Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Interview with Dusty Rose Smith


Monika: Today I have the pleasure of talking to Dusty Rose Smith, an American fashion model, and makeup artist. In 2020, Dusty took part in the first-ever Worldwide Transgender Model Search, organized by Slay Model Management, one of the world’s first agencies to exclusively focus on transgender models. Since then she has been modeling for this agency. Hello Dusty!
Dusty: Hello Monika!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Dusty: I would like to say that I am a very real and fun person to be around. I have a dark and sick sense of humor and a love for animals and fashion! My dream in life is to win an Oscar for acting!
Monika: You describe yourself as "a good girl with bad habits". What are these bad habits? I am sure it is not sweets... :) You are ultra-slim.
Dusty: I have a lot of bad habits lol, definitely smoking is probably my worst. I love Marlboro Reds and weed all day every day! Also, I love getting into trouble and finding excitement and adventure.
Monika: How did you start modeling?
Dusty: I began modeling professionally when I lived in New York in 2016-2017. Through photo shoots and walking in NYFW 2017, I somehow met my current agent now at Slay Models. He must have seen something I had done because he followed me and then I immediately messaged him about what I had to do to be able to work with him! I had seen him on the show Strut when I was in high school so I had already wanted to work with him. And from then on we’ve been doing some fun things together!
Monika: There must be many transgirls dreaming of becoming fashion models. I am too old for this but I know many girls that would be great models but they will never try being a model because of their innate feeling that they are not perfect beauties. Did you have the same feeling?
Dusty: I’ve never felt perfect in my life but I’ve always known I could be a model. It’s all about your attitude and it’s not actually about being the most physically beautiful! Being a model is a job and it has to be something you are really passionate about!

"I’ve never felt perfect in my life but
I’ve always known I could be a model."

Monika: Do you remember your first time on the catwalk? Did you come out before it?
Dusty: I transitioned about 3 years before I walked into NYFW for the first time. I remember being at the Brooklyn Museum and I was so nervous because my runway walk was bad and I was wearing a brand new pair of heels that cut open my feet after practicing in them all day! When I walked for the show I was almost limping in the videos I saw. 😂
Monika: How did you get on with cisgender models?
Dusty: I have had mixed experiences with cisgender models but I’m usually more comfortable in an LGBTQ+ environment where I know I’m accepted and welcome.
Monika: What is the attitude of the fashion industry towards transgender women? Looking at the number of successful transgender models, we might say that it is very inclusive. Is it true or it is just the tip of the iceberg?
Dusty: The model industry has a long way to go when it comes to using trans models. And it’s not about using trans models to check off a box but using models of all different shapes, colors, sizes, and sexuality to represent how beauty isn’t just one thing.
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Dusty: The hardest thing about coming out for me was the people that I did lose in my life. I didn’t lose very many and I gained even more people afterwards, but the people I did lose were surprising, to say the least. But I’ve learned I can live without anyone in my life so I don’t depend on keeping everyone in my life anymore.

"It’s all about looking in the mirror and liking
what you see, what other people think of your
looks should never cross your mind."

Monika: Was your family surprised by your transition?
Dusty: My family was not surprised by my transition, if anything they were just a little confused about what takes place during a transition from male to female. But they (mom and dad) supported me through everything.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Dusty: I am very satisfied with the hormones! I was lucky enough to start at 18 so they did the job very well but it took a few years to notice a difference.
Monika: We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Dusty: It’s all about looking in the mirror and liking what you see, what other people think of your looks should never cross your mind, especially when making the decision of surgery.
Monika: Do you remember the first time you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person?
Dusty: The first transgender person I remember seeing was Gigi Gorgeous on YouTube and she taught me what transgender was and helped me through my early transition. I’ve often said this but I wouldn’t have been able to transition without the help of Gigi and I hope to meet her one day.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Dusty: I think the present situation is not ideal. We have many anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills trying to be passed currently as well as hate crimes against trans women and trans women of color specifically happen on a daily basis.

"The model industry has a long way to go
when it comes to using trans models."

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Dusty: I love fashion. I love to go for tight tops, cool pants, or a cute dress. I like to dress very grunge and edgy but still trying to follow the fashion trends you'll see in Vogue. My friend described my style as Emo Vogue and I thought that was a great way to describe it. And I love wearing the colors red and black the most.
Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Dusty: I am a certified makeup artist. I studied makeup in NYC at the makeup forever academy in 2016 so I definitely experiment with my makeup and I always try things I see in Vogue or on current TV shows.
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Dusty: I love being complimented on my looks when I feel good but when I feel bad not so much so it just depends on the day.
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Dusty: Yes my first job interview as a woman was at a hair salon in NYC and it went really well. It was owned by a wonderful Russian woman who became a second mom to me while I lived there.
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Dusty: I would advise them to find a hobby they really enjoy doing and find a way to make money doing it, and just be extremely confident in who you are as a person don't let the public scare you.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ+ community?
Dusty: Yes, I am. It's very important to me to be surrounded by people of the LGBTQ+ community.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Dusty: Love is extremely important to me and it's something I crave so much. I am very protective and guarded when it comes to love though because I'm terrified of having my heart broken again.

"Love is extremely important to me and
it's something I crave so much."

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Dusty: Yes, I have thought about it and one day I will but I feel like I’m still living the best parts that haven’t been written yet.
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Dusty: My next step is moving back to Los Angeles to do modeling full time. In 5 years I see myself working as a well-known model and walking for designers.
Monika: Fingers crossed! What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Dusty: Just do it. You’ll be happier!
Monika: My pen friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Dusty: I 100% agree.
Monika: Dusty, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Dusty: Thank you so very much!

All the photos: courtesy of Dusty Rose Smith.
© 2022 - Monika Kowalska

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