As the first trans woman signed to IMG Worldwide, the model, actress and trans activist has walked the runways of major fashion weeks and uses her considerable social media influence to educate, inspire and advocate for transgender rights.
Born in the affluent suburban town of Newton, Massachusetts, Nef’s childhood involved performing in theatre productions from the age of 11. Nef graduated with departmental honours in Drama and Theatre Arts from Columbia University in 2015. While studying at university, she interned with casting director Jennifer Venditti and at VFiles in SoHo, as well as hosting weekly parties at places like the Diamond Horseshoe and Up & Down.
First breaking onto the runways of major international fashion weeks during New York Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2015 season, Nef walked for Eckhaus Latta, Hood By Air, and Adam Selman. In early 2015, Selfridges launched a gender-neutral pop up retail edit, ‘Agender,’ for which Nef starred in the film campaign. The same year, Nef was nominated in the Social Media Star category of the annual Models.com Industry Awards. In December 2015, Nef made her television debut as Gittel on Amazon Prime’s Emmy Award-winning "Transparent" by Jill Soloway, and was nominated with the cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the SAG awards.
In 2016, Nef appeared on the cover of Interview magazine — the same platform for which she wrote about trans issues — and appeared in editorials in international editions of Vogue and Wonderland Magazine, among others. The same year, the model and actress formalised her affiliation as as a representative and advocate for the National Centre for Transgender Equality [transequality.org] and made her Milan Fashion Week debut, walking for Gucci’s Autumn/Winter 2016 menswear show.
As her commercial and digital influence has grown, Nef has spoken with Lena Dunham in a “Women of the Hour” podcast, and visited the White House as part of its “Champions of Change” tribute to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender artists. At a MoMA-hosted salon entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?”, Nef spoke about how she does not believe fashion is the correct context in which to examine modern gender issues.