theGrio’s 100: Isis King, America’s first top trans supermodel

Isis King

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Isis King attends OUT Magazine and Buick’s celebration of The OUT100 on November 29, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for OUT Magazine)

Who is Isis King?

Isis King is a 27-year-old model and fashion designer. The Prince Georges County, Maryland native came out as gay in high school, but later revealed that she is transgender. She appeared in the MSNBC special Born in the Wrong Body, which documented the lives of transgender teens. King began the sex reassignment process in 2007.

In college at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, King took home the award for Best Women’s Evening Wear, and began runway modeling in New York after college. While living at the Ali Forney Transitional Living Program, King attended a photo shoot for the tenth cycle of America’s Next Top Model which focused on homeless youth, where she met ANTM photo director Jay Manuel. That led to Tyra Banks and her staff setting up an audition for cycle 11 of the popular show.

As a result of her appearance on the show, King was introduced to a renowned sex reassignment surgeon who helped her complete her transition to being anatomically female in 2009.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

King was the first transgender woman to compete on America’s Next Top Model. (She came in tenth.) And while she didn’t win, King served as an example to LGBT and transgender youth that they can find acceptance, and pursue their dreams fearlessly. King returned for an all-star cycle of ANTM in 2011, and placed seventeenth.

In 2012, King became the first transgender model to appear in American Apparel’s ad campaigns, and has also appeared in US Weekly and Seventeen magazine.

What’s next for Isis King?

King has become an icon and inspiration for LGBT youth and for transgender people of all ages. She continues to model and will participate in Fashion Week in February. See more of her photos from ANTM and beyond here.

Follow Isis King on Twitter at @MsIsisKing