The beauty industry continues to embrace inclusivity, and Chanel Beauty is next to jump in line. This week, the fashion house announced Teddy Quinlivan as the brand’s first openly transgender model. The 25-year-old beauty revealed the partnership on her Instagram, along with an emotional post detailing her difficult past.
Quinlivan shared a Chanel campaign video in which she’s applying the Rouge Coco lipstick in Légende. “I find I don’t cry anymore when things are sad, but isn’t it interesting when we shed tears in moments of triumph. This was one of those triumphant cry moments for me,” she wrote in the caption of the post.
Quinlivan continues: “My whole life has been a fight. From being bullied at school consistently, kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it, my own father beating me and calling me a faggot, to receiving industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job. This was a victory that made all of that shit worth it.”
The Boston native went on to say that she’s worked with Chanel’s fashion side before, but was “living in stealth.” In other words, she had not yet revealed her transgender identity. Quinlivan eventually came out in 2017, which was met with praise by industry legends like Pat McGrath and Marc Jacobs.
“When I came out I knew I’d stop working with some brands,” Quinlivan writes in her post. “I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again. But here I am in Chanel beauty advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community.”
Though this is clearly a career highlight for Quinlivan, she’s hardly a newbie when it comes to modeling. She’s been in the game since 2015 and in that time, has walked the runways for Gucci, Chloé, and Louis Vuitton, as well as starred in campaigns for Milk Makeup and Redken.
Quinlivan’s heartfelt post has garnered over 11,500 likes and an outpouring of supportive comments from the fashion and transgender communities. “Amazing. Congratulations darling!!” wrote Laverne Cox, a fellow transgender model and actress and a prominent LGBTQ+ advocate.
The model ended her caption with an inspiring message to her followers. “The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you’re worthless,” Quinlivan writes. “It’s your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting.”
In her Instagram Stories, she went onto applaud other LGBTQ+ individuals who have inspired her and celebrate the progress made in the industry. “This is such an exciting time to be alive if you are a member of the LGBTQ community, especially if you’re trans because trans girls are just out here fucking killing it,” she said. “We keep getting ourselves out there, making a difference and bringing the trans community to the global stage.”