She’s a rising star in the fashion industry and is using her position to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

e007d42f-dab0-4185-a069-fe8ed24b6042
Teddy Quinlivan has made fashion history by becoming the first openly trans woman to appear in a Chanel campaign.
She demonstrates some of the brand’s beauty products, along with a tutorial for how to get a summer glow.
In an impassioned Instagram post, Quinlivan says: “I find I don’t cry anymore when things are sad, but isn’t it interesting when we shed tears in moments of triumph. This was one of those triumphant cry moments for me. My whole life has been a fight.”
It’s a particularly powerful moment for the 25-year-old because she walked for Chanel before publicly coming out as trans, writing: “When I came out I knew I’d stop working with some brands, I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again. But here I am in Chanel Beauty advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community.”
On social media, people praised Chanel for casting Quinlivan, not as a stunt for Pride Month or a box checking exercise, but as it would any other model. In recognition of this milestone for the trans community in fashion, leading figures like Trace Lysette and Munroe Bergdorf have taken to Instagram to show their support for Quinlivan and the campaign.
On her Instagram Stories, Quinlivan describes how “this is just such an exciting moment” to be a trans woman. She shouts out to other successful trans women like Laverne Cox (the first trans woman to be nominated for an Emmy) and Valentino Sampaio, who was the first to be hired by Victoria’s Secret. Quinlivan adds: “I’m very proud of my community.”
Quinlivan is fast becoming a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community. At the end of New York Fashion Week in September 2017 she published a powerful coming out video in which we hear from both Quinlivan’s mother and the model herself.
Teddy Quinlivan
Quinlivan in her coming out video, called ‘World Meet Teddy’ (YouTube/PA)
Quinlivan describes how “I always knew I was female”, despite being born in a male body. She says: “I went to extraordinary lengths to present as cisgender”, but she wants to stop hiding the fact she is a trans woman.
There are pretty powerful reasons for her wanting to speak out about this – knowing full well how tricky it is for trans models – saying: “I want to help break the stigma” and “I wanted to be the hero that I never had growing up for somebody else”.
Quinlivan’s career is going from strength to strength. Since publicly coming out as transgender, she has walked the runways for big labels like Louis Vuitton and Giambattista Valli, and appeared in campaigns for Moschino and Maison Margiela.
And Quinlivan isn’t just an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. In the past, she’s used Instagram to talk about the need for better diversity in the fashion industry, and how models should come from all backgrounds, countries and wealth brackets. She acknowledged her own privilege and wrote last year on her Instagram Stories: “I’m white, I’m a passable trans woman, my family doesn’t rely on my paycheck to survive. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for the majority of models who have to leave everything behind including their families in pursuit of a better life.”
With this Chanel campaign under her belt and more people taking note of her activism, we can expect big things from Quinlivan in the future.