At first glace, the only thing striking about Lea Tea is her beauty. With full lips, perfect bone structure, and a pencil-thin frame, she’s the perfect high-fashion package. But look closer and you’ll see this 28-year-old Brazilian bombshell is not your ordinary model.
Lea T, the muse of Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci and star of the label’s new ad campaign, was actually born Leandro Cerezo. Apart from being a model and a muse, she is a proud transsexual. As such, Lea made waves, posing nude in last July’s French Vogue. In the spread, Lea has one hand wrapped around her waist and the other barely covering her genitals, which have not been surgically altered.
In an interview with Italian Vanity Fair, Lea, whose father is former soccer superstar Toninho Cerezo, describes how she struggled with her identity. Even during her stint as a male model, casting directors often confused her with a woman.
“I had a big Afro similar to Michael Jackson’s in his Jackson Five days,” she told the magazine. “When I walked into a room for a casting, there would always be someone who would say: ‘The girls’ casting is that way!’”
Tisci first noticed Lea’s “innate elegance” when he hired her as his personal assistant. “She’s a true goddess!” he told WWD. “She’s always been very feminine—super-fragile, very aristocratic.”
Recently, Lea’s lent her ‘innate elegance’ to the cover of Lurve magazine. She’s clad in none other than one of Ricardo Tisci’s latest designs. Check it out in the image above!