She is the newest young face on the block- breaking every barrier, shattering every class ceiling, and proving every doubter wrong. Meet Aaron.
Photos courtesy of Jasmine Weber
Jenna: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Aaron: My name is Aaron Philip! I live in the Bronx, NY, but I was born on the small island of Antigua & Barbuda. I’m a 16 year old aspiring model, social rights advocate and creative.
JE: When did you know that modeling was something that you wanted to pursue?
AP: My modeling pursuits were explored within the seeking of proper representation for those like me in the art and fashion world, who are black, trans and/or disabled.
JE: Do you think that where you come form & your culture has influenced your aspirations, and how you approach them?
AP: My culture has definitely influenced me to be strong and genuine within everything I do- those are two key Antiguan values that I hold close to my heart being that I want to stay true to myself and keep it real with everyone as I continue to grow as an artist, advocate and model.
JE: As someone who is a teenage, gender fluid, differently-abled person of color, how does your life differ on a daily basis in ways that people wouldn’t necessarily expect? From little things to big things?
AP: As a young, black, physically disabled non-binary femme, I know I have to work harder and prove myself to people with that much more emphasis and focus when I do something. There is almost no room for failure- it’s all about hard work, knowing who you are, confidence and warmth.
JE: Who/what has been your greatest influence in your craft?
AP: I have many influences and reasons that have driven me to be so in love with my aspirations. I’d like to start off first with acknowledging my talented and brave mother, Lydia Philip. She can do literally anything she puts her mind to and by that I mean she’ll be watching YouTube diy craft videos one second, and the next you’d see these gorgeously intricate little trinkets all over the place that she makes all on her own. She is dedicated to whatever she wants to do, and that’s something I resonate with heavily in my life right now. Duckie Thot, Jazzelle Zanaughtti, Hunter Schafer, Gabrielle Richardson and Salem Mitchell are all so inspiring to me and I’m more than honored to call 3 of these outstanding women my mutuals. They’re so special to me as I feel as if each of them are coming into their own and reinventing/re-evaluating the typical beauty standards within fashion. That is just so beautiful!
JE: Besides modeling, what other mediums/fields do you enjoy working in? Why?
AP: Besides modeling, photography, digital art and social rights advocacy has always been a huge part of my life. With everything I do, the “disability” factor always comes into play with these interests, for the better or worse. There’s a real intersection between my physical identity and my social identity. My advocacy always ties into what I do. When I was younger I wrote a memoir and managed a blog on Tumblr called Aaronverse detailing my day to day experience as someone with a physical disability. I’ve also had the honor of being in several panel discussions throughout my life discussing physical barriers within large public spaces and dismantling ableism in all of its forms. Everything I do is in hopes of seizing the chance to amplify the voice of my communities with the platforms I’m receiving.
JE: Again, as teenagers in general, we tend to face a lot of undermining and misinterpretation from older generations. What is one thing you wish more people would understand about “millennials” as a whole?
AP: Millennials are the future. Our values are becoming more inclusive and accessible to all who are deserving of it. Get with the program, boo!
JE: If you could be mentored by one person, and spend the day with the, who would it be, why & what would you like to do?
AP: If I could be mentored and spend the day with one person, it would have to be Rihanna, or at least one of the Fenty girls! We’re both on the same creative, pisces, west Indian baddie energy! Rih takes so many risks and is so in touch with her creativity and devotion to diversity. I think we would really get along!
JE: What are some goals you have set for the future, pertaining to what you want to do in this world as well as some personal goals?
AP: My goal for the future is to genuinely become a successful supermodel, and prominent social rights advocate. I just hope to be the best I can be and for people to really see it in me. I want to use my status as a famous supermodel to simultaneously involve and intersect my community into the world of fashion and art because we deserve to be recognized.
JE: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
AP: In 10 years I really hope to be an icon, like Naomi Campbell or Tyra Banks. I want to have THAT kind of impact. Mediocrity is not an option for me.
It was such a pleasure getting to chat with Aaron, and hearing everything she had to say. There is no doubt in my mind that the incredible soul dwelling in this beautiful femme will change the world one day!