Q&A with Aurora Mac
Q. Introduce yourself
A. My name is Rora Mac and I’ve been modelling for just under 18 months. I’m a transgender woman, I also have early onset Parkinson’s disease and I am 34 years old.
Q. How did you first get into modelling?
A. It’s actually kind of funny (laughing) I was on a dating app; I was on Ok Cupid and a photographer actually messaged me. He said “It’s gonna sound so weird and so creepy but I’ve never worked with a transgender person and I would love to get some more gender diversity in my portfolio!” He offered me a free photo shoot whereas usually he charges people rates. I was like I’ve never done this before; I’m not a model and I don’t really take many photos at all. And he said “It’s fine we will work through it” and he was so lovely. But I had actually dreamed of modelling since I’d been a child but never thought it would be a possibility for me; being born a boy and wanting to be a female model. And I think being a transgender person in the world at that point in time.
So we had this shoot and I absolutely loved it, it was so much more fun than I expected. Seeing the photos there were a couple of really good shots and I was like “Wow!” and he gave me some really good feedback. He said “for someone who’s never done a photoshoot before you did incredibly well!”
Which is really nice to hear but after also seeing some of the photos it kind of motivated me to want to get better. It lit a bit of a fire inside of me to want to then try to get better at this sort of thing. That was when I started to be a lot more active on social media and practice more and take it from there.
Q. What was the process like of being recruited by Zebedee Talent?
A. It was really interesting, I’m not sure how standard my experience would be compared to other models. I did my documentary episode for the inspire series with The Photo Studio Australia and they saw it! They spoke to Lauren when they told me to apply through their website based on my episode with The Photo Studio.
Because of what I did with The Photo Studio, that then led to me applying and reaching out and me being signed. Without my experience with The Photo Studio I wouldn’t be in this position now.
Q. What do you think the current visibility in the industry is for trans models?
A. I feel like it’s in a strange kind of space. There are transgender models in the industry, there have been for a little while in certain spaces not all spaces. I’ve definitely felt from my perspective that sometimes there’s tokenism. Or it’s something different, it’s exotic, it’s unusual. That’s kind of the tone.
I know a lot of trans people don’t like the term exotic and a lot of people of colour I’ve spoken to don’t like being seen as exotic or a rare treasure or something like that. I’ve seen and felt a shift in the last few years especially, there is more gender diversity, more people of colour, more people of different sizes, people with disabilities.
I think it’s getting better, but it obviously still has a way to go. I think growing up I felt like there wouldn’t be a place for me to live my dream as a model whereas now I feel like it’s not only possible but probable. Obviously, I am modelling but a further dream of doing everything that I wanted to do has been more probable than it has ever been.
Q. Have you worked with other agencies before? If so, what does Zebedee Talent do differently to other agencies?
A. I haven’t, up until very recently when I was signed with Zebedee, I did freelance stuff. I haven’t got any experience with other agencies; I’ve applied at a couple of agencies and not really had a call back or had much interaction. But from the experience I have had with Zebedee so far is that they are very understanding, good at communication and I feel very wanted which is such a nice feeling! I feel valued and wanted and feel-good working with them and being part of the team.
Q. Are there brands/companies you hope to model for one day?
A. Yeah, I’ve got a list of things that are my dreams! I would love to work for one of the biggest fashion houses like Givenchy or Gucci. One of my dreams is to be the first Australian Transgender women published in Playboy.
They have published I think 3 transgender women in Playboy and Zebedee had a musician, one of their models in the US be published very recently. So it’s a huge thing and I’m thinking it could be a possibility. I’d absolutely love to be in Vogue and I really wanna do a Fenty Rhianna show! They are my biggest goals for my modelling career to hit those things, my absolute pie in the sky dream goals is to hit those.
Q. Anything else to add?
A. Just extending a huge thank you to The Photo Studio Australia for giving me the opportunity in the first place to have a photoshoot and to help me get this documentary episode into the world which has then led to me starting my dream and being signed with a legitimate international modelling agency!
An enormous thank you from me!
You can learn more about or follow Rora’s journey through the links below:
All photographs taken by Hana at The Photo Studio Melbourne. You can also follow Zebedee Talent on Instagram @zebedeetalent
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