There’s that age-old story of how a supermodel gets “discovered” out living her life at the mall. An agent is struck by a once-in-a-lifetime beauty working the Zara checkout counter. Or maybe window shopping in Covent Garden, like Naomi Campbell. The agent approaches. Does she have an agent? No? Has she ever considered modeling? No? Is this creepy at all? Hopefully not in context. One life-changing chance encounter. One it’ll-probably-go-nowhere exchange of information and boom: runways around the world, magazine covers, Milan, Paris, name in lights.
Maty Drazek’s journey from Čáslav, Czech Republic to Paris Fashion Week was a little different. No heart-stopping moment of it’s-allhappening street casting, no restaurant sighting, just “My agent followed me on Instagram,” Drazek recalls, “Kind of a boring story.”
A little over a year ago, the now 19-year-old was just as intent on being in the world of fashion, but seemingly far outside the center of it. “A lot of people are surprised by what I do now. Because when I was younger, no one told me I was pretty at all,” they say. Drazek grew up reading about the work of fashion titans like Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld, creators known for redefining the idea of gendered style, and felt inspired; they intended to make their own mark as a fashion designer.
However, following their scouting via scrolling just over a year ago, Drazek’s rise has been astonishing. They have walked runways for brands like Miu Miu and JW Anderson, appeared in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, and been named Models.com’s “Men’s Breakout Star” of 2022.
As a nonbinary model, however, that title hits differently. Drazek is carving out space in an industry that is still learning how to celebrate and acknowledge androgyny in its people and not just its clothes. “I live in the Czech Republic, which is not a country that loves gay people and new things, so a lot of people didn’t get my style, the things I wanted to do, and I didn’t have much support from the people around me or my family,” Drazek adds. In other words, they were different. “I’m really glad that I wasn’t listening to them.”
That difference comes across in their personal aesthetic as well. “One day, I’ll be dressed like a homeless guy with all the baggy clothes in my closet. And the other, I’m wearing a lot of pearls, tiny black dresses, heels, purses.” Drazek is as non-conformist as what they say they represent: a “non-binary male breakout star.”
While the modeling industry as a whole learns to integrate the genderfuck of it all, Drazek is doing the same in their own life and career, finally in a space that allows them the freedom to do so. In embracing their difference, the fashion world has found itself a bright new star.
Photography Bryce Anderson
Fashion Xander Ang
Makeup Mariel Barrera
Hair Ward Stegerhoek (Home Agency)
Manicure Rita Remark (Bryan Bantry)
Set design Ava Villafañe
On-set producer Mara Weinstein
Digital technician Reece Nelson
Lighting director William Takahashi
Photo assistant Ryan Carter
Stylist assistants Marli Giedt, Natalie Cohen
Makeup assistant Jenn Green
Hair assistant Brian Casey
Location Shio Studio