By all accounts, 17-year-old Casil McArthur had been enjoying a perfectly successful modeling career up until last year, shooting editorials and walking runways everywhere from Singapore to Los Angeles to Toronto since age 10.
For McArthur, though, it was a different story: He’d been struggling with gender dysphoria for years, which came to a head two years ago after meeting with a spread of larger agencies to sign with in New York. “You know, my model’s name back then was Dani Rose,” McArthur said. “And I just couldn’t model as a girl anymore.”
Back home in Estes Park, Colorado, McArthur took time off to begin transitioning, though he didn’t stay away from work for long. Shortly after coming out to his friends and family, he laid it all out to his agents: “If [a girl]’s what they wanted me to be me, I wasn’t going to work for them, because I’m a man who wants to be a male model,” McArthur recalled.
Immediately accepting, they helped him sign with Soul Artist Management, a New York agency known for its hunks, and soon, McArthur was back in New York, this time much more comfortable, and hitting it out of the ballpark. The day he flew in, he went on a go-see with the photographer Collier Schorr, which led to a two-hour conversation and the start of a photo series that ended up stretching on for months. From there, he booked apresentation with Calvin Klein, plus shoots with other big names like Craig McDean. Then, he landed the big one, a 16-page spread in W‘s September issue shot by none other than Steven Meisel, a nonpareil spotter of talent who booked McArthur as a six-month exclusive.
“It’s been pretty fun since [December],” McArthur said with a grin.
McArthur was speaking recently about his burgeoning success when he became reflective. “But I have to relearn the business,” he continued. “It’s not difficult, but guys pose differently, and they have to do different things.” That’s true off-camera, too: “I have to learn how to give handshakes now,” he said – something that struck him in particular on his first visit to Soul’s offices, shortly after he’d started taking testosterone. He couldn’t help but feel he “didn’t compare” to the more muscular types covering the agency’s walls. “It was really difficult, but at the same time I was so happy to be out there and modeling as a male.”
Now, it seems, those fears are long gone: “My goal is to one day become a supermodel,” he said. “And I don’t see how that can’t possibly happen. I think I have all of the tools to help ensure I have a long career.”
Though he’s been repeatedly warned those are lofty goals – not because of his gender identity, but simply because male models have a shorter lifespan than females and few if any graduate to supermodel status – McArthur has one other ambition: he hopes to be a role model for trans teens, especially those transitioning from male to female.
Continue to read the whole interview HERE.