LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Gender Equality At The Cannes Film Festival


Hari Nef Trailblazing Transgender Model, Actress and Writer

By Chloe Cornell


Hari Nef is the 25 year old star of the Emmy and Golden Globe winning TV show Transparent.  Faith Soloway, who writes for the Amazon-produced show and is the sister of the series’ creator Jill Soloway, was previously Nef’s summer camp counselor.  She invited Nef to be her date at a gala that Jill was being honored at and soon after, the women offered Nef a part on the second season of the show.  Nef’s experience on Transparent has been a dream come true due to the subject matter, the show environment, and of course its success.  She told The New York Times, “My experience with Transparent has completely spoiled me because it was the safest, most transpositive set ever. I didn’t have to worry about all the usual things — like when people have a vision of your transness that you’re not comfortable with. When they don’t know the correct gender pronouns by which to refer to you. When the clothes don’t fit because your body’s different.”

At 22, Hari Nef exploded on the scene becoming the first transgender model to sign an international modeling contract.  Days after graduating from Columbia University in May 2015 with a degree in theater, Nef signed with IMG Worldwide modeling agency, becoming the first openly transgender model for the powerhouse company who also represent seemingly every major model and actress including Bella and Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Gal Gadot, Chrissy Teigen, Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen and Kaia Gerber to name a few. Nef quickly achieved great success as a model, becoming Elle’s first transgender cover girl in the UK, gracing the covers of Interview and Wonderland, being photographed for top magazines including Vogue, V, CR Fashion Book, Candy and Dazed, and walking fashion shows for Gucci, Hood By Air and H&M.  

Nef is still evolving, but due to her sudden success and fame, her evolution is occuring in the public eye. Her platform has allowed her to inspire others and become a high profile voice for gender acceptance. In addition to being an active participant with National Center for Trans Equality, she participated in a “Women of the Hour” podcast with Lena Dunham, and visited the White House in conjunction with a “Champions of Change” tribute event for LGBTQ artists.

Her activism is an important part of her journey, as she explained in Vogue, “I could have hid in Boston and lived at home for three years, gone through my transition, taken voice lessons to make my voice more feminine, gotten gender reassignment surgery, and spent time to complete my transition before I made my debut in fashion or film, but I didn’t want to wait!” she said. “I wanted to be in the world.” Waiting would have required that she pause the rest of her life. “I’m not trying to self-aggrandize, but it’s more than a job to me,” she continued. “It is political.”  

It is important that Nef continues to speak out for the LGBTQ community, and shows like Transparent continue to raise awareness in society.  Despite other outspoken transgenders such as Caitlyn Jenner, it is still a harsh world for the Trans community.  As Nef revealed in The New York Times, “Transpeople are unemployed at twice the national average. In 32 states, you can be denied housing and employment on the basis of being trans; 41 percent of trans teens are going to attempt suicide before the age of 18. It’s so hard for many of these girls. I want to say ‘us.’ But how can I even say us when I’m so lucky and so privileged in the grand scheme of things?”



Cara Delevingne Top Model, Actress, and Singer

By Chloe Cornell


Cara Delevingne is the 25 year old top model, actress, and singer who is breaking barriers with her refusal to identify her sexuality to the public eye. Nevertheless, she is currently rumored to be dating Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson.

Delevingne became a representative for Girl Up, the United Nations adolescent girl campaign. Girl Up is a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates raising ideas and funds in aim of engaging girls, who live in places where being a girl is condemned, to take action. She designed a T-shirt that helps spread the message of women’s empowerment and gives 50% of his profits to the Girl Up organization.

Cara Delevingne also made a four part mini documentary series with Puma entitled “Do You”. The mini documentary series celebrates young women’s stories of empowerment such as overcoming bullying and illiteracy. Delevingne travels to Uganda, Canada, and the U.S. during the mini series to meet with and highlight the stories of women refugees, spoken-word poets, martial arts teachers, and more.

Episode three, filmed by Gillian Laub (this issue’s 5 questions interviewee) shows Delevingne getting self defense training from Dr. Ryhanna Dawood, a woman who wears a hijab and teaches self-defense to women around the world under her company Martial Smarts. To accompany the series, Puma and Cara designed two pairs of “Do You” basket heart laces. The laces’ profits are going towards the UNHCR (United Nations High Community for Refugees) and are available on the puma website.



Women In Hollywood Speak Out For Gender Equality At Cannes

By Chloe Cornell


Harvey Weinstein was a notable absence at the Cannes Film Festival this year and fittingly gender equality was a major theme throughout the festival.  Cate Blanchett, president of the Cannes Film Festival jury, participated with 81 other women in a protest on the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals theater to promote gender equality in the movie industry.  Other participants included Salma Hayek, Kristen Stewart, Jane Fonda and Marion Cotillard.  The 82 women engaged in the demonstration represented the number of films by women that have been entered into the Cannes Film festival since it began in 1946.  Compared to the 1,866 male directed films, women are right to draw attention to this glaring imbalance. In a statement, Blanchett said, “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise.”

Salma Hayek also spoke at a conference during the festival, telling male actors that they should take a pay cut to help support gender equality in Hollywood. “The actors have to say: ‘OK, time’s up.  I had a good run, but now it’s also time to be generous with the actresses in the films,’” Hayek said. “We all have to be part of the adjustment. That’s one idea. I’m going to be hated for it. I hope I can get a job after this!”

According to The Representation Project, “In 2017, only 18 percent of all writers, directors, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top films were women.”  The organization is encouraging women to help create change by going to see movies written, directed or produced by women this summer to show Hollywood that women should be equally represented in Hollywood. Check out this issue’s Recommendations section to see how you can support this movement.


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