Stephania Van Cluysen, a transgender female from Belgium, has recently shunned haters and championed diversity by starring in Scantilly by Curvy Kate’s latest and most inclusive campaign. #TheNewSexy introduces 8 powerful female role models, including an Alopecia Sufferer, an amputee and a recovered anorexic, all of whom want to show that they are confident and deserve to feel sexy in lingerie.

Stephania or ‘Effie’, 21, who was born a male, but now lives her life as a female after undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2015, took part in the lingerie brand’s boudoir photo shoot to help redefine how society views the word ‘sexy’. Scantilly by Curvy Kate, who since launch have never employed a professional model, instead choosing to celebrate their customers, looked to social media to find the eclectic mix of role models to wear the new boudoir collection.

Effie who described growing up in Belgium as ‘difficult’ says she felt like a female from her very first memory. Her mother who fully supported her decision even visited the doctor when ‘Jordie’, as Effie was formally known, was only 3 years old saying, “My son is a girl”. Effie who received years of abuse and ridicule from the public and school peers wants to show that she is a beautiful woman who deserves to be celebrated.

Stephania states, “Not everyone should look the same and if they did there wouldn’t be a ‘sexy’. We need a mix of people! Everybody has the right to feel ok with themselves and if the media show a wide range of women - different races, heights, sizes, ages and abilities then the girls looking at the models in the magazines and wishing to be them, will feel way more at ease with who they are. If they see someone who looks like them, they may be less likely to want to change.

“I’m Transgender and because of this, I worried whether people would accept me or not, but really the most important person to accept me was myself – And I’m so glad that I did.” She continued.

In recent years the modelling and fashion industries have been under scrutiny due to the lack of diversity promoted in advertisements. A report by ‘The Fashion Spot’ stated that out of 422 models involved in the largest Spring Summer 2016 campaigns only 21.8% were of colour, 1.4% were above a size 12 and not one transgender model was used. Scantilly hopes that their continued use of customer role models will hail a new era for diversity within the fashion industry.

Head of PR and Marketing, Hannah Isichei follows, “It’s important for us as a brand to speak to as many women as possible through our campaigns. We know our customers don’t all look the same so why should our models? Why should boudoir lingerie just be reserved for a handful of society? We want women to look at our products and see them on a body they can relate to. Scantilly lingerie is for every woman and everybody, so it’s important that our models reflect this attitude.’


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