With influencers like Caitlyn Jenner and Jazz Jennings making regular headlines these days, transgender acceptance is now seeing a brighter future. The latest news: Thailand-based Apple Model Management is opening an exclusive transgender women and men modeling division in Los Angeles. Cecilio Asuncion, Los Angeles director, will head up the division and relayed to Fortune that he already has six models, and is currently seeking to fill another nine spots.
Asuncion, who filmed transgender documentary What’s The T? in 2012, says “his mission is to turn the working models into supermodels and groom rookie talent for the world of modeling.” Aside from high fashion gigs, he aims to tap big consumer brands that “span cities, suburbs and strip malls across America.”
“I want the Gaps,” says Asuncion.”I want the Old Navys. I want the Banana Republics—just because it’s commercial work and that’s more mainstream.” Another key brand for him is Target. “If you have a trans woman pushing a cart looking so happy that she’s buying dishwashing liquid—because, you know, everyone’s happy buying dishwashing liquid—who cares what gender they are? Who cares? Why should that be an issue?”
What’s up next for Apple Model Management’s new transgender model division? New York Fashion Week in September. Fortune reported that while he didn’t drop names, Heatherette designer Richie Rich is “a potential interested party.” As for now, Asuncion will continue to work against the company’s mission of moving onwards and upwards and creating a workspace in the modeling world “without having to feel that you have to hide.”