There are few models working today who are as versatile and as pioneering as Andreja Pejic — formerly Andrej Pejic — who, assigned a male gender at birth, began her career modeling both men's and women's fashion in editorials, ad campaigns and on the runway. (You may remember her breakout moment modeling the wedding dress for the finale of Jean Paul Gaultier's spring 2011 couture show.)
Now, after years of pushing the boundaries of gender roles and publicly speaking out about self-acceptance in matters of sexuality, Pejic has made a very personal announcement of her own: She underwent gender reassignment surgery earlier this year, and took to major media outlets People and "Entertainment Tonight" on Thursday to come out as a transgender woman.
Pejic, whose recent jewelry collaboration with Sam H Snyder benefitted the Ali Forney Center, an organization dedicated to helping homeless LGBTQ youth, has always been an advocate for those struggling with their sexuality. At the age of 22, she finally felt ready to address her own journey in the open. "I was proud of my gender non-conforming career. But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body," she told People. "I have to be true to myself and the career is just going to have to fit around that."
The model explained that she grew up dreaming about what it would be like to be a woman, and is happier than ever post-surgery. "Every day is like a new revelation," she says. "I'm more comfortable than ever. I feel at a 100 percent." Pejic came up in the modeling industry alongside transgender model (and Riccardo Tisci muse) Lea T., and also cites Laverne Cox of "Orange Is the New Black" as a major source of inspiration.
After making the media rounds, Pejic posted the below photo to her Instagram account, with a sweet note to her legions of supportive fans: "As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past."
We've followed Pejic's career and incredibly versatile work here at Fashionista since she broke out onto the scene in 2007, and we can't wait to see what she brings to the industry in her new chapter.