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Ariel Nicholson


The 17-year old model and LOVE magazine cover star was the first transgender model to walk for Calvin Klein by Raf Simons.


The transgender model was hand-picked by Raf Simons to walk for Calvin Klein ’s Spring/Summer 2018 show as a high-school sophomore and has since appeared in Calvin Klein campaigns, editorial shoots for American Vogue and W magazine, as well as walking for brands like Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu.

Raised in New Jersey, Nicholson had always told her parents she did not belong as a boy. In fifth grade, she switched pronouns and began taking Lupron, a drug that suppresses the effects of puberty. In eighth grade, she appeared in “Growing Up Trans,” a documentary by PBS, where she talked with her therapist from the Ackerman Institute about the decision to go on oestrogen.

Nichols was scouted by DNA models while still in high school and made her debut at Calvin Klein’s Spring/Summer 2018 show, after being selected by Raf Simons himself. She has since appeared in the brand’s advertising campaigns and in editorials for W magazine and American Vogue for a spread devoted to transgender children. Nicholson scored a Love magazine cover for the publication’s anniversary issue, shot by Mert & Marcus.

Nicholson volunteers with Gender & Family Project, which aims to support transgender youth and families. She lives with her family in Park Ridge, New Jersey, and hopes to study Sociology or Political Science at university.

Nicholson is represented by DNA Model Management.

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The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.