroyed. I went back home to Mama in Sweden to mend my heart. My world had fallen to pieces. I was broke and knew I was never gonna get a chance again since I was too old for the fashion industry (in my early twenties). Its so unfair! If I wasn’t transgender and waiting for my surgery, I could have started earlier, I thought…
The fashion industry is changing. We see plus size models popping up everywhere now. Transgenders and other people of all sizes and colours too. Then one day it happened. Ten years later, an agent contacted me and I´m now signed to a leading modeling agency in Sweden. I have cried many times during these months of happiness. I´m 34 years old and I have gotten an opportunity again. I don’t know how I can ever thank you, Arda Sarper, for believing in me. The world needs young people like you that think outside the box. Thank you to my catwalk coach, Cat von Jay, for teaching me how to slay the runway. And to Bobby Oduncu for always believing in me.
Yours truly, Vanessa.