Now Casting: Cameryn Ruby

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When Cameryn Ruby was three years old, she used to draw herself with long hair and wearing skirts or dresses. Art was a creative way for Ruby to express her femininity and led her mother, after researching online, to realize that her child was transgender. The 17-year-old Ohio native, who signed on with Elite back in January, moved to New York to pursue modeling after graduating from high school, but her biggest aspiration is to break down barriers in the fashion industry. She looked to other activists and models for inspiration, who were already speaking out about diversity and gender identity in the industry.

One of them was Teddy Quinlivan, a regular face on the catwalks of Dior, Alexander Wang, and Gucci, who made headlines when she came out as transgender last September during New York Fashion Week. Quinlivan had first come out in an online interview and then on Instagram, a life-changing announcement that surprised many people because she had already been working as a model for the past few years. Ruby had sent Quinlivan a direct message on Instagram and the two met up for coffee a few weeks before Ruby signed with Elite. The two spoke about the struggles they faced in the industry and Quinlivan imparted some advice to the aspiring model.

CR sat down with Ruby to talk about her dream designer, using her platform for change, and how the industry is gradually becoming more diverse.

What was it like meeting Teddy and what was the best advice that she gave you?
„It was so surreal. She really did give me some great advice on navigating this industry, like to stay true to yourself and don’t ever let anyone change you.“

What do you wish people knew about being transgender?
„Sometimes people don’t understand what it means to be transgender, so they can ask personal questions about the medical side that maybe trans people aren’t comfortable talking about. I think people are really preoccupied with the whole transition, but there’s life after transition, too.“

What were your favorite memories growing up?
„I love drawing and painting. I am a transgender woman, so art for me was a way of bringing out my femininity. For example, my mom would tell me to draw a picture of myself when I was like three years old. I rejected everything that had a male connotation to it. I would cry when I had to put on my polos and shirts, and in stores I would go reach for the dresses. I grew up knowing who I was. It was never a question in my mind whether I was a woman or not.“

Was it hard transitioning in Perrysburg, Ohio where you’re from?
„It was definitely new. Where I’m from, you don’t see it as much as you would in a big city, because people didn’t really know what it means to be transgender back then. But I think with all the news coming out with more and more stories, it’s giving us a representation. It was difficult, but I had an amazing support system back home, so they were always behind me and always respected what I wanted to do.“

What made you want to become a model in the first place?
„Fashion is another way of expressing my femininity. At home, I would take my mom’s old clothes and cut them up and make dresses that would fit myself. I did everything that I could to bring out my femininity. I submitted pictures to the Elite website, and they responded, and I’ve always known I wanted to come here so I planned a trip to New York with my dad to see if I could get started. I met with Elite, and they offered me a contract. It was just a dream come true. I was in shock. It didn’t hit me until after I left.“

Dream designer to walk for?
„I love Versace. I really respected Gianni Versace as a designer and I wish that I was around to see his work when it was coming out. Donatella’s doing an amazing job and I really respect her, because I know that must be hard. I just love their concepts and ideas and how they play with color. I know the Spring/Summer ‘18 collection is probably my all-time favorite. It was so good, I’ve watched it so many times. The music, the stage, the clothes were amazing.“

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