Indya Moore has cemented the major moment they are having right now as the June cover of Elle magazine. Having appeared as the face of Louis Vuitton, as well as Calvin Klein, the Pose star is now the first trans person to appear on the cover of the American version of Elle.
“Thank you for having me as your first experience covering a trans person,” Moore wrote to Elle in a tweet. “I know I will not be the last. So excited to see Elle leverage their platform to help other talent of trans [experience] find visibility, and the safe space to be acknowledged and vulnerable in this powerful way.”
Trans women like Valentina Sampaio and Lea T have all covered international versions of the publication in the past
In the accompanying feature, writer Jada Yuan explains that Indya is nonbinary and utilizes they/them pronouns. They allow the usage of “she,” most for the comfort of others who assume their pronouns due to how society discusses trans identities. But in the accompanying feature, Moore goes on to reveal a lot more about becoming the person they are today.
The story of many trans or queer people of color can be tragic tales that involve violence, poverty and sometimes exploitation. Moore’s tale includes it all. In the feature they detail how signs of femininity as a child prompted discipline from their Jehovah’s Witness, Latinx parents as they had been assigned male at birth. That discipline became so bad that Moore was relocated to the foster system.
“A lot of times, when parents over-discipline their children, especially when they’re queer, their intention isn’t to hurt them,” Moore said. “They think they’re saving their children from harm. But they don’t realize that they’re causing harm, that they’re doing to their kids exactly what they’re afraid of the world doing to them.”
Entering the foster system sent Moore in and out of group homes as well as foster homes. They also began attending the Bronx Community Pride Center where they met Dominique Jackson, a co-star on Pose and the first trans woman Moore had ever seen. After later being placed in a foster home with a guardian who was a trans woman, Moore started a regimen of hormones which they say improved their mood and relationship with their body. But when that guardian decided to stop supplying the hormones, Moore went elsewhere, finding themselves in a sex trafficking ring at 16.
“They told me I needed to do it continuously so that I could afford hormones,” she said. “I didn’t understand what sex trafficking was at the time. The language I knew was that they were, basically, my pimps. I was just a kid.” The experience subjected her to not only rape but other types of physical violence.
But as we know, it wasn’t the end of Moore’s story. They used social platforms like Instagram to share photos of themself and joined the House of Xtravaganza in the early 2000s. Those experiences got her cast in the independent film Saturday Church which led to her casting in Pose in addition to signing to the modeling agency IMG. And now, the multi hyphenate is experiencing a different style of living all together.