Teddy Quinlivan went from Instagram star to instant runway model after getting discovered by Louis Vuitton's creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere. But her decision last year to reveal her transgender identity catapulted her to the top, clearing space for much-needed new voices and perspectives in the modeling industry and raising even more awareness for the LGBT community, making her one of our picks for the Class of 2018. Read on as Teddy answers our questions about success, hardships, and the issues that she cares about.
What's the best advice you've ever received and why?
Just to pay attention to everything you see. I see my time as a model as an amazing educational experience, and I want to learn as much as I can.
What social/political issues or causes resonate with you most, and why?
There is so much that resonates with me politically: climate change, the new tax plan, Daca and the dreamers, and of course, LGBTQ Rights. All of these policies will affect my future and the future of the country, and that's why it's so important to be aware of them.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was coming out as transgender, I overcame that challenge with the help and support of my amazing friends and representation.
How did you get your start?
I had been modeling since high school, but I didn't get my big break till I was noticed by Nicolas Ghesquiere and he made me an exclusive for Louis Vuitton!
How do you define success for yourself? Is it different than happiness?
Success is hard for me to define because every time I achieve a goal, I set the bar even higher. Success makes me happy but it's not the only thing that brings me joy.
When and where do you feel most creative?
Creativity strikes me anywhere. I'm inspired by so many things that new ideas can be triggered by a setting, a smell, a mood, an emotion, etc.
Who is your dream collaborator, in any field (music, art, fashion, etc.) and what kind of project would you love to do with this person?
If I could collaborate with anyone it would probably be Leonardo da Vinci. Despite him being dead for centuries I absolutely loved the way he saw the world and his interpretation of humanity. I would love to work on a project that changed the world with him the medium of that project I wouldn't be able to tell you haha.
Where do you want to be professionally in 5 years? In 10 years?
I would love to have a more creative position in fashion in the future. Either as a creative director or consultant, and even further down the line I'd love to be involved in politics and help to make the world a better place!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job(s)?
I get to work with the people and taste makers who've inspired me and made me dream since I was a child. It's the greatest honor and privilege to work with your idols.