Picture this: a new commercial for Toyota’s new car, the Auris. You see a closeup of a woman in red underwear and high heels walking towards a car from behind. It cuts to her face, and then back. She slips off her raincoat; the music swells. When she reaches the Toyota, she spins around and – wait for it – she’s a man! The Japanese tagline flashes: “Not in trend, not casual, not for everyone.” What?!
Meet Stav Strashko, an androgynous model who garnering attention for his arresting resemblance to a woman. The 20-year-old was born in the Ukraine and grew up in Tel Aviv, where he was discovered by an Israeli stylist at 17 and began working as a model in 2010. Though Strashko says he played with his mother’s makeup as a child and wore eyeliner on the streets as a teenager, it didn’t immediately occur to him that he could be mistaken for a woman.
“I realized that I was androgynous when I began to model,” he told Candy magazine. “All the stylists put women’s clothes on me, and then it struck me that I can really look like a woman.” The model, who has a boyfriend and worships Angelina Jolie, says that he is often mistaken for a girl when he meets new people. “Usually when people talk to me they soon realize I’m a boy, but sometimes people just keep treating me as a girl not realizing who I really am. I believe that the mind sees what it wants.”
Another transgender model, Andrej Pejic, burst onto the scene in 2010: he had Kate Moss’ body and Cindy Crawford’s cheekbones -- but was really a 19-year-old Serbian boy. Pejic made waves because he blurred gender distinctions and was often confused for a woman. After he appeared on the cover of Dossier Journal, the image was deemed too inappropriate that the issue was reportedly poly-bagged at major stores.
See Strashko’s Toyota ad below.