Model Of Empowerment: Lauren Foster
Model of Empowerment
Lauren Foster is Sixty and Oh, So Sexy.
By Michael Fantone
“I have always had a strong sense of self but now, being a woman of a certain age who continues to live her years as authentically as possible, I can truly say I feel more empowered today than ever before.” So says Lauren Foster, the first trans woman to be honored by Variety Magazine as a Woman of Empowerment.
Foster rose to fame in the early ‘80s, working the international runways as a high fashion model. At the time, she had intended to live stealth; a trans-term that refers to a person who passes as their desired gender and chooses to keep their original gender secret. It all came to a head, however, when after appearing in the pages of Vogue Magazine, a rival model outed her as transgender.
Vogue Model Used To Be a Man read the headline of every supermarket tabloid.
Foster assumed it would mean the end of her career, but it wasn’t. She continued modeling. She also found success as an actress, appearing in Circuit and Joseph Lally’s provocative and artistic films, Faces and Miss America Commits Suicide.
Most recently, Foster has starred on two seasons of Real Housewives of Miami, becoming the first transgender woman to appear regularly on the Bravo franchise.
“I’m so pleased with the tremendous strides the transgender community has made in the last few years,” she says. “Laverne Cox’s Time Magazine cover was a pivotal moment as was Candis Cayne on Dirty Sexy Money and The Magicians. It’s wonderful to see such progress but we mustn’t forget the pioneers. Models April Ashley, Amanda Lear and Aleshia Brevard all enjoyed enormous success in the entertainment world in their day.”
Foster has mixed feelings about the current trend of major companies hiring trans models and actors for their advertising. Bud Light, Absolut Vodka, Secret deodorant, and Tinder are some of the most recent to do so. “While I can appreciate that the ads are shining a light on trans men and women, I can’t help but think that the companies are also sensationalizing the community. When we get to a time when companies can simply hire a trans model and/or actor without mentioning that they have done so, that’s when I will be truly happy.”
The mere fact that a person is transgender means they are extraordinary. However, Foster would like the community to concentrate its power on showing how “ordinary” they really are. “When all is said and done, trans men and women simply want to live normal, ordinary lives, without fear,” she explains.
In the ongoing battle for equal rights, Foster says there is still much to be done. She is focusing her attention on raising awareness of challenges faced by trans women of color and by young trans kids in schools. Additionally, she would like to see harsher sentences imposed on those who assault trans men and women.
“Everyone walking on this earth deserves equal rights and no one should be able to deny that,” Lauren Foster sums up. “My message to anyone who feels otherwise is simple. Be quiet.”
Lauren Foster, Instagram: @thelaurenfoster
Article Written By Michael Fantone