ELLE SLOVENIJA interviews Elliott Sailors

written by Katja golob

February, 2016

Photo by Robin Black, Beauty is Boring

Interview in English

ELLE: What do you think about androgynous fashion, is this the future of fashion (although it appeared in 80’s already)?

ELLIOTT: I don’t really know what androgynous fashion even is. I mean, Coco Chanel was making trousers for women some 80 years ago. In the 1930’s many thought that women wearing pants was masculine and unnatural. Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn were frequently seen in suits and pants, but it was still controversial at the time. Vogue first picturing women in slacks in 1939 was a big deal. Today we wouldn’t call pants androgynous but you could say they were then. YSL made Le Smoking jacket for women in 1966 but it wasn’t fully embraced until Helmut Newton put it in French Vogue in 1975, with a blouse that we would now call feminine but wasn’t seen that way at the time.
Looking to the future, I think more fashion items will indeed become gender neutral, but it’s also the beauty of fashion to maintain the feminine and masculine options as well. I love the blurring of the gender line, as we are seeing at Gucci by Alessandro Michele, and I also appreciate seeing the full spectrum of gender presentation at the same time.

ELLE: How do you feel posing as a male, I mean you have to know how to pose like a man- did you practice, watched how the guys do it or just went with the flow?

ELLIOTT: It was more like years ago I had to learn to pose in a feminine way, though by now it’s completely natural. Modeling menswear I personally find easier - like hanging out. Of course it took a little unlearning and relearning. But for me I feel it came more naturally.

ELLE: Not having a more girly face is not always a compliment, how was it to you when you heard it before you became a male model?

ELLIOTT: I don’t remember anyone ever telling me I didn’t have a girly face or even saying I did have a masculine face. In fact, I have been turned down from jobs because I was told I was too pretty. It’s funny how that happens in fashion - there are always fazes the industry goes through, just as we all do. The same thing is seen in different ways as the world around that thing changes.

ELLE: Do you have any regrets about your fashion choice?

ELLIOTT: I have no regrets. It is amazing how much the world has changed its views on gender in the little more than three years since I cut my hair. I am very grateful for the impact my choice made.

ELLE: Do you only model for men?

ELLIOTT: I model both womenswear and menswear. The only thing that has perhaps been a bit frustrating is all the people who no longer acknowledge or allow space for my femininity. Androgyny is the presence of both feminine and masculine attributes simultaneously. My intention was to be able to do both menswear and womenswear, to embrace gender neutrality and fluidity.

ELLE: How did your husband, friends and family accept your decision?

ELLIOTT: My husband, Adam Santos-Coy, has always been a huge support to me. He loved my haircut as much as I did, but even more he loves me for me. His feelings for me have nothing to do with my hair. My mom didn’t love my haircut, but she loves me just the same. I find it so odd when people ask about others accepting my choice. My friends and family accept me for who I am and hair has no bearing on that.
Since that time I have met my girlfriend, Olimpia Valli Fassi and my husband and I are getting a divorce. Through everything Adam, Olimpia and all my friends and family have been a tremendous support to me. Not everyone agrees with all my choices, but everyone accepts me and loves me.

ELLE: We had a referendum on Sunday about equal rights before the law for hetero and homosexual and it failed. strongly. what do you think about a society like that?

ELLIOTT: First of all, I would like to be clear that gender and sexuality are not the same thing. The clothes people wear does not define their gender and should not be an issue - as it was once an issue that women wanted the freedom of wearing pants. The clothes people wear (or the way they cut their hair) does not define their sexuality either.
That being said, equal rights are of equal importance to all human beings- regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, or cultural background.
I have identified as bisexual since 2002 and I am tremendously grateful to live in a society where I am free to live in accordance to who I am, but it is only since 2015 that same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples has been allowed here in the United States nationwide.
I am sad that there is still so much of the world that does not have full freedom of self-expression. I am proud of those in Slovenia who showed up in favor of human rights, especially in a society with so little support.