Gender bending is nothing new for the fashion industry—just look at Andrej Pejic, the gorgeous male model who FHM named the 98th sexiest woman and who has seen his fair share of both men's and women's runways. But there's something different about Casey Legler, a former Olympic swimmer and the first woman to be signed to Ford's male division.
Whereas Andrej Pejic owes his fame and success, at least in part, to his ambiguity, often refusing to answer questions about his sexuality and his own view of his gender, Casey welcomes the conversation. In an interview with The Observer, Casey talks candidly about gender: "We have very strict ways in which we identify ourselves as men or women and I think that those can sometimes be limiting. Seeing me on the men's board … speaks to a notion of freedom. There's something really bold about that."
There's also nothing ambiguous about her first campaign for British street wear line All Saints (see below). She may be a woman, but her work is meant to be seen as man, and to the casual observer—any guy shopping for clothes—it might not even garner a second take. Casey takes the "off" element that often dominates the conversation around gender-bending modeling and plays it straight (at least for this campaign), which in a way, focuses and normalizes the conversation around gender as a performance, albeit sometimes a convincing one. Instead of being a woman in man's clothing or making the viewer question what they're even looking at, she has the ability to transform—a power that could mean big things for her career and open up doors for different types of beauty.