The Beauty Bean caught up with "genderless" model Andre J. who talked about the meaning of real beauty. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he first caught everyone's eyes as a publicist for Patricia Field's boutique and went on to pose for the cover of French Vogue -- a cover that former editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld called one of her favorite memories during her tenure at the glossy.
Here are some of our favorite Qs and As from the interview:
How has [the definition of beauty], for you, changed over time?
Well, since I have discovered the beauty that comes from within -- which is my beauty -- it has gotten me to travel around the world for almost 2 years, I've been on the cover of French Vogue -- where I'm considered the only African American male or, they say, "transsexual," to be on the cover of a major fashion magazine in full Andre J., in heels, in a trench coat, in heels and hair and with a smile! And with a smile!
How does being unconfined by gender norms impact how you see and experience beauty?
Well, for me, simply because I am exotic, I find that I can accept everyone and anyone and when I see people I am never judging them for how they look or how they dress or any of those entities of society's interpretation of what life or fashion or style is.
Who are your beauty role models?
To be absolutely honest with you, I have grown up on old divas, on icons, not celebrities. To me, Cher and Diana Ross or Buddha or a deity, to me, that's beautiful because it stands for something. When you looked at Diana Ross, you saw glamour, she was poised, she was graceful, she had charisma, she had charm, she knew how to shine. When you look at Cher: same thing. Tina Turner, Jimmy Hendrix too.
Read the rest at The Beauty Bean and take a look at photos of Andre J. from Patrick McMullan.com.