Meet Aaron Philip: The First Black, Disabled, Trangender Model To Be Signed To Major Agency

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Aaron Philip? New Details On The First Black, Disabled, Trangendered Model To Be Signed To Major Agency

When you look up at billboards displaying the newest in luxury watches, perfumes, or fashion you often know what you're going to get before you even have a chance to process what's actually there. It's usually some ridiculously tall, ridiculously thin, ridiculously young and ridiculously white supermodel. When you're lucky, you see a face of color or a woman with curves, but it's still not the norm. 

Imagine what it's like for people who aren't just different in one way, but in many ways. Imagine looking up at all those models are realizing that you've never ever seen one person whose looks or experience was anything remotely like yours. Aaron Philip felt that way her whole life, and she decided to do something truly amazing about it. Who is Aaron Philip?

1. Meet Aaron

When Aaron Philip was born, she was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. But her diagnosis didn't slow her down, nor did it keep her from her dream of becoming a model, despite the industry's reputation for white-washing and for being ablist. Because she never saw anyone like her in any modeling campagins, the fire inside her to change all that with her own presence only grew. 

Abilist thinking about disabilities would have you believe that a person who is differently abled is also not a sexual person. This is something else Philip wants people to realize just isn't so. At 14-years-old she came out as being gender fluid, and later on she realized that identifying as feminine non-binary was closer to who she really is. Now, she identifies as a non-binary trans girl. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by aaron philip (@aaron___philip) on Jul 2, 2019 at 1:09pm PDT

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2. The Public Eye

Philip' star began to rise when a tweet she shared quickly started going viral in November of 2017. Captioning two stunning photos of the Antigan superstar on the rise, she said: “[H]onestly when i get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it’s OVER for y’all! By y’all i mean the WORLD! it’s real inclusivity/diversity hours folks, get into it!” 

She had no idea just how deeply that post would resonate with the online community. As of right this very second that tweet has been liked over 100,000 times. Without even being signed to a major agency, Philip was already increasing her visibilty and the visibility of other people just like her who also felt like they were not usually seen by the fashion industry. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by aaron philip (@aaron___philip) on Jul 2, 2019 at 6:21am PDT

3. Signing With Elite 

In September of 2018, Philip was able to share some pretty insanely amazing news with all of her followers. “i’m signed to @elitenyc! thank you so much for supporting me thru my journey to make the fashion world more inclusive. this hasn’t been easy, but we did it! i’m so excited & grateful to work hard and share this new chapter of my life with you all," she shared in her Twitter announcement. 

While this was a huge moment for Philip, she wasn't the only one that signing with Elite affected. In fact, it wasn't too long before it became clear that Philip was the first ever black, disabled, trans model to be signed to an agency! She wasn't just a legitimate model now, she would be a face seen by people who before her presence went lifetimes without seeing anyone in campaigns who reflected who they are. I don't know about you, but that gives me goosebumps!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by aaron philip (@aaron___philip) on Jun 27, 2019 at 11:28am PDT

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4. Marc Jacobs 

When the time came in the spring of 2019 for Philip to get ready to attend one of the last big events of her high school experience, the senior prom, she knew that was almost morally obligated to put together a look that was stunning and made a serious statement. Luckily, she had help in the form of designer Marc Jacobs and was photographed wearing a lucious peach gown by designer before she headed out to the dance. 

Philip, who attended the dance with her brother and "favorite person on the planet", Aren, had the night of all nights. Writing about it later on Instagram she said: "truly the most unreal night and process of getting everything together,” Philip wrote on Instagram. “i’m truly over the moon still to say the very least. i had such a special time. forever and always grateful to my heroes at @marcjacobs @themarcjacobs for letting me represent them, and especially on such an important night in my current life.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by aaron philip (@aaron___philip) on Jun 19, 2019 at 2:39pm PDT

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5. Graduation Day 

On June 17th, Philip finally graduated from high school, yay! The major milestone gave her pause, and on Twitter she shared a little bit more about her life and experiences in modeling, letting readers know a little bit more about just how far her journey has truly taken her. "ok hold on…," she wrote. "i really graduated high school and had my first major cover all in one (this) week… i feel like i’ve been in school forever and it’s done now wow lol. i was freelancing and knew absolutely nothing about anything but i would come home from school and spend endless nights pitching emails to modeling agencies about why they should take a chance on diversifying the industry. two years later things are happening that i could have literally never dreamed of," she said, talking about her days as a beginner when she was a mere junior! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by aaron philip (@aaron___philip) on Jun 26, 2019 at 3:24pm PDT

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.