I had the opportunity to interview Casting Coin influencer and model, Eli Erlick. She is a transgender model based in New York City who is making a name for herself in the fashion industry. Eli is verified on Instagram and has large following which has given her a huge platform to speak on.
Eli is not just a well accomplished model; She is also a writer, speaker and organizer. Even more impressing, she is dedicated to furthering herself academically and is a Ph. D. candidate! She is well-versed, talented in such a variety of ways and is a true scholar.
Eli is a role model to so many individuals in the LGBTQ+ community and is paving the way for others to chase their dreams and never give up on the things they are passionate about.
Here is a look into our conversation:
Q: Tell me about yourself! What inspired you to pursue modeling? & what hobbies / activities do you enjoy?
A: “I live many different lives. I’m a writer, speaker, activist, and scholar. I took up modeling after years of experiencing preconceptions of what being transgender looks like. I’ve been openly trans since I was 8 years old and have had many stories I love to communicate through writing, photography, and public speaking. I want others to see the countless possibilities of transgender identity beyond the binary.”
“I’m currently a Ph. D. candidate studying politics, social movements, and transgender communities. Writing is obviously my go-to hobby! I’m a theory nerd and passionate about learning. I recently finished writing my first fiction novel as well – I have a soft spot for queer literature!”
Q: What has been your favorite shoot or campaign that you have worked for?
A: “Last year, I did a Maybelline campaign through Casting Coin. The shoot was with two other trans people, Aaryn Lang and Cyrus Golestan, which truly made a world of difference. Working with people in my community is a lovely experience and made the shoot a blast!”
Q: How are you breaking barriers as a transgender model in the fashion industry?
A: “There are innumerable issues trans people face in the fashion, modeling, and culture industries! As a gender-nonconforming person, I’m often met with assumptions and harassment over how I present myself. I’m often pigeonholed into hyper-feminine clothing because I’m a trans person assigned male at birth. While I usually do model women’s clothing, I like to switch it up and try new things.”
“The fashion industry still has many issues with transgender models to overcome. Companies have dropped me before for being trans. Some of my employers have received open letters complaining that I’m not a “real woman” because of my sex assigned at birth. There’s a long way to go.”
Q: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a model?
A: “Be true to yourself and don’t let the industry tell you how to look. Others will make presumptions about your body no matter who you are. You’ll find a world of potential if you have fun expressing yourself.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: “I moved to New York City a couple years ago and intend to stay here for as long as possible. I hope to be a professor with several published books and, importantly, at least 1 Corgi. I’m very passionate about educating young people and teaching critical thought. With the state of the world today, it’s more urgent than ever that we ask questions and don’t take statements at face value. Education for myself and others is a lifelong ambition.”
Q: What intrigues you about the possibilities of being on Casting Coin?
A: “Digital platforms make a huge difference in the lives of workers! It allows us to connect with industries that would otherwise be out of our reach. I’m originally from an extremely rural community so the internet was my only way of connecting with the outside world for years. I appreciate how easy it is to make new relationships with clients, employers, and bookings.”
Q: During the pandemic, have you taken time to learn any new skills?
A: “I’ve taken up photography! Being behind the camera has taught me a lot about being in front of It. I got my first professional DSLR a few months ago before setting up a home studio. I’m incredibly fortunate to have professional photographers like Norah Vasquez-Littleton to teach me along the way. Photography, like modeling, allows us to look at old concepts with a new lens. It’s my hope to use these skills together to educate and invigorate others.”
You can see some of Eli’s work on her profile here!
Eli has been featured in Teen Vogue, Glamour, the New York Times, and dozens of other publications. She has additionally modeled for Maybelline, Nike, American Eagle, Aéropostale, Netflix, and several other major brands.