Q&A with Model, Artist & Social Rights Advocate, Aaron Philip
Aaron Philip is a 17 year old model, artist & social rights advocate based in NYC. As a black, physically disabled, transgender teen, she is striving to redefine beauty & bring visibility to her intersecting marginalized identities in the worlds of art & fashion. Aaron goes by she/her, they/them pronouns. You can find them on instagram and twitter.
How do you identify and how has makeup helped or hindered your gender expression?
Even though I’ve been in love with makeup and skincare since I was 13 years old, I didn’t have the resources or space to really even use makeup while growing up. I’m catching up now and I’m trying to experiment more with my image. I identify as a non-binary trans femme/woman, meaning that i’m gender non-conforming yet I lean more towards femininity, and I use she/her, they/them pronouns.
You use your platform to talk about lack of representation in the fashion and beauty world, what would you change if you could?
I do indeed talk actively about the lack of representation in the fashion and beauty world. I would change so many things if i could, but the one thing i’m focused on is visibility and awareness towards disabled, trans, black bodies as a whole and how beautiful and deserving of a proper platform we are. We need to be given the opportunity to take up these spaces in order to genuinely make change and shake up the table.
Who was beautiful to you when you were growing up and who do you admire now?
My mother has always been beautiful to me. I take most of my prominent facial features from her, so it’s just lovely knowing that I take after my mother so much. As a kid, I really loved Naomi Campbell (who doesn’t though?) and I adore her now. Today, I really love Bella Hadid, FKA twigs and Grace Bol as well as my friend Hunter Schafer, Adwoa Aboah, Jazzelle Zanaughtti and Slick Woods. I absolutely admire how all of these models and creatives have worked to personally make and redefine their own standard of beauty.
Tell us about three people who inspire you.
I’m inspired by my mother, Marsha P. Johnson and Rihanna because they’re all beautiful and have shaped me into the person i am now.
What stories do you like to tell through your photographs? Has photographing others inspired you to be on the opposite side of the lens as you pursue modeling?
My photography is oriented around studies of gender identity, human emotion, fashion, environments, and different aesthetics. Photographing others has absolutely inspired me to be on the opposite side of the lens, as I pursue modeling. It has helped me figure out my best angles!