Andrej Pejic, the androgynous, biologically male beauty who rose to notoriety as a working female model, ushered in the changing tides of a new non-gender conformative face to fashion. Cast in editorial and runway positions that were previously only filled by women, he became the singular poster child for a generation unencumbered by the trappings of traditional gender roles.
But don’t ask Casey Legler about terms like gender identity and gender expression: for the New York City-based “art maker,” the topic is not sex, it’s freedom. “It would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something,” says the former Olympic swimmer ― so it seems an understandable, if not expected, progression that she, at a striking, willowy 6’2″, is one of the first (if not the first) women to be signed exclusively to a men’s modeling contract.
After participating in the Olympics for her home country of France at age 18, Legler paved her way as an artist working with multiple mediums. Her art, which she frequently appears in, reflects on overriding themes like the constructs of time, ritual, and the human body, and it’s her work that led her to an entry into modeling ― friend and high-profile photographer Cass Bird asked Legler to improvise a man’s role for a shoot in Muse magazine this past summer. The editorial found its way to the desk of an agent at Ford Models, and Legler was signed to their male roster the very next day.
As for her future in the industry, Legler is optimistic. “I wish a long and slow career for myself,” she says of her new job. “For everyone.” And yes, you’ll be seeing her on the runway early next year ― Casey will walk in shows in both Paris and New York for the Autumn/Winter 2013 season. For my part, she’s a server at one of my favorite restaurants, where I have often marveled at her stunning, genderless good looks. I hope to continue to do so, except on magazine covers. [Time]