Adelaide transgender model Gemma Cowling makes catwalk debut in Adelaide Fashion Week

Originally published by The Advertiser
Author: Anna Vlach
Picture: Mark Brake

GEMMA Cowling is getting off the couch to make her official catwalk debut as the first Australian-born transgender model.

Striking a pose in a pyjama trend outfit by local label Acler, the 19-year-old from Adelaide will be in the spotlight at Tuesday night’s Adelaide Fashion Festival campaign launch at SAHMRI.

Signed with South Australian agency Azalea, Gemma will be joined by 14 other models parading Acler’s spring summer collection at the invite-only event.

They will include leading Australian model Lily Nova, who stars in the AFF campaign imagery and has walked for Gucci overseas.

“It’s probably a safe bet I would have been sitting on the couch,” Gemma said of her usual Tuesday night plans.

“There’s definitely some nerves, but I’m excited regardless.”

Born a boy but identifying as a girl, Gemma shared her story exclusively withThe Advertiser this year to help others.

Being transgender was “still taboo or frowned upon by a lot of people”, she said.

However, since “coming out” in The Advertiser Gemma has received positive feedback.

“It’s been amazing … very encouraging,” she said.

Adelaide Fashion Festival creative director Chris Kontos said Gemma was chosen to appear at the launch by Acler designers Julia Ritorto and Kathryn Forth, stylist Vogue’s Phillippa Moroney and himself because she had “an edge”.

“She has an attitude in everything she does,” he said. “Gemma’s so strong and cool … she’s effortless.”