For dedicated Givenchy-enthusiasts, the story of Leo T-turned-Lea T is old news. Moreover, regular readers of The Fashion Law have also likely become familiar with the now 32-year old Brazilian beauty, who is Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci’s longtime pal and former-assistant. But on Transgender Remembrance day, here is a throwback to a post we did on Lea some time ago …
Lea T took the modeling industry by storm when she starred in Givenchy’s Fall 2010 ad campaign, and then was subsequently featured in Italian Vanity Fair and Vogue Paris, and on the covers of LOVE magazine and Elle Brazil. In case this is the first time you’re hearing her name, she began as Riccardo Tisci’s assistant at Givenchy, before becoming an openly-transgender model and undergoing a gender reassignment surgery, a process she began in 2008 and a topic she spoke about with Oprah in 2011.
Lea told Oprah that she had always felt different, even as a child, and for a long time hoped she was simply gay, because it would have been easier for her family to accept. She said: “I wish I could accept my body like men. It would be much easier for me if I could be a straight guy and have a girlfriend, family and daughters, married, all this normal life. But it’s something in your brain – born in the wrong body.”
Additionally, she told Oprah that her devout Catholic parents were far more supportive than she could have ever imagined. Also an extremely supportive figure in her life: Tisci. With so much recent press about Tisci, due to the up-coming Met Gala that he is co-chairing, the designer shed light on one of his muses.
Rarely speaking too much in the press about Lea T, Tisci told the New York Times, “I hate to use this word, but, yes, you get power [from being a creative director]. And you get followers because you are making people beautiful, you are changing people. I can sell more bags, I can sell more beautiful shoes, but, next to that, you have the power to give a good message to people. I had this friend called Leo who was transgender. I helped her through her journey and eventually we used her in our advertising campaign. Everyone was against it, but we did it.”