Fashionistas, learn this name: Felipa Tavares. The leggy Brazilian bombshell is storming the catwalk and earning A-list status in the finicky world of haute couture.

And she’s the leading light among a growing number of transgender models.

The AP notes:

“[Trans models’] newfound prominence… points to a seismic shift in Brazilian society, which has seen macho, homophobic attitudes soften in recent years as gays win more legal rights.

We are in the 21st century and there is just more tolerance in the air. Here in Brazil we now have gay mayors, gay lawmakers,” said Sergio Mattos, director of the Rio-based modeling agency 40 Graus Models. “So why not trans models? The world has evolved and now discrimination is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.”

The 26-year-old Tavares was discovered by super-agent Sergio Mattos, the starmaker who plucked Gisele Bundchen from obscurity.

“As a kid, I remember being so uncomfortable in the boys’ clothes my parents dressed me in,” she says. “I never played football and I just wanted to hang around with the girls, playing dolls or dress-up.”

Tavaras is one of several trans women who have emerged on the modeling scene in the past few years—she’s joined by fellow Brazilians Carol Marra and Lea T, as well as America’s Next Top Model stunner (and recent Out 100 honoree) Isis King, Korean fashion plate Choi Han-bit and gorgeously androgynous Bosnian-Australian supermodel Andrej Pejic.

Below the Vice web series Fashion Week Internationale examines the emergence of trans models during Rio Fashion Week.




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