How Trans Model Hari Nef Is Helping Make Fashion History

The 22-year-old trans model Hari Nef only made her runway debut last season, walking the spring 2015 shows for labels like Hood by Air and Adam Selman. But, with a recent Selfridges campaign video and Paper magazine spread (in which she was named one of 2015's Most Beautiful People, no less) under her belt, the model, actress, and recent Columbia University graduate is clearly only getting started. This week, the multi-hyphenate inked a contract with IMG Models, joining the likes of Gigi Hadid, Chanel Iman, and Gemma Ward on its New York Women's Board. 
The agency's Senior VP and Managing Director, Ivan Bart, announced the news on Twitter yesterday, stating, "Today begins our journey with @harinef. This girl's future is so bright, guys r knocked out behind her!" Nef is IMG's first U.S.-based transgender model — the model Valentijn De Hingh is represented in its Paris offices — which marks a major step for the agency. Nef joins an elite group of trans high-fashion models, such as Givenchy muse Lea T. (signed to Women Management) and Andreja Pejić, who's signed to The Society.  Between Pejić landing a coveted Make Up For Ever beauty campaign, trans activist Aydian Dowling leading the Men's Health cover competition, and Nef's IMG contract, it's been a major year so far for the fashion industry's growing acceptance of beauty. Although there's still a ways to go, here's hoping Nef's news opens even more possibilities for other models next season. As she summed up her sentiments on Twitter, "been feeling like i'm kind of whatever but upon further inspection i'm kind of a pretty girl." No doubt about it.

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