Born with cerebral palsy, the 18-year-old model didn't give up hope and was successfully discovered by Elite Model Management which has represented the likes of Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum.
Aaron Philip is an inspiration for many people with disabilities. Instead of being disheartened by her condition Philip decided to go the extra mile which has now transformed her life. Now, she is now known as the first black, trans, disabled model to be signed by a leading agency, reports CNN. The young model was unfortunately born with cerebral palsy, however, she did not let that get in the way of her dreams. Breaking every stereotype the 18-year-old has now appeared on the cover of Paper magazine this week for its first seven covers celebration Pride.
me for @papermagazine 💕 #paperpride— aaron philip (@aaronphilipxo) June 24, 2019
my first major cover.
shot by my love Myles Loftin (@goldenpolaroid)
interviewed by my hero @NaomiCampbell ❤️
styled by Tiffani M. Williams
makeup by Raisa Flowers & Keyanna Banks
hair by Evanie Frausto
nails by Yuko Wada@ELITENYC 🦋 pic.twitter.com/ofNoFywxG0
Philip made history when she joined Elite Model Management, one of the major agencies in the United States, in September. Just at the age of 17, she started shooting editorials for several mags, the i-D magazine being one of them. This earned her the title of Teen Vogue's "21 Under 21. After undergoing a lot of struggle, the teen forged the opportunities she desired. Having modeled for brands like ASOS and H&M, it would not be wrong to say she has quite an experience in her field. With sheer determination, she did what she always dreamt of doing.
On Twitter this month, she expressed what being discovered by a renown agency that has represented the liked of Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum actually meant to her. Expressing her love for everyone she posted her pictures with pride. By choosing a person such as Philip, Elite Model Management has really opened up an array of opportunities in an industry that wasn't willing to launch someone like her.
She explained how hard she had to work since her junior year to get to the position where she is today. "I freelanced for a year and I was doing jobs by myself and trying to navigate a career on my own (while in my) junior year at high school," she informed CNN over a video call from her home situated in the Bronx. This did not come easy at all, because she constantly needed someone to take her to the set. "Sometimes I'd have to coordinate photo shoots myself, (or) with the people around me, and find people to assist me or help on set. It was a lot of back and forth," she added.
The Antigua-born model further voiced her opinion on the fact that mainstream fashion needs to pay more attention to people with disabilities. "There's still a great lack of visibility and attention towards people with disabilities in fashion," she said. "As of right now, I'm one of two physically disabled models in the entire industry, next to Jillian Mercado." In addition to that, she said, "The fashion industry has only known one type of body, and one type of marketable figure for so long. (But) now we're entering this time, and this climate, where all types of bodies want to be pushed forward and celebrated -- not only celebrated but be seen as desirable and marketable."
Encouraging her community to step up and help each other out she said, "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 also 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." Philip cannot help but credit her success to her social media presence where she has accumulated almost 120,000 followers combined!
This claim does seem right as she first marked her presence when her tweet from 2017 went viral. She claimed: honestly when i get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it's OVER for y'all! "I owe my success to Twitter -- I'd never not say that," she said. "Social media was my platform to put myself out there and let people know what my aspirations were. They took to it and boosted me up." Although she was recognized by hundreds of people she is aware that the industry is still prejudiced against the often marginalized group of people.
honestly when i get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it's OVER for y'all! by y'all i mean the WORLD! it's real inclusivity/diversity hours folks, get into it! pic.twitter.com/58VOSafAm6— aaron philip (@aaronphilipxo) November 24, 2017
"Because I happen to be black, trans and disabled, I'm sensationalized to the point where it's just like 'oh, wow, Aaron is such an enigma,' rather than 'Aaron is a regular girl who has dreams," she said explaining how things really work and how she would want it to be. Expressing how she would love to change the prevailing bias in the industry she said, "Maybe in the future, I'll be a casting agent who specializes in casting people of marginalized identities in high fashion." She also added, "I want diversity to be pushed forward, forward, forward, and I think maybe (that's how) I can do it." The model who has been greatly influenced by Naomi Campbell said, "I just want to do me, and do me unafraid." Further adding, "I want to have a good time all the time and continue keeping people on their toes, but most importantly, make myself happy."