Transgender Model Hari Nef Joins IMG's Ranks

by Jessica Willingham

IMG is redefining beauty, one modeling contract at a time. The modeling agency already represents plus-sized (dare we say, normal-sized?) Ashley Graham and 70-something-year-old Lauren Hutton. Now, IMG signed transgender model Hari Nef to their women's/talent board, proving that trans beauty is real beauty and it's here to stay.

If you don't know Nef, let us introduce you: She is beyond beautiful and she's absolutely brilliant. The trans actress, model, and writer graduated from Columbia University last week (no small feat) and has been turning heads on runways for the last year. Nef has strolled the catwalk for Adam Selman, Hood by Air, and Eckhaus Latta. She's fronted Selfridges' latest video campaign, graced the 2015 Dazed 100 list (with the likes of Kendall Jenner), appeared in Paper magazine's 2015 Beautiful People issue, and if that's not enough, she was name-dropped in a recent issue of Vogue. She's an It girl, through and through.

When IMG's Ivan Bart took to Twitter to announce Nef as the company's most recent addition, I was not surprised. Besides, IMG's diversity is expansive: Valentijn De Hingh, another trans model on the IMG roster, is represented in Paris.

Is it a big deal IMG has signed Nef? While trans models are attracting attention lately (Andreja Pejic just earned a Make Up For Ever campaign and a Vogue profile, and Givenchy's favorite Lea T. was the hair behind Redken's Chromatics hair color in 2014) it is still not the norm. Still, consumers are craving diversity and agencies are making strides to meet the demand. While they are still signing the Gigi Hadids and Sasha Pivovarovas of the world, it's clear the new normal is here. Nef could not be a better pick as IMG embraces change.

I am so thrilled for Nef's new gig and can't wait to watch her on the runway.