1 Granary star, Edie Charles, is one of the models for Barneys SS14 campaign, titled ‘Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters’, which celebrates a part of modern modelling not yet entirely embraced: transgender. We’re so excited to see our friend amongst all these amazing people, and we are so happy that CSM becomes a home for everyone, never judging and always accepting. We think Edie’s story and Barneys’ initiative are really great, and that’s why we decided to repost the article Patricia Bosworth wrote for Barneys, which you can read below.
For the next two weeks, The Window will be featuring profiles of the amazing individuals featured in their Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters campaign, shot in New York by the iconic photographer Bruce Weber.
I was born and raised in Greenwich Village. I’m twenty-one. Growing up I worked as a child actor in theatre and voiceovers. I never thought of myself as especially successful. In high school I took a silversmithing class at the Y and I fell out of love with acting. Designing jewelry became my passion.
I was always at odds with my gender. When I was very young, my preference for typically feminine things was obvious and I would always pretend to be a girl when I played with friends or met new people. As I got older, I became increasingly aware that my gender expression was perceived to be atypical. So I tried to align myself with a gender that was socially expected. I attempted to present myself as male. And yet, my whole life I was mistaken for female which made this difficult. Towards the end of high school I had a girlfriend for a while, and then I decided to experiment with dating men. I wanted to explore that part of myself.
Edie (on left) wears Comme Des Garçons. May (profile forthcoming) wears Stella McCartney.
My concept of gender and sexuality has always been very fluid. I grew up in a very supportive environment and the transition was met with little resistance. Shortly after, I met my boyfriend. He had just graduated college and moved to New York. Having an older boyfriend meant that I could escape to his apartment and explore my gender freely. I started experimenting with drag. My boyfriend’s apartment became a safe space and my female clothes began to invade his closet.
He has been my biggest support throughout my transition. My friends have also been incredibly supportive. After I graduated high school, I moved to London to pursue a degree in jewelry design. Moving abroad presented the perfect opportunity to start fresh and express my gender openly. I began living full time as a woman. Here again, my boyfriend was a huge support. He began studying in London as well, getting a PhD in gender studies. He was always my best resource.
Edie (on left) wears Erdem . Maxie wears Altuzarra.
Meeting him opened my eyes to a whole new world of gendered possibilities. I didn’t see my transition as much of a surprise and my parents had always been very understanding. So when I would visit New York, I increasingly began to dress in a more feminine way, without warning. I think my parents thought it was a phase, but about two years later I ‘came out’ as transgender and told my parents I wanted to begin hormone replacement therapy. They didn’t quite understand why such aggressive treatment was necessary, but they were supportive of my decision. I told them I had previously been content living androgynously but now, as male puberty began to further set in, it was important that I align my body with my identity as a transgender woman. While they were never resistant, with time, my family has become increasingly accepting and understanding and I am so grateful.
I started hormones in August of 2013 and I couldn’t be happier. I finally feel like my true self. Through my transition I feel I have blossomed. Transitioning has enabled me to express myself freely. I feel actualized; I feel more confident, more genuine. I feel ready now to face the world as my own person, irrespective of gender.
Edie wears J. Mendel and Manolo Blahnik. Matthew wears his own clothes.
All photos © Bruce Weber.
Text by Patricia Bosworth for Barneys