On September 6, one of the models walking down the runway at London’s Fashion Week was a transgender woman—making her debut only days before having gender confirmation surgery.
Just two years after starting hormone replacement therapy, 32-year-old Nicole Gibson strutted her stuff as she participated in Models of Diversity’s Catwalk for Change campaign.
The organization’s goal, as stated on their website, is to “change the rules of fashion” by pushing the bounds of mainstream modeling norms and to celebrate beauty in all forms.
The campaign asks the fashion industry to take note of their motto: “The rules of beauty are there to be broken! CHANGE HAPPENS NOW!”
Gibson was born male and identified as a gay man until she reached her twenties, when she started wearing women’s attire. After years of expressing her gender as a female, Gibson decided to begin hormone replacement therapy.
Two years later, Gibson walked down the catwalk as a transgender woman, sporting a sheer dress.
“The fashion show was amazing,” Gibson said. “They say you have not really made it as a model until you walk along the catwalk in a sheer dress with your nipples showing—and here I was doing it in my first show. Luckily, thanks to the hormones, I have quite a nice pair now. I didn’t have time to get nervous, I was just so excited,” she said, according to Transition Transmission.
Before entering the world of fashion, Gibson worked at a pub in Horsham, West Sussex. As her body began to respond to the hormones, she was able to leave her job and pursue a career on the runway.
Gibson explained that her transition from male to female wasn’t really a choice: “To me it is just something that I have to do. It is like having two horns on my head that I have to get rid of to become the person that I have always felt I was inside,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
Gibson told reporters that she always knew she was different. “I used to dress up in dresses and pretend I was Elizabeth Taylor in ‘the Blue Bird’—but I told everyone else I was pretending to be a wizard,” she said.
Gibson’s breakthrough on the runway has gotten her hired onto London’s Ideal Home Show for late 2013.