Actress and transgender advocate Angelica Ross is adding high-fashion model to her already impressive résumé.
Best known for her role as Candy on the hit FX show “Pose,” Ross is now the face of luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s newest ad campaign. The ad features Ross against a backdrop that resembles a vintage movie poster. The ad says, in part, “When the future knocks, open the door!”
Anthony Ramos, head of talent at the LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD, said Ross’ inclusion in the campaign is a “major step forward for LGBTQ visibility and representation, specifically for trans women of color.”
“The brand’s decision to cast one of today’s most powerful voices in the transgender community demonstrates their commitment to creating campaigns that reflect the reality of the world we live in,” he told NBC News in an email.
In 2017, GLAAD awarded Ross and Trevor Noah a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding talk show episode for a segment of “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” on which the two discussed the discrimination and barriers transgender people face.
Ross is no stranger to breaking barriers. Just last year, she made history as the first trans actor to be a series regular on two shows when, in addition to “Pose,” she joined the cast of “American Horror Story: 1984,” the ninth season of the popular anthology series.
Off screen, Ross is an advocate for transgender rights and the CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a company she founded in 2014 to empower and provide educational and professional support to the trans community.
With her participation in the Louis Vuitton campaign, Ross joins a number of transgender models helping to change an industry that has only recently begun shifting toward trans inclusivity.
Brazilian model and actress Valentina Sampaio made history twice in the past three years — in 2017 as the first transgender model to grace the cover of French Vogue and again in 2019 as the first trans model for Victoria’s Secret. Also in 2019, “Project Runway” featured its first trans model, MiMi Tao, and HBO’s hit series “Euphoria” cast trans model Hunter Schafer in a starring role.
While Ross’ celebrity has garnered much attention for her Louis Vuitton campaign, she is not the first transgender model to represent the iconic brand. Nicolas Ghesquière, the French fashion house’s creative director, has repeatedly cast trans models and performers in past campaigns and runway shows, including the Scottish musician, singer and DJ Sophie Xeon and Canadian actor and model Krow Kian.
“If I had more time, I would do more and more,” Ghesquière told Out magazine last year when asked about his role in enacting social change. “Maybe in the future I will. But the way that I do it is with the respect, the attraction and the inspiration to showcase people like Sophie, Krow, or others I work with who express this way of being. They’re people I want to stand by.”
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