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    World’s First Transgender Modeling Agency Readies for Launch

    leftApple Model Management is about to launch the world’s first all-transgender modeling agency. Cecilio Asuncion, who recently moved from San Francisco to serve as director of the new agency branch, is in Los Angeles now readying for the big opening there.

    As you might imagine, his phone is ringing like crazy.

    The Huffington Post recently reported that “transgender people are more visible than ever,” mentioning Caitlyn Jenner’s success and public support. Actress and activist Laverne Cox also rocketed toward the top of the Time magazine readers’ poll and was named one of People’s “World’s Most Beautiful” this year. The television comedy-drama “Transparent” is so popular that it was renewed for a third season even prior to the airing of its second series shows.

    Bangkok, Thailand-based Apple Model Management has represented transgender models for a while, announcing the specialty last year. But the forthcoming Los Angeles branch will be exclusively devoted to transgender models.

    “The lay of the land is changing,” Asuncion told the San Francisco Bay Times. “In the past years, transgender people have become more and more accepted in many areas of music, entertainment, fashion, commercial advertising and more.” In addition to Jenner and Cox, he mentioned Janet Mock, Aderet, Alexandra Billings, Isis King, Lea T. and Andrej Pejic as prominent examples.

    Asuncion often focuses on transgender women, who were the subject of his 2014 documentary “What’s the T?” which he made while residing in San Francisco. It features Cassandra Cass, Nya Ampon, Rakash Armani, Vi Le and Mia Tu Mutch. All proceeds from the premiere went to Trans: Thrive, a non-profit clinic for transgender women in San Francisco.

    It seemed surprising to us that transgender modeling was supported mostly out of Thailand at first, but Asuncion reminded us that “Thailand is a Buddhist country where there is more exposure to transgender individuals, and the movement there is very strong.” He added that the country has been hosting the famous “Miss International Queen” transgender competition for contestants from all over the world for the past 10 years.

    Asuncion, as an out gay man, said that he strives for diversity in all aspects of his life, both public and personal. He mentioned that he often teams up with lesbian allies for work. “Even socially, I don’t just stay in my own bubble. It helps to get out to meet many members of the LGBTQIA community. The more we get to know each other, the better we can demand true equality for all of us.”

    Transgender models from Apple are featured on this page and on our cover. To see the full international roster so far, please visit