Vogue Hommes: 15 things to know about the transsexual model Laith Ashley Kicking off his career with a Barney’s campaign photographed by Bruce Weber and stepping out on to the catwalk for Gypsy Sport at New York Fashion Week, Laith Ashley made headlines as one of the first transgender male model to appear in a national campaign. With an athletic figure and a unique charm, we catch up with the rising star. Tell us a bit about you I am 26 years old and I studied Psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Photo by Nelson Castillo When did you realize that you were a boy? I didn’t know what Transgender was until I was 19 years old. However, at 4/5 years old I just knew there was something different about me. What was it like to grow up as a transgender kid in the U.S.? Growing up Trans in the US was not that difficult, especially for me because I was able to express myself with no objections from my family and those close to me. What was the hardest part of your journey? The hardest part of my journey was coming to terms with who I am and my own personal religious beliefs. Growing up Christian, I was taught that homosexuality and anything within that subset was sinful so I internalized who I was. However I have now found peace in both. What is masculinity to you? To me, masculinity is the ability to verbalize who you are, your feelings and your emotions, without the fear or the feeling of being bound to what society’s expectations are. Photo by Nelson Castillo How would you describe yourself in three words? Sensitive, strong and sexy (sometimes) What is your beauty secret? I drink a lot of water and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! How many times a week do you exercise and what do you do? A lot of people are under the misconception that it’s all testosterone but if that were the case, then everyone who had used it would be fit. But the truth is, I have been an athlete all my life, I believe that it is what gave me the foundation to the physique that I have today. I was a boxer at a very young age and my father pushed me in all sports that I had participated in. Currently, I exercise 4-5 times a week, cardio 3-4 times a week and weight lift daily. I often work a different muscle a day. What is your favorite sport? Basketball was my first love, and still is. What is your favorite and least favorite body part? I really like my lips and there are days when I don’t like my nose. But I know that every person has something they do not like about themselves or something they wish they can change. What makes a man or a woman sexy to you? Confidence and a being down-to-earth and of course a pretty face and fit body doesn’t hurt either. What do you do in your spare time? I like escaping reality by watching films, mostly comedies or romantic comedies. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you? You have to accept the good with the bad. A lot of times I had wanted to block out the bad or was quick to react at many negative comments and I have learned that I have to accept both and more importantly learn from both. Photo: Laith Ashley and Whoopi Goldberg at the Gypsy Sport presentation Which supermodels did you look up when you first started your modeling career? Francisco Lachowski and Rob Evans. I also looked up to Omahyra Mota and Azmarie Livingston. Photo by Nelson Castillo Where would you like to be in 10 years? I would like to still be modeling and perhaps branch out into the film or music industry or anywhere I can express my creative talent.