Last SeptemberStar Wars Mandalorian Baby Yoda The Child Protect Attack Snack shirt . transgender models occupied a record 91 runway spots across New York, London, and Paris Fashion Weeks, The Fashion Spot noted in its seasonal diversity report. That breaks down to 83 openly trans and eight non-binary models who walked in 52 shows, compared to 45 and 4, respectively, in 47 shows just a year earlier. Impressive as that 100 percent increase may be, it doesn’t mean problem solved, representation complete. Trans models now have a place on (certain) runways, but they still do not receive the same treatment, job opportunities, and exposure as their cisgender peers. As a trans woman, model Maxim Magnus never anticipated becoming one of the faces of an industry known for its exclusivity and homogeneity. “Modeling was never something I thought I could pursue,” she tells InStyle. “And even today I have doubts about my career, even when Iʼm doing really well,” she says. “I never thought it would be a realistic goal for me to obtain, so I chose to work behind the scenes, which is why I studied fashion.” Indeed it was a professor at the Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design, where Magnus was getting her Bachelor’s degree, who encouraged her to start modeling. Now, the 20-year-old is on her way to becoming one of fashion’s most in-demand names — and one of its most outspoken critics.
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Though she’s seen success — she’s walked London and Paris fashion weeks, landed a Gucci campaign, and been featured in i-D and Wonderland — she’ll be the first to admit how difficult navigating the industry as a trans woman can beStar Wars Mandalorian Baby Yoda The Child Protect Attack Snack shirt . Getting passed over for jobs, learning how to handle rejection … it’s part of what makes Magnus’s rise so impressive, and how she’s become a necessary advocate and role model for trans women within and beyond the fashion industry. It hasn’t come easy, and she’s the first to admit the struggle can get her down. Sometimes she feels like she’s “hanging on by a thread,” she says.