HARI NEF /BY/ BEHIND THE BLINDS
EXCLUSIVE ITW by KIM PEERS & PORTRAIT by CHARLIE DE KEERSMAECKER
I know your birthday is 20 October 1992. Are there important moments when you felt reborn?
It's October 21st, actually! I've never felt reborn. I think of my life as a progression, and have never felt comfortable drawing hard lines between the present and the past.
At which stage in your life are you now?
I'm at the stage where the work begins.
What are your future projects? Do you have a certain goal?
Right now I'm focused on acting and modelling. I don't know what's next. My goals tend to change with what becomes available to me, so I try to keep an open mind.
What’s your perception of transgender?
"Transgender" is a word that represents so much more than any word should. It's an easy word that attempts to simplify the complex. There are as many ways to be "transgender" as there are transgender people. It's one word in one language. Cisgender is easy, because cisgender is male or female. Transgender is everything else!
What was your favourite moment so far?
I don't dwell.
Where would you take me on an evening? Or for a brunch?
We'd be in Manhattan, my favourite place on Earth. I'd probably take you to one of those little French restaurants down near Bowery for good wine and fresh food. For the evening, we'd go dancing after. For brunch, we'd walk in the park.
Who are your idols/hero’s? Who inspires you?
Women inspire me: Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Zackary Drucker, Jenny Boylan, Connie Fleming, Candis Cayne, Andreja Pejic, Kate Bornstein, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Gogo Graham, and Tschan Andrews.
As you are a writer I guess you like to read books. Do you prefer a certain writer? Style?
I do not consider myself as a writer. Maybe I just write. My favourite author is Virginia Woolf, but my favorite style is Greek drama-- or any Greek poetry.
Any advice you would like to give to young transgenders?
There's actually no such thing as "a transgender”, only transgender people (transgender is an adjective). The advice I would give to trans kids is to chill out. Relax. Your thoughts and feelings are valid, and they will manifest in their own time. If you rush to the finish line, it will be harder to learn from the process - and the process is long and difficult. Take your time and space.
What’s your motto?
What defines your identity? What do you think of labels?
I define my identity for myself. Labels are convenient tools for living in the world. I have chosen to be woman: that's a label I embrace because that label allows me to feel safe, understood, and embodied. Does that label tell the full story of who I am? No.
What makes you happy?
Progress, beauty, and abandon.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Hedi Slimane, Jonathan Anderson, Mike Eckhaus, Zoe Latta, Shayne Oliver, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquiére, Demna Gvesalia, Dries van Noten, Matthew Williams, Tyler Rose, Miuccia Prada, Chitose Abe, Karl Lagerfeld, Vejas Kruszewski, Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, Alessandro Michele, Raf Simons, and Christophe Lemaire.
What kind of music/bands do you like?
Lately, I've been listening to La Femme, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cat Power, Hole, Young Thug, Jamie XX, Miley Cyrus, Kendrick Lamar, Frankie Knuckles, Nico, Nicki Minaj, and Sérgio Mendes.
Who is/are the most important person(s) in your life?
My Mom, Robin Neff Clebnik is the most important! My agents Ivan Bart, Mina White, and Aaron Newbill at IMG are like parents, brothers, and sisters to me. Jill Soloway, the creator of Transparent, essentially gave me my acting career. These people have been important during the past few months; everyone and everything else seems to change so quickly. I'm working on building a relationship with myself. I'm just getting to know her.