Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Interview with Elle Bradford

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Elle Bradford, an inspirational young model from the USA, fashionista, and video blogger that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Elle!
Elle: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Elle: Well, I am a young trans woman living in New York City pursuing a career in fashion. I live with my boyfriend of seven years and our son (d0g) Isaac. Life is good.
Monika: I am a big fan of your vlog. Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Elle: I felt that the time was right. I have been stealth for a few years now and never have I been as compelled to share my story as in this moment in time. There is an incredible amount of support for trans people in the world right now and I thought in sharing my story I could present another “version” of trans to the general public. In order to teach them that we are all different, just like everyone else.

Courtesy of Elle Bradford via Instagram.

Monika: You are very open about yourself, focusing on many intimate issues, including your breast augmentation …
Elle: Well, I think I am equally as private. There are many aspects of my life and transition that I will keep private because privacy isn’t something that you should give up when entering a platform like YouTube.
That being said, I think it’s important to talk about the general issues that our community goes through. I know when I first started transitioning, YouTube was my go-to in order to learn information related to transition. Who better to hear it from than another person who is going through the exact same thing.
Monika: But what I admire your vlog most is your taste for fashion. Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends? 
Elle: I do love fashion, I must say! I have a very classic style. I don’t like hemlines above my knees, you wouldn’t catch me in a pair of jeans, and I believe it’s important to create balance. Never show too much.

Courtesy of Elle Bradford via Instagram.

I think my style during the Fall and Winter season is very “mysterious”. I love deep blues, blacks, and Bordeaux colors for these months. And as soon as Spring and Summer come around I love to bring out my most colorful structured Dolce & Gabbana print dresses.
Monika: I love your Dita Von Teese look. Do you have any other inspirations?
Elle: Dita has been a strong inspiration in my young adult life, definitely. I draw inspiration from a lot of things though. I love different photography and I am obsessed with the Dolce & Gabbana ad campaigns. There is something about summer in Sicily; that's just magical to me.
Monika: Your lipstick collection is impressive. Do you often experiment with your make-up?
Elle: I am not much of an adventurous when it comes to make-up I must say. I may try something different here and there but I tend to stick to what I believe works for me and I love.
Monika: With your talent, beauty, and intelligence, you would be a great actress. Have you ever thought about acting?
Elle: Well, thank you! I couldn’t see myself acting, to be honest. I just don’t have a fire for it, and I think that’s important. I am much more passionate about fashion.
Monika: Would you ever take part in a transgender beauty pageant? What is your view on such a pageant?
Elle: I don’t think I would. I am not passionate about beauty pageants therefore I am sure I wouldn’t be compelled to enter one. I am a strong believer in only doing things you are passionate about.

Courtesy of Elle Bradford via Instagram.

Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in American society?
Elle: I think there is a duplicity in emotions when I think about the present situation. In many ways, I am happy that there is now more recognition and acceptance. On the other hand, there is just so much more to work on still and such a long way to go. But slow and steady wins the race, no?
Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Elle: I started transitioning at 15, and to be honest, although I am sure the process was difficult, it didn’t feel difficult. Every step was a blessing and I was endlessly motivated and happy to be transitioning.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Elle: No, unfortunately.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Elle: Perhaps it was accepting it and coming to terms with it myself.
Monika: What do you think about transgender news stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers, or books so far?
Elle: I think it’s great. I think there needs to be more!

Courtesy of Elle Bradford via Instagram.

Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?
Elle: I believe so, I think for a long time now the T-word has been almost forgotten but we are now coming to light and opening the eyes of the rest of the members of the LGBT group.
I think the love and acceptance within our group have definitely grown over the last few years.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Elle: To me, love is everything. I could have everything but if I don’t have love, I don’t have anything.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Elle: I am currently working on some exciting things for my channel actually! And I recently signed to a talent agency, so there is a lot to come.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Elle: I would tell them to find things about themselves that they love, even when it might seem impossible. If you look at yourself long enough, you’ll find many things about yourself that you love.
And remember that transitioning isn’t an easy road but it’s not impossible either. You can find happiness in this life, I promise.
Monika: Elle, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Elle Bradford.
© 2015 - Monika Kowalska

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