Even though model Geena Rocero had been working in the fashion business for a decade, no one in the industry, including friends, colleagues and her agent, knew she was transgender until recently.
The Philippines native began her career when she signed to NEXT modeling agency when she was 21 years old and has been working steadily, building up a portfolio of swimsuit and beauty editorials.
On March 31, in honour of International Transgender Day of Visibility, the stunning brunette had her official coming out (she came out to friends and colleagues in 2013) during an inspiring TED Talk, where she received a standing ovation from the crowd.
"The world makes you something that you're not, but you know inside what you are," Rocero said in her talk. "And that question burns in your heart: How will you become that? I may be someone unique in this, but I am not alone. Not alone at all. So when I became a fashion model, I felt that I'd finally achieved the dream that I've always wanted since I was a young child. My outside self finally matched my inner truth, my inner self."
Rocero also announced the launch of Gender Proud, a campaign whose goal is to advance the rights of transgender peoples and help them self-identify with the fewest possible barriers.
According to The Advocate, "only a fraction of the world's countries allow transgender individuals to update their gender markers without first having to undergo forced sterilization or other forms of genital surgery." Gender Proud aims to change that and push for progressive policy change around the world.
Just a few days ago, the model spoke on HuffPost Live about her experience of being detained in an airport because her passport still identified her as male.
Rocero follows the steps of Canadian model Jenna Talackova, who became the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
Watch the video above to see her elegant and inspiring message.
Also on HuffPost