We are thrilled to introduce our Pride Week fashion film, Beyond Violet, featuring the beautiful transgender Brazilian model, Marcella Maia.
2017 has been a huge year for transgender women and men, however, there is still a massive lack of transgender representation in the industry. So, in celebration of Pride Week, we are releasing Beyond Violet with Marcella, whilst we speak to her about being a transgender model.
Marcella has recently come out as a fully transitioned transgender model. Marcella completed her transition at the age of 19, becoming the beautiful women she is today. She now appears on catwalks, in magazines and is signed with an agency. With the support of her boyfriend, friends and family, she has been able to openly speak out about being transgender for the first time.
In Beyond Violet, produced by Eloise Rudd, we are transported into a lucid dreamlike experience, contrasting conventional beauty to an ultraviolet sex appeal. We get to see Marcella as both the beautiful girl-next-door and the fiery seductress.
Hi, Marcella! We’re so excited to be chatting with you. Why don’t you introduce yourself?
I’m a 23-year-old Brazilian model and actress, with a lot of experience of work in photography, fashion, theatre, films and TV. Every day, I fully apply myself to use my creativity to always obtain innovative results and to grow as a professional and as a person. I speak three languages; Portuguese, Italian and English. I started travelling around the world at a very young age. I consider myself a nomad because I do not have a real home, but my home is the world, and I love it.
We think your story is so important. What made you want to share it?
This is a great question. I lived in the shadows for a few years after my sex change operation, afraid that people would not accept me as a woman, due to the prejudice and racism that still exists around us. I was scared about peoples’ reactions, but then I realised that I could not hide anymore. It was the stories and success of some other transgender women that helped to decide to share my story and feel free. I wanted to show to the world that I am, so over the years, I learned how to deal with my new dimension, and how to deal with people. Now I am happy I took that decision because every day I am stronger and more confident with who I am and what I do.
Tell us about where your bravery and courage stems from.
I’ve suffered a lot in my life because it took a long time to feel confident with myself mentally and physically. Day after day, I was able to grow an uncommon strength inside myself that gave me the courage to react to prejudice and to the stupidity of some superficial people. As a famous blues song goes: “you can’t judge a book looking at the cover”. I think people should scratch the cover and try to look at the soul of a person before judging. I’m a fighter and I always will be- I stand for my rights.
How crucial do you feel it is to share your story and your experiences?
I think it’s crucial for two reasons. First of all, sharing my story gives me the opportunity to walk tall towards my future, and now I don’t have to worry about what people think or say about me. Now I can stand here, proud of who I am and what I am doing. I don’t have to hide anymore, so sharing my story took a heavy load off my mind and my heart. Secondly, I hope I can help some other transgender people and give them the confidence to come out from the dark like I did.
What do you hope people will gain from you speaking up?
I hope that people will look at diversity with a different eye and a different angle, and start to understand we are all the same and we are all human beings. Each of us has a different personality, a different body and a different mind, so I hope that one day people could get over any kind of prejudice. I also hope that people like me will find the same strength I have and fight for a better world.
Even though people are far more accepting to the LGBT community, do you still feel there is a long way to come?
Yes, even if a lot of things have changed, it is still a long way to come, because we cannot change a culture that comes from a very ancient time in just 10 years. We have to proceed slowly, step by step. There will always be people who won’t change their minds. I mean, fifty years ago being gay was a big scandal, and now is almost a normality. Yet somehow we still have a bunch of people that hate gays or don’t think gays can have a place in our society. Look at racism- we had slaves until 60 years ago, and now we have not, but KKK still exists!
So far, your modelling career has been a huge success. Do you feel there is room for more transgender individuals to break into the industry?
Absolutely, yes! Lea.T and Andrej Pejic had big impacts on the fashion world when they came out with their histories. Their experiences in the industry were so important not only for me but for the whole movement, and they showed the world that we are here! It was a bright light for us; they broke the wall of indifference and ignorance and they made room for a lot of other people to join them.
Beyond Violet takes a look at two different sides of femininity. How do you feel it represents you?
I think it fits me in a perfect way. It shows my aggressive side and my softer side at the same time. I have a strong personality, but I can be also very sweet and fragile. I guess I have a double personality, like Jekyll and Hyde, but in a good way. Part of me is still an expression of my previous life as a man; the other part shows in full the femininity of my new life as a woman.
What were and are your coping mechanisms to dealing with people who refuse to understand who you are?
I think that if people refuse to open their eyes, I don’t really have any chance to deal with them. All I can do is I act as I am and, fortunately, sometimes people start to reconsider and see that they are totally wrong. I don’t have the necessity to deal with those who don’t want to accept the reality of today. I just think ‘poor them, they’ll always live in a fake world’.
In Beyond Violet you are the centre of attention and the sole focus of the film. How does it bolster your femininity and confidence knowing that?
Obviously, I love to be the centre of attention. After all the experiences I have gone through, the confidence as a woman with myself and my body is at its highest. I can now express my femininity at full. Knowing that somebody thought of me as a leading actress in this film makes me so proud. It’s a very strong incentive to do better and better in the future.
What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling with their own identity, be it in any form?
I would tell them to be themselves and believe in themselves! Act as they are because hypocrisy still exists- I see it everywhere; everyone has to deal with that daily, in whatever form it comes in. They should go their way and not worry about the stupidity of people that judge with no right to do so.
We’re so happy to see you doing so well. What are your hopes and goals for the future?
My hopes are to finally see a better world around me without prejudice and racism, and see more people happy. My goals are to carry on what I’m doing- to stand up for my rights and to be happy. Right now, I am focused on cinema. This year, I got an invitation to go back to Brazil and play an important role in a Brazilian movie. There is also a fashion campaign coming out soon and a few others things going on. I’m really happy, but to be honest very tired too! I’m reading and study a lot, and acting takes a lot of my time. I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me, but I’m working on it.
Hair and Make Up | Grace Gorman @wigsandmakeupwithgrace
Cinematography | Sam Taylor @samtaylorfilm
Assistant Camera | Jess Gamble
Gaffer | Ramzey Sabbagh @ramzeysabbagh
Spark | Peter Riches @peter.e.riches
Editor | Lewis Bullock @lewisjb9
Words and Illustrator | Lauren Noble @laurenknoble
Colourist | Billy Boyd Cape @boydcape