Lea T., Transsexual Model, Talks Sex Change & The Night She Found Herself
Lea T., the star of Givenchy's autumn/winter ad campaign, recently opened up to several magazines and newspapers about being a transsexual supermodel, even posing nude in French Vogue "in the name of all my transsexual friends" (NSFW photos here). The Guardian UK traced Lea's rise to the top, from her birth as Leandro in 1981 in Belo Horizonte Brazil to soccer hero Toninho Cerezo and a Catholic family to becoming Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy's muse.
According to the Guardian a Rio gossip column contacted Cerezo and reported, "We got in touch with the former star but, irritated, he limited himself to saying that he had four children, one of them called Leandro...When asked if the boy had starred in the Givenchy campaign, Cerezo hung up the phone." However, Lea's brother Gustavo said, "It's Lea's success, not the family's. All I will say is that we are on her side and we support her."
The Guardian also reports that:
In the Vanity Fair interview, moreover, [Lea] said she "never spoke directly" to her father about undergoing the hormone treatment that will, eventually, give her the body of a woman. Conversation, she said, was limited to trivialities.
Lea has credited Tisci with her ability to be comfortable with herself. She remembered for French Vogue, "One night [Tisci] encouraged me to wear pumps to a party. We went shopping for 'drag queen' shoes and we bleached my eyebrows. It was a revelation."
ABC News reports that Lea is set to undergo a full sex change from male to female and is currently undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Lea told June's Italian Vanity Fair, "The choice is between being unhappy forever or trying to be happy."