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Issue 17 Out Now

CELEBRATING AARON PHILLIPS


©MOSCHINO, Photography by Luigi & Iango

Born in Antigua and diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby, Aaron Philip, is the first black transgender woman with a disability to be signed to a major agency and to grace influential magazine covers. Despite Philip’s age, she has had a long history of pushing for spaces in media to be more inclusive and representative of black women with a disability like her.


Philip’s social media presence has always existed loudly and authentically to who she is. Starting a blog by the name of Aaronverse around the ages of 12–13, where she would write about, articles she read, personal experiences, and even made a graphic book/film called “Tanda”.


The writings on Philip’s blog got her noticed by Former Tumblr CEO David Karp. She spoke at Tumblrs’ headquarters about her blog and living with cerebral palsy at the age of 12. She also wrote a book with Co-writer Tanya Bolden at the age of 15 This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability) published by Harper Collins. In the book, she chronicles her experiences growing up with cerebral palsy.


From a young age Philip has talked about her disability and how it shouldn’t be negative, her abilities exceed the stigmas placed on what she can do with her disability.


Being so outspoken about her experiences is what has drawn people to her. Coming out as gender-fluid and identifying as non-binary for several years and then coming out in 2018 as a transgender woman. Philip has shown us many aspects of her life as a black woman with a disability, which laid the groundwork for inclusivity and representation of various bodies in media.


True to her start on the internet Philip manifested her spot in the world of fashion with a tweet honestly when I get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it’s OVER for y’all! by y’all, I mean the WORLD! it’s real inclusivity/diversity hours folks, get into it!”. This tweet went viral and her manifestation became reality.


Shortly after she was signed to Elite Model Management, and is now actively working towards an inclusive industry with editorial features in i-D, Dazed, and Paper Magazines. And even having conversations in Vogue Magazine about the lack of disabled representation.


Aaron Philip has always had an authentic and powerful voice throughout her life. At a young age, she has made history and will be noted in black history for years to come.


Resources:

Ivin, Tom. “Pioneering Model Aaron Philip Comes of Age.” I-D, I-D, 21 May 2019, i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/paj3x8/model-aaron-philip-film-interview.


Moran, Justin. “Naomi Campbell Interviews Trailblazing Model Aaron Philip.” PAPER, PAPER, 22 Sept. 2020, www.papermag.com/aaron-philip-naomi-campbell-pride-2638910236.html.


New York, Community. “COMMUNITY NEW YORK: AARON PHILIP: PROFILE.” COMMUNITY NEW YORK | AARON PHILIP | PROFILE, Community New York, www.communitynewyork.com/catalyst/aaron-philip/profile/.


Olson, Laurette, director. Aaron Speaks at Tumblr about Aaronverse. Youtube , Youtube, 15 Jan. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqIgYhJcDwc&feature=emb_title.


Philip, Aaron. “Honestly When i Get Scouted/Discovered by a Modeling Agency It’s OVER for Y’all! by Y’all i Mean the WORLD! It’s Real Inclusivity/Diversity Hours Folks, Get into It! Pic.twitter.com/58VOSafAm6.” Twitter, Twitter, 24 Nov. 2017, twitter.com/aaronphilipxo/status/933901376278626304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E933901376278626304%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpublish.twitter.com%2F%3Fquery%3Dhttps3A2F2Ftwitter.com2Faaronphilipxo2Fstatus2F933901376278626304widget%3DTweet.


Philip, Aaron. “This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (NOT Disability).” HarperCollins, HarperCollins, 16 Feb. 2016, www.harpercollins.com/products/this-kid-can-fly-its-about-ability-not-disability-aaron-philip?variant=32122868006946.


Tindle, Hannah. “Aaron Philip Is the Trans, Disabled Model Making History.” Dazed, Dazed, 13 May 2019, www.dazeddigital.com/projects/article/44143/1/aaron-philip-model-biography-dazed-100-2019-profile.

Vidani, Peter. Aaronverse, Aaron Philip, aaronverse.tumblr.com/.


Weinstock, Tish. “Chella Man and Aaron Philip Want Better Representation.” Vogue, Vogue, 13 Aug. 2020, www.vogue.com/article/chella-man-aaron-philip-better-representation-disabled-community.


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