My first time meeting Arisce Wanzer she was hosting the reunion episode of my reality web series What’s The Function (season 2). She had this amazing look and effervescent personality. She was mysterious, intriguing, and unpredictable. Today Arisce is a rising trans model and advocate with quite the tongue. This girls open letter on theblot.com to socialite Kendall Jenner made waves and landed her press on Access Hollywood, Complex TV, philly.com, and the UKDaily. Aside from the controversy she has made waves as one of the world’s top 10 trans models appearing in Vogue Germany. Newly signed to the first trans modeling agency you can be sure to see this intelligent model taking the world by storm.
R|A: Arisce when did you first start modeling, and how hard did you find it to be a trans model?
A|W: I first started modeling as a male when I was 17 in D.C. It's been a long and interesting journey, but now I'm who you see before you today. Haha! And I think modeling is hard for everyone trying to make their way in this industry. No two struggles are alike, but luckily I've got the wherewithal to handle my own.
R|A: You have a way with words, what was your major in college? I’ve read your open letter to Kendall Jenner (and I’m glad someone said something).
A|W: Thank you VERY much! I do have to say that that was probably my biggest takeaway from that whole debacle: it was proof that I was a great writer! Haha! I actually majored in fashion marketing, I never saw myself as much of a journalist before, I felt more like a stylist or a personal shopper. Weird right? Now I write for OriginalPlumbing.com, TheBlot.com, and ScenariosUSA.Org; all by accident.
R|A: What’s a huge misconception people may have about trans modeling?
A|W: Unfortunately, it's the same misconception that people have about trans people in general; that we are here to turn everything you know upside down or cause a stir. We aren't a gimmick or anything to poke fun at or be afraid of, we're here to WORK. We have dreams and goals and want to be happy and accepted just like any regular person.
R|A: What lessons/advice do you wish someone would have given you upon entering the modeling industry?
A|W: Quit! Stop! Don't do it! Haha! But seriously, this is a brutal industry that keeps you in real world situations constantly. You will be told to lose weight, that you're not any good, that you'll never be a model. This job is NOT for the faint of heart or emotionally sensitive, your feelings will get hurt. You need a very thick skin to make it and a confidence that borders arrogance.
R|A: What’s a good day job to have when working to become a model?
A|W: If you aren't a full time model, I'd say to take a job with flexible hours and a cool boss that doesn't mind you taking time off to go to castings and test shoots. In my personal experience, Mom and pop shops are the best for a life full of castings. I worked at a vintage/consignment store (Fly Boutique) for years while modeling in Miami.
R|A: What advice can you give aspiring models?
A|W: Don't take the constant criticisms too seriously, make sure you get to know and love your look before allowing others to berate it.
R|A: Tell us about the new modeling agency you’re signed with? How did that come about?
A|W: That's a very long story and a whole new interview in itself! Forgive me for skipping this question. Haha!
R|A: In the industry I can’t stress enough having a great support system, who is your support system?
A|W: My mom is my biggest fan and supporter, always has been. My family has always been my safety net in a world that hasn't always been so fair to my trans identity. I always feel safe at home with them.
R|A: In your open letter you gave some interesting details about the real struggles of new models. Can you elaborate on living situations and the diets imposed upon models?
A|W: Again, that's a full interview of tea spilling all on its own. I'm more than happy to disclose the horrors of the industry, but I can't keep it down to a three sentence answer.
R|A: What most important piece of advice would you say have helped you in life?
A|W: Hmmm...that's a tough one. I'll tell you something I came up with that always helps me back up: Don't listen or take advice from anybody you don't want to be. If they don't have your dream life or situation, than they don't know what the hell they're talking about when they're criticizing or doling out advice about what you're doing. They're just noise, they're not experts, don't listen to them. That's it.