“We need people to know that this is our world,” Whoopi Goldberg said on Tuesday night, citing the source of her inspiration behind the reality show she’s developing. This fall, “Strut” will debut on Oxygen, which follows a selection of transgender models from Slay Model Management as they try to make it in the modeling business.
Goldberg has been interested in such a project for some time. “You can know about famous people, but these are the people whose lives we need to save. We need to recognize that everybody goes through the same thing. We hear all these things. People say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be in this bathroom,’ but what do you do if you are a transgender woman? You don’t want to go in a men’s room — that’s not who you are.”
Goldberg continued that “Strut” aims to move the human-rights conversation forward and heighten awareness of the trans community, using modeling as an example. “What we’ve discovered is, once you meet someone face-to-face, it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re going through the same stuff I’m going through.’ It humanizes everything, and maybe will make it an easier conversation for folks to have,” she says. “And if there are young kids questioning who they are, we are here to tell you, ‘No, you have to try to be you.'”
“We’ve seen it very famous, with Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, but we haven’t seen it humanized,” she continued. “Where people are living their lives, trying to be models, trying to do what they want to do. Ceci [Asuncion]’s agency allows us to say, ‘You never know who you’re sitting next to.’ “
“When it comes to the show, I want it all,” Slay Model Management founder Cecilio Asuncion says. “It’s not about tokenism anymore. Trans people walk among us. I want everyone to know that these lives matter. It’s not about being trans. It’s about being a model first and a transwoman or transman second.”