Gender neutral model Petr Nitka: I’ve faced no hostility

On her maiden trip to India for Lakme Fashion Week Summer/ Resort ’17, Petr Nitka opens up on her life as a gender neutral model

brunch Updated: Mar 18, 2017 21:25 IST
petr nitka,gender neutral,gender neutral model
Petr Nitka walked for many designers at Lakme Fashion Week last month

Petr Nitka is the first gender neutral model to have walked an Indian runway. Here, he speaks about his journey.

I was born in Ostrava, the third largest city in Czech Republic. My parents got divorced when I was five, but I had a good childhood. My mother is my best friend. Even now, when I’m travelling for shoots and shows, I make it a point to see her as often as I can.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a model, but I’m not as tall as a male model is supposed to be – I’m 5 feet 8 inches. So I wasn’t sure if I could become one. Two years ago, I went to Australia for school and there, I met a Sri Lankan photographer. We did some shoots together. After a month, I saw my pictures in magazines and knew that I had it in me to be a full-time model, but an androgynous one.

I travelled to South Africa for fashion week last year. While in Johannesburg, I also did a video for a designer, who told me that I’m not androgynous, but a gender-neutral model. Since then, I’ve travelled to many places for modelling stints. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced any kind of hostility. I believe that if our mind is positive, we attract only positive things. While I walk for both womenswear and menswear, I prefer women’s wear, as it goes with my looks.

Today, I spend a lot of time in Prague for interviews and TV shows. While I feel that Czech people are very open-minded, Czech fashion is not. So I’ve been to Slovakia, Australia, South Africa and now, India, but I’ve never had a show in my country. They don’t mind seeing me on TV or on other celebrity shows but Czech designers are apprehensive about inviting me to events as a “gender neutral model”.

I don’t want to be a typical model and want to change things. I know about Section 377 in India, and think it’s great for people to be able to see gender neutral or transgender models at a mainstream fashion week. It would perhaps change how they view trans or homosexual people. My dream is to change perspectives in countries where homosexuality is illegal, like Russia, or certain Arabian and African countries.

Andreja Pejić became the first androgynous model a few years ago. I can say that I’m the first gender neutral model in the world.

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From HT Brunch, March 19, 2017

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First Published: Mar 18, 2017 21:25 IST