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4 Reasons the beauty industry needs transgender model Lea T

Lea T is a beautiful woman, who happened to be born a boy. Which makes her the perfect choice for a global beauty campaign in 2014.

A beautiful Brazilian model has been named as the new face of American haircare brand Redken. Doesn’t seem like anything to get excited about — until you realise that 33-year-old Lea Cerezo (known in the biz as Lea T) was born Leandro. This makes her the first transgender model to front a global beauty brand, which is definitely something to get excited about.

Of her role as “the face” of Redken’s January 2015 Chromatics hair colour campaign, Lea T said: “I love working with Redken because they appreciate all kinds of beauty. They believe in the individuality of the person, and I think that’s really important.”

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Photo credit: Redken 5th Ave/Instagram

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Here’s why the beauty industry needs Lea T (and other transgender models).

1. The fashion world is way ahead when it comes to embracing diversity

Transgender models like April Ashley, Caroline “Tula” Cossey, Teri Toye, Connie Fleming, Carmen Carrera and Andreja Peji? have graced the catwalk over the last 50 years and Eurovision winner and drag performer Conchita Wurst modelled in Jean Paul Gaultier‘s haute couture show this year. Lea T herself made her modelling debut in Givenchy’s autumn-winter 2010 campaign and has made numerous appearances in campaigns and editorials, including the cover of LOVE magazine and posing naked for French Vogue. Small steps perhaps but important ones. It’s high time the beauty industry caught up.

2. The transgender community needs to be accepted

Sadly, anti-trans violence is still commonplace. According to a recent survey by the U.S. National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, almost 50 percent of respondents admitted that they had attempted suicide and a staggering 90 percent had faced discrimination at work. Lea T is not only a transgender model, she’s someone who’s willing to speak out in support of the LGBT community in order to change what people consider to be acceptable, beautiful and “normal.”

Elle Fanning plays a transgender teen in her upcoming movie Three Generations

3. Transgender people need role models

Very few trans models are “out,” according to Hari Nef, who modelled for designers including Hood By Air at New York Fashion Week in October. “There are more and more jobs for out trans models, but most [of] them are identity-focused or quite outré. It’s harder for an out trans girl to book a blue chip runway where she gets one look and simply walks out with all the other girls,” Nef told Forbes. The transgender community needs role models like Hari Nef and Lea T to give those who feel ostracised someone to look up to.

4. Her hair

Just look at it. It’s incredible.

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