Hari Nef is a name that some of you may not know right now, but you soon will.
She’s 23 years of age and hails from Philadelphia. Just a few weeks after signing with IMG Models she had her first shoot for Vogue magazine and if that wasn’t impressive enough – she did it at the same time as beginning her transition process from male to female.
Nef has managed to capture the imaginations of designers and fans throughout the world and here are just some of the reasons why she’s so amazing.
She is able to talk the talk
Nef is someone who knows what she wants to say, and says it. She reckons it’s great to look good and be “cute in a magazine” but you also have to be able to talk the talk and offer something creative, intelligent and important in order to make your mark and succeed.
She was the star of an advertising campaign for genderless clothing
Selfridges, the super cool department store have brought out their own range of genderless clothing, aimed to make both sexes feel comfortable and smart. Nef was the star of the video campaign for the range and danced her way through the song “He, She, Me” by Neneh Cherry and Devonte Hynes
She made her decision to transition publically – to help others who might be struggling
Nef has been very vocal and instrumental in making sure her transition was as political and public as possible. She’s never been mouthy, or shouty – but very calm, cool and classy in the way she’s handled it. “I wanted to be in the world,” she said to Vogue.com. “I’m not trying to self-aggrandize, but it’s more than a job to me. It is political.”
She went to Columbia University
She initially studied theatre at Columbia University, which has helped her gain experience in two careers, acting and modelling at the same time. Dazed and Confused call Nef an “artist who refuses to draw lines between Tumblr and art, or club life and academia. Nef is captivating, radical and multi-talented: a cover model for Frische, performance artist and stage actress.”
She’s vocal about the way Transgender people are perceived and treated in life
She insists that transitioning doesn’t mean you suddenly have to be a floaty, feminine, dress wearing stereotype if you don’t want to. In an interview with Vogue, she said “Insisting on perhaps a more gender-ambiguous or barefaced or subtle femininity as a trans woman has opened me up to certain dangers and rejection.”
Despite being seemingly serious, she’s got a great sense of fun
Follow her on social media – she’s astonishingly open and funny. Her twitter account is gold. Of her own Instagram account she says “my portfolio is just basically me shaping up to be a ham”.
She’s a great role model to her fans
Nef speaks so honestly about transgender issues. On her Tumblr, she takes questions submitted by fans. This example from a young transgender woman in Iraq who is having difficulty conforming to her assigned gender is particularly poignant. “It’s so lonely being the only person in my town who is trans. I am so thankful that I follow you and other girls on this site … maybe I’m living vicariously through you a bit. You’re so brave.” She’s a wonderful role model.
She realises she’s in a privileged position
She knows how far the transgender community have come in terms of acceptance, but also knows there is a long way to go. She wants to use her knowledge and experience to help others in any way she can. “As far as this goes, I’m easily understood. I’m white, I’m from a First World country, my identity as a woman aligns within a gender binary that most people take for granted. My hope is not just that more trans stories are told, but different kinds as well.” She said in an interview with Dazed magazine.
She’s super clever
Anyone that can model, act and quote from Virginia Woolf without breaking sweat is super cool by us.
We love you Hari.