Though Teddy Qunlivan has worked with Chanel before, her latest project with the brand is history-making. Having revealed to the world that she was trans in 2017, Quinlivan’s new beauty campaign marks the first time the iconic house has ever worked with an openly trans model.
“I find I don’t cry any more [sic] when things are sad, but isn’t it interesting when we shed tears in moments of triumph,” Quinlivan wrote in an Instagram post announcing the campaign. “This was one of those triumphant cry moments for me.”
The campaign is one of the latest to anchor Quinlivan, a favorite of brands like Louis Vuitton, Redkin, and Coach, as a major player in the industry.
“My whole life has been a fight,” she wrote in the post. “From being bullied at school consistently, kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it, my own father beating me and calling me a [faggot], to receiving industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job. … This was a victory that made all of that shit worth it.”
Before coming out, Quinlivan had walked two shows for Chanel. She’s continued modeling for various brands after opening up about her gender, but “thought [she’d] never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again.”
“But here I am in Chanel Beauty Advertising,” she wrote. “I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled to represent my community.”
Quinlivan joins a long line of trans models who have booked beauty campaigns. Tracey Norman notably booked a Clairol campaign during her prime in the 1970’s. When she was outed in 1980, she lost a majority of her fashion career. Over the last five years, she has made a return as Clairol booked her for another campaign and she has received a handful of magazine covers. Her tale inspired Angel’s storyline on the ballroom drama Pose.
In Norman’s footsteps, Andreja Pejic has modeled for Make Up For All, Lea T fronted Redken, Valentina Sampaio worked with L’Oreal, and Ines Rau was the face (or hair rather) of Balmain Hair. Miss Fame, who identifies as gender fluid, also just released a campaign with Charlotte Tilsbury, alongside Joan Collins. Quinlivan is just the latest of a long line of trans models working, and more importantly succeeding, in fashion and beauty spaces.
“The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you’re worthless,” Quinlivan wrote. “It’s your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting, Because if you give up then you will never experience the tears of triumph.”
Congratulations to Teddy.