Breaking Down Boundaries: Lea T

 Lea T is a drop-dead gorgeous Brazilian model, who has made a name for herself in the world of fashion modelling. Lea however, is not a typical model - she's a transsexual. Lea became friends with Riccardo Tisci, now creative director of Givenchy, when he was still studying in London's Central Saint Martins.

It has been the with help of Tisci that Lea has made her debut into the modelling world. Lea told Vogue Paris about their relationship:

“One night he encouraged me to wear pumps to a party, we went shopping for ‘drag queen’ shoes and we bleached my eyebrows. It was a revelation.”

Tisci, who describes Lea as a "true goddess" employed her as his assistant and fit model for some time, and just recently used her as a model for his Givenchy Haute Couture Fall/Winter show, and she also appears in the latest campaign for the fashion house. Lea has also become close friends of Carine Roitfeld, and she appeared in Vogue Paris August in a nude portrait which she describes as “in the name of all my transsexual friends.”

Lea says about other transsexuals who hide their identity to new partners:

 “They live as hypocrites; it is a variation on solitude, we transsexuals are born and grow up alone. After the operation we are born again, but once again alone. And we die alone. It is the price we pay.”

Lea, whose father is the famous Brazilian football star Toninho Cerezo says that he found it hard to accept her:

“When papa came home he would look at me and say there was something wrong with me. In the years to come, everyone started to pray that I was gay. It would have been the lesser evil for a religious family used to rules and type of colonial, rigid way of life.”

She says about her choice to change genders:

 ”is between being unhappy forever or trying to be happy.”

Lea T is an incredible model. Not only because she faces the same criticisms as every other model, but because she has seamlessly and fearlessly tackled the world of fashion, and has been one of the first transsexual models to do so successfully. By bravely being herself, she is undoubtedly breaking down the boundaries of the fashion industry as we know it, and will surely encourage others to simply live how they want to.

Lea (second from right) poses for Givenchy's Autumn/Winter campaign

Lea T for Givenchy Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2010

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