Androgynous model Andreja Pejic, formerly known as Andrej Pejic, has come out as a transgender woman after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
In an exclusive interview with People magazine, the 22-year-old revealed why she decided to come out.
"I want to share my story with the world because I think I have a social responsibility," Pejic said. "I hope that by being open about this, it becomes less of an issue."
The Australian stunner broke out in the fashion world in 2011, when she caught the eyes of editors as a male model who walked in both the womenswear and menswear shows for designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. (For those who missed it, check out Pejic rocking bridal couture at Gaultier's Spring 2011 Haute Couture show.) She also appeared on the covers of Elle and New York magazines, where she remained coy about her gender preference.
"I always dreamt of being a girl," said the Serbian-born model. "One of my earliest memories is spinning around in my mom's skirt trying to look like a ballerina."
It wasn't until a year and a half ago when the model decided she wanted to do something about it.
"I reevaluated things," she said. "I was proud of my gender nonconforming career. But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body. I have to be true to myself and the career is just going to have to fit around that."
Going forward, Pejic will only be walking in womenswear shows.
Andreja's announcement was met with positive feedback, most notably from "Orange is the New Black" star Laverne Cox, who became the first transgender woman to cover the Time 100 issue.
@andrejapejic congrats on publicly claiming your truth as a trans woman. You're now part of a resilient, beautiful & mighty sisterhood.— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) July 25, 2014
"@andrejapejic congrats on publicly claiming your truth as a trans woman. You're now part of a resilient, beautiful & mighty sisterhood," tweeted Cox.
On Facebook, Pejic added:
"I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the love and support throughout the years. You've all helped me through this journey and I have learned a lot and really come into my own and the response to today’s announcement truly overwhelmed me and reminds me of why I chose to do this publicly.
I think we all evolve as we get older and that's normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn't made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all just a different sex I hope you can all understand that."
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