On September 20th, Oxygen will premier its new show, Strut, following the lives of some of the models of Slay Model Management, an L.A. agency representing transgender fashion talent.
The cast and members of the executive team gathered on the purple carpet in celebration (note: I didn’t ask, but I have seen purple used as or in some trans pride icons).
First was Dominque Jackson, a 20 year veteran of the modeling community. When asked about how the show is being received, she said that there has been lots of love from all types of people, including religious people, as they find something a way to connect with the people on the show. She stressed that lots of people have been supportive.
Isis King, the first transgender contestant on America’s Next Top Model, says she’s had to learn how to be herself in the modeling community, without any sort of role model. She says that being on America’s Next Top Model taught her a lot of things, and that she starts out very corporate and professional and had to learn to let go and really show her personality during the show. Slay seems to be very different from the world of ANTM, which doesn’t sound like a bad thing.
Arisce Wanzer, a long time model and activist, talked about the need to be visible; especially as both a trans model and a person of color (one of the online clips shows her talking about how she has no intention of getting her nose done to look more white). She spoke about the need to be seen as normal, doing the same stuff every other model out there does, and how it really impacted her once she started being seen as truly another human being and not an anomaly.
Rounding out the cast are Laith de la Cruz, the only male model at Slay, Renn Springs, an up and coming model who’s often described as a tomboy, Cecilio Asuncion, the director of scouting and development at Slay, and Cassandra Cass, the office assistant at Slay as well as an established performer in her own right.
Joining us were various members of the NBCUniversal reality TV team, including Ramona Singer of the Real Housewives of New York City, Kim Zolciak-Biermann and Brielle Biermann of Real Housewives of Atlanta and the hit single “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party”, Ryan Serhand and Emilia Bechrakis of Million Dollar Listing New York, and especially Bevy Smith, notably from Fashion Queens and the Wendy Williams Show.
Even Whoopi Goldberg, the show’s executive producer, joined us! She spoke of the need, again, for visibility, especially as we have to go through, yet another, round of dealing with restrictive laws popping up across America. She went on to speak about how the transgender mortality rate is incredibly high, and that needs to change, emphasizing the need for visibility, among so many other things.
Strut’s highly diverse and sharp cast looks to shake things up starting on Sept 20th. Check out their website for clips, interviews, and more information on the cast members, and then tune in!