Munroe Bergdorf has spent the majority of her life fighting for what she feels on the inside to reflect how she looks on the outside. As a Black trans activist, author, podcaster and model, she has used her voice to question what really makes a woman and to ardently defend LGBTQ+ rights.

She began modelling in her twenties, first for couturier Ziad Ghanem and later for famed photographers Nick Knight and Rankin. In 2016, she landed her biggest gig yet, a Uniqlo campaign, making history as the brand’s first trans model. While it hasn’t always been easy to lead a conversation that the world might not have been ready for, Munroe has never given up. She has always remained uncompromisingly herself and has never stopped amplifying marginalised voices.

Today, she is a UN Women UK Changemaker and is working on a book, Transitioning, a galvanising manifesto on gender. Her podcast, The Way We Are, celebrates high-profile names, from Ellie Goulding to Olly Alexander, who have turned “trauma into triumph”. Her irrepressibly upbeat new MTV series, Queerpiphany, sees her interview LGBTQ+ celebrities about the pop culture moments that shaped their queer identities. As she says herself, “Joy is a radical statement, it’s a form of resistance, but it’s also a fact and we need to start focusing on the facts.”

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Woman in workwear clothing

We sat down with Munroe to discuss her journey so far and how she manages to remain resilient and positive in the face of setbacks. We also talked about glamour and style, and the role it plays in her life. Can comfort ever be chic and what does beauty really look like? “The world is exciting because we’re all so different,” she says. “I like to use fashion and beauty as a way of thinking about that because, ultimately, we all dress, we all express ourselves. We all have a look and aesthetic that we feel comfortable with. It’s all about just getting people to challenge themselves and to think a little deeper than what the visual is.”

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