Aaron Philip, the first black, transgender and disabled model to sign for a major agency, has achieved another trailblazing feat: her first magazine cover.
Philip, who was born with cerebral palsy, is on the cover of Paper magazine for the first of their seven covers this week honoring Pride. The 18-year-old made history when she joined the renowned Elite Model Management in September 2018.
Philip credits much of her success to her presence on social media, where she has a combined following of 66,000 on Twitter and Instagram. Her rise to fame is often traced to a viral 2017 tweet in which she declared: “honestly when i get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it’s OVER for y’all!”
Philip is an unprecedented force in mainstream fashion.
Although she consistently rejects the activist label (“i’m not an activist,” she tweeted in December, “i just give a f*** lol.”), the Antigua-born model is nonetheless vocal about her high expectations for the industry.
“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of anyone who is marginalized to amplify their voice when there are so many voices that can amplify (it for) them,” she added. “But it’s just the way of getting to where you need to be. So I’ll do it. And hopefully I’ll do it so that other girls in my position don’t have to — they can just live and do their jobs.”
CNN reached out to Paper Magazine and Aaron Philip for comment but has not received a response.
With reporting by Oscar Holland.