Slay Model Management, the world’s first exclusively transgender model agency, will host its first Model Search Feb. 15 at One Culver in Los Angeles.
“We are looking for star quality,” said Cecilio Asuncion, founder and director of Slay Model Management. “It takes more than beauty to be a top model. It takes determination, a healthy outlook and a visceral understanding that she is a model first, and a trans woman second.”
Slay’s models have appeared in campaigns for such companies as Eva Mendes for New York and Co.; Nikita Dragun’s Cosmetics company, Dragun Beauty, and Katy Perry Fragrance, as well as on TV in FX’s “Pose, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Project Runway” and Netflix’s upcoming show, “Next in Fashion.” The Oxygen-TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, was built around Slay Model Management and showcased the challenges its models faced in the fashion industry, fighting to overcome gender and beauty stereotypes.
“Slay is not about selling transness,” Asuncion said. “We are selling a young woman’s capability to represent a brand or designer. Sure, it’s great to be booked during June for Pride Month, but what we want is sustainability and opportunities year-round.”
Asuncion said there are unique opportunities available to transgender models today. “Fashion is changing. Companies understand the need for representation, diversity and inclusion,” he said. He believes that at some point in the future, trans models will be hired for their beauty and not, specifically, because they are trans. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that a trans model has to be an activist. Frankly, I don’t believe they do. By polishing their craft and representing themselves as the best in the business, they will help future generations.”
To enter the model search, people are encouraged to visit the Slay Model Management web site, Slaymodels.com, and click on the “Get Scouted” tab. They will be competing for three slots. Twenty-five finalists will be selected from all entries received through the web site and invited to compete in the Feb. 15 finale at One Culver, hosted by model Arisce Wanzer and international celebrity DJ Lina Bradford, both whom are represented by Slay Model Management.
The model competition will be coproduced by celebrity event planner Jason Rhee of the Rheefined Company. Prior to the competition night, all selected contestants will attend a Model Boot Camp, where they will be coached by top photographers, stylists and editors. The competition will be judged by industry professionals.