Long before announcing that she is a trans woman, Andreja Pejic received a lot of attention for her gender-bending modeling career. Now she’s back in the spotlight as she documents her transition in the new Kickstarter-funded film, Andrej(a). Through the project she hopes to dispel the myths about transgender people and shine the light on real issues the community faces as a whole.
On Monday, Pejic gave her fans an opportunity to ask her anything when she hosted a Reddit AMA. While she addressed a number of questions about her transition and transgender people (“We are human beings like anyone else, and we strive to have happy and fulfilling lives, like anyone else”), it was questions about David Bowie and what she’s thinking on the runway that showed us the true Pejic.
On working with David Bowie in the music video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)":
"He was EXTREMELY cool. So down to earth. For me, it was a dream come true. When I was younger, in 2000s, there weren't a lot of androgynous icons at the time, so I had to look to the past, to people like David Bowie, and I just thought androgyny was the coolest thing at the time. He's the king of it; it was a dream come true."
On which is easier to model, men’s or women’s clothing:
"Which is easier - well I can only speak for my personal experience, I was always drawn to more feminine things, so I felt a lot more comfortable in women's clothes and enjoyed them more. But there's something really cool about dressing as the opposite gender too. So I've enjoyed both."
The best advice she’s ever received:
"Don't complain, don't explain! Fashion gave me that advice. It's a work strategy. It just means that you kind of have to - when you're a model, you have to work hard and can't complain."
Her favorite childhood memory:
"My favourite childhood memory is the first time I received a Barbie from a neighbor, because I kept begging my mom to buy me a Barbie, I never got one, so my neighbor donated one to me. So that was a nice."
On Tim Gunn’s "conflicted" thoughts about trans models on the runway:
"Well, obviously I've expressed before that i am not thrilled with the comment. I think it comes from a place of misunderstanding."
Her favorite places that she has lived:
"Berlin. Tokyo. And Rio are my top 3 places. Berlin because it's just a cutting-edge place with a very cool scene, and sort of like New York in the 90s, very exciting, lots of energy, lots of young people. And Rio because it's just one of the most beautiful places, you have the forest, beach and city all in one. And Tokyo because it's another world, and I love Japanese people, they are very kind, and it's never boring. Constantly a discovery of interesting toys or gadgets or food."
On how the public perception about transgender is changing:
"I think people are slowly learning about what it really means to be transgendered. I think the more stories that are out there, the more that the struggle we face is given a human face. And I think attitudes are slowly changing, but there's a lot more that can be done."
On what her transition means for her modeling career:
"With my coming out, it means I will no longer be modeling as a male. I will only be modeling as a female. But if the shoot is really creative and amazing, and they want to put me in a suit, I would be open to it if it's tasteful. But I probably won't be doing it on a scale like before."
How she likes to keep fans guessing — even about her own start in fashion:
"Well, the McDonalds story is the true story. But I guess I thought it was funny how all the big female models like Kate and Giselle and Lily all had these interesting stories of how they were discovered and I just thought it was fun to mix it up a bit. And sometimes, there are lots of stories out there about models that aren't true - like Giselle was not discovered in a cornfield, but I remember reading it. So I thought it was fun to play around, I guess."
What she thinks about on the runway:
"When I walk down a catwalk, all I think about is burgers!"