Celebrating the beautiful self: Twin meets 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus

23.12.2017 | Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

In many ways 2017 has played out like the opening of Love Actually, in that, while unprecedented levels of political and horrors at home and abroad (Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States being just one of them) it was also a year which saw the widening of society to accept, and champion the many diverse individuals that make up society. It was a year of hope, love and a refreshed sense of community, as well as destruction and devastation. This cultural revolution was seismic and long overdue; the fact that it happened, though, at least ensures that while the struggles to ensure fair and diverse representation, pay, the future looks just a little bit brighter – even if Trump is still in power.

One of the many exciting new voices to have emerged this year is the 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus. Her journey began at 14, when she started transitioning, and five years later she has already partnered with Gurls Talk to speak on their panel in Berlin and has featured in campaigns for the likes of My Theresa x Valentino and MAC Cosmetics, as well as opening the first show at fashion week this year.

As such, Maxim has become a leading voice in the LGBT community, inspiring others with her personal story as well as her activism through her Instagram page. Twin caught up with Maxim to talk about her journey so far, the role fashion can play in activism and what’s in store for 2018.

What were your experiences of growing up as a trans woman? 

Growing up I was always a very happy child, even though I knew something about me was ‘different’; I never made anything of it. When I was 13/14, I realised I was in the wrong body and something had to change. Finding out you’re stuck in the wrong body is awful, but it’s even worst when you realise it in the period where everyone around you is starting to develop and starting to do things you can’t do, like having sleepovers, or talking about boys, etc. All very superficial things, but very important things to a person of that age. I had been bullied before coming out as trans, so when coming out, I was always really defensive when talking to people about it. I think growing up trans made me grow up a lot quicker than the people around me, because I had to deal with issues teenagers shouldn’t ‘normally’ have to deal with. I constantly had to think about how I was presenting myself, doctor’s appointments, depression. Even though I had a lot of friends growing up, I experienced loneliness a lot.

2017 Jul - Maxim Magnus Trans Is Not a Trend

Were you instinctively drawn to fashion as an industry, and how did you get into modelling? 

I have always gravitated towards the fashion industry, probably since the moment I could talk. From a young age I would look at all of the fashion magazines or go through my mom’s closet and I would get so excited to get dressed every morning. When I was a teenager, I used fashion to show people my true identity and gender. I was always really fascinated by models, but never thought I would be able to be one. It was one of my teachers at Conde Nast who approached me and told me to start modelling.

How do you see fashion and activism aligning? 

When you look at the history of fashion, it is very clear that fashion and politics are close. What happens in the world affects the fashions of a certain period. Right now, human rights are more talked about than ever before and the fashion industry is supposedly full of the most open and creative minds, therefore it would only make sense that these individuals are the ones speaking up. The industry is also highly influential, and it has an enormous platform to reach people, to me, it only makes sense to use that platform for the greater good, as well as to show the beautiful creations made by these artists.

Who are your favourite image makers?

My taste in photographers really varies. I love the old-school classics from Helmut Newton, but then I also love the amazing fantasy world of Tim walker, and the raw over-exposed mind of Juergen Teller. I am absolutely obsessed with photography, I could talk about my favourite photographers for ages.

2017 June - Maxim Magnus - Lucas Suchorab 3

What changes have you observed over the last 5 years both within the transgender community and society as a whole, and what are you most proud of?

In the last 5 years, the community has gotten so much exposure. When I started transitioning around that time, there was not as much information about the community as there is now. I think rights-wise a lot has changed as well and I’m super happy that parts of the world are finally embracing the community, even though there is still a lot of work to do. I’m super proud of all the individuals who have powered through and become their beautiful selfs, because it is hard; even in today’s society.

You recently worked with Gurls Talk – what was that like, and how did you find the reception amongst that community?

Working with Adwoa and her team was one of the best experiences, and probably my highlight for 2017. They welcomed me with such kindness and they were so open-minded, it was amazing to work with a group of people who have the same mindset as me. Dr. Lauren and Alexa, who were also part of the panel are also two amazing people and I loved working with both of them. After the talk, some girls came up to me and they were crying, that really touched me – I never want people to cry when they listen to my story but it’s nice to know that a) people can relate to my story and b) that what I’m doing is actually helping some people.

2017 June - Maxim - Luc Coiffait 4

What are your views on how the industry moves the conversation forward and enacts positive change over the next 5 years?

I think the industry has to want to change, and they shouldn’t do it just because people are telling them to or because it will bring them good press coverage. Just the same way that I don’t want to be hired as a model solely because I am trans. I think the industry owes it to the world to use its platform to talk about these issues, and to embrace every type of human being – this doesn’t just go for the trans community. I can only hope that the industry will move towards a more diverse range of humans, as fashion should be inclusive.

What’s in store for 2018?

I have a lot planned for the new year. Firstly I hope to graduate from university. After that, I hope to be able to fully focus on modelling and activism. Right now, I use my Instagram platform to get my message out there, but I would like to do a lot more in I can only hope that the industry will embrace me, but so far I have gotten so many amazing opportunities which I am so grateful for.

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Person of the year: Rose McGowan and the silence breakers of 2017

10.12.2017 | Culture | BY:

Rose McGowan was awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award 2017, an acknowledgement of the incredibly brave and powerful work that she, and the many other women who spoke up against sexual abuse in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, have enacted this year.

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 20.43.33

“I’m not saying things that are earth-shattering. I’m just the only one saying them” McGowan commented in an interview with The Fall earlier this year – speaking then she couldn’t possibly have known the cultural shifts and change that her actions have since engendered. Because of women like McGowan, and those who followed from her lead, 2018 looks set to welcome a new era for gender equality where previously engrained cultures amongst elites from all industries have been broken, we hope, for good.

Images and quotes courtesy of The Fall magazine, which is out now. 

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