Chanel's New Beauty: Trans Model Teddy Quinlivan

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday August 29, 2019

Trans model Teddy Quinlivan revealed in an Aug. 26 Instagram post that she is now working with Chanel, CBS News reports.

Calling her hiring by Chanel for a campaign "one of those triumphant cry moments," Quinlivan, 25, put the professional coup into the broader context of her life in the Instagram post where she broke the news.

"My whole life has been a fight," the model wrote. She recalled that she had been bullied at school, with "kids threatening to kill me and going into graphic detail how they were going to do it," and further disclosed that she had faced similar bullying at home from her own father, who she said beat her and insulted her with homophobic slurs.

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????CHANEL BEAUTY???? -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. 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 fagot, 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. I had walked 2 shows for Chanel while I was living in stealth ( stealth meaning I hadn't made my trans identity public yet) and when I came out I knew I'd stop working with some brands, 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. The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you're worthless. It's your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting, Because if you give up then you will never experience the tears of triumph. Thank you to everyone who made this dream a reality! @nicolaskantor @shazmakeup @sebastienrichard1 @casadevallbelen

A post shared by Theodora Quinlivan (@teddy_quinlivan) on

Quinlivan went on to say that she had faced "industry blowback after speaking publicly about being sexually assaulted on the job," but summed up by declaring, "This is a victory that made all of that shit worth it."

Added Quinlivan, "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.

"The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you're worthless. It's your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting. Because if you give up then you will never experience the tears of triumph."

InStyle offered some context of its own, noting that Chanel's hiring of Quinlivan comes in the wake of other high-profile gigs for trans models:

Andreja Pejic modeled for MAKE UP FOR EVER and Victoria's Secret model Valentina Sampaio has also worked with L'Oreal Paris.

E! News, meantime, recapped some of the model's resume prior to her current campaign with Chanel:

Along with her Chanel campaign, the 25-year-old model has starred in numerous beauty ads with brands such as Milk Makeup, Redken and Maison Margiela Fragrances (to name a few). She has also walked countless runways for Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Gucci, Altuzarra, Saint Laurent and many more.

E! News noted that the new campaign is a full circle moment, recalling, "In fact, Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière is the one who originally discovered Teddy."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.