Monday, 6 January 2014

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The Unexpected Model (Chat with Nicole Gibson)

Model Nicole Gibson talks about her life changing choices in 2013.

When you was younger, can you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? I remember back in the day that I wanted to be a Filmmaker. Sounds dulls and boring for a youngster to want to be that, but that's what I wanted to be. I remember hearing my friends say they wanted to "A Footballer" or "An Astronaut" or even "A Cowboy". As a youngster you always have aspirations to be something when you grow up, but imagine if the one thing you wanted to be was something that was considered a Taboo subject?
A few months back I was on Pinterest. Pinterest is another one of those Social Networks that allows you to post/pin Pictures of things you like. It is very female orientated I think, Lots of fashion photos going back and forth. So trawling through my feed and seeing the same fashion type pics I sometimes switch off and hope to find some interesting TV and Film posts (Maybe I am following the wrong people). BUT I stumbled across a link and photo of a Model named Nicole Gibson. I clicked the link and I was amazed to read this young woman's story.

Nicole is not your average Model. Nicole was infact born Glen. That is right, Nicole is a Transgendered Woman with an amazing attitude and story to tell. I repinned the post about Nicole from Pinterest and said how Inspirational I thought she was for overcoming this obstacle in her life and she even tweeted back her appreciation. So from there I chatted back and forth to her and managed to ask her a few Questions.

ME: Hi Nicole. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Did you get up to much?
NICOLE: I've had the best Christmas and New Year. At the moment, everything in my social diary is a first... My first Christmas as a complete woman, my first Boxing Day, my first New Years Eve. So I've used it as an excuse to party extra hard ;) But it's down to business now, I've had to take it slow and just done the odd modelling job here and there but now I'm ready for action.

ME: So 2013 was a big year for you. You could say life changing. Explain to the readers what obstacles you encountered last year.
NICOLE: I think my biggest obstacle last year was more keeping my head together than anything. I have been going through so many changes emotionally and mentally. I can't say this will be the same for everyone but I genuinely feel the Hormone Replacement Therapy knocked about 15 years off me. I felt like I (and in a way I suppose I was) going through all the things a teenage girl goes through. I'd handle little love life dramas like a sixteen year old. I'd have dreadful mood swings and tantrums.  My girl friends were so supportive, constantly reminding me that "we've all been there" I blubbed A LOT! Still do :-/ My best friend James just shouts "HORMONES" at me when I start to go off on one. Which obviously then just results in us falling about laughing. 
I'm quite a feisty character but I found myself becoming more and more sensitive. I worked in a busy bar and for years I had to put my foot down and stand up to drunk men all the time and not take any rubbish but as time went on I found myself thinking I shouldn't be doing this. I'm a lady. My sharp tongue was replaced with a softer nature. The centre of attention, show girl behind the bar found herself wanting to blend in more. I didn't need to rely on being loud and funny to keep people on side or even at bay. I was passing as female a fitting in. Basically the biggest part of last year for me was saying goodbye to the extroverted character of Glennie and finding my feet as a Nicole. It was a long goodbye but it was just part of the process. Transition isn't just about, long hair, painted nails and push up bras. Your body goes through equally as much on the inside as it does on the outside.

ME: You Look Amazing!. It is nice to see people make a change to be happy in life. How hard was it to finally make the decision to transition?
NICOLE: The decision to fully transition wasn't really that hard. I have felt like I should have been born a girl for as long as I can remember. In the early stages of transition for me it was all about looking my best. I didn't suit being male. I never had a boys shape, features or mannerisms. I'd put on a dress for fun and a joke and people would shower me with compliments so dressing full time as female just felt right. I started feeling comfortable in women's clothes at about 21 but met a gay guy got into a for year relationship and slowly but surely he wore me down and I found myself shopping at Topman again. The relationship came to and end, over sparkly green eyeshadow actually. So I began dressing again full time. just so I could look as feminine as possible the rest kind of fell into place. It was just the next step. Don't forget I don't really know any different. I've always felt this way so putting a skirt on only ever felt normal to me. My life is just running it's course. I don't really ponder on what path to take. I just go with whatever feels right. You have to go with your gut in life. I didn't sit for months wondering whether I should talk to someone about it. I was lucky, people already accepted that I wore heels and sparkly tops and to be honest I would have continued even if they didn't. I'd already had one person in my life hold me back from what was right for me. I wasn't going to let anyone else. The day I looked at myself and thought 'yep you can do this, this is not the body you're meant to be in' was the day I made an appointment to see my GP. I didn't tell anyone how far I intended to go until I was awarded funding for my treatment from the NHS. It was a decision I had to make by myself and needed to know the whole process before telling everyone, because as you may have noticed, once I start talking about it I can't stop. And the last thing is have wanted would be for the people that care about me to worry that I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Though the reactions were all the same, no one was surprised. I tell you the hardest decision in all of this was picking a name! 

ME: What advice would you give to others out there struggling with their own sexuality/gender issues?
NICOLE: My advice for anyone struggling with gender dysphoria issues is talk to your doctor. I wish I had done it years ago. I'm so lucky to have the family and friends that I do and I know not everyone is that blessed. So first step is your GP, they will be able to point you in the right direction, be it support groups or help lines. One thing you have to remember is that you're not alone, the world is full of people going through exactly the same thing.

ME: So with a new life and being free you walked the catwalk at LFW2013. How did this happen?
NICOLE: The modelling all came about by accident really. I left my job at the bar there was too much of the old me there. People wanted the Glennie show and I just wasn't that person anymore. I wanted to quiet down and slow down. I went to run a country pub but still was struggling a bit. I had too much going on in my head to run someone else's business for them. I needed to find something with less responsibility so I could concentrate on my transition. I'm very open about my situation and in order to get a bit of money in my pocket so I didn't have to rush into the wrong job I decided to sell me story to a newspaper. People would ask me questions about my situation all the time. Strangers would just come out with the most inappropriate questions. So the idea of people reading it wasn't that big a deal for me. Though It's still a bit of a taboo subject and that needs to change. It's amazing how homosexuality is much more accepted nowadays and the same needs to happen with the transgender community. You only get one life and it's so unfair that a lot of people don't have the confidence to live as they believe the should be living because it's not 'normal' So my story ran and was well received. It was read by Angel Sinclair, founder of Models of Diversity. Who invited me to cast for their CATWALK4CHANGE fashion event at the start of London Fashion Week. I'd pretended to be on a catwalk since I was about 7 so I jumped at the chance. At first I was just fantasising about being a model but the more I learned about MoD and what they stay for I realised that we were on the same page.

ME: What is Models of Diversity? how did you get involved with that?
NICOLE: Models if Diversity are an organisation campaigning for more diversity of models in the fashion and beauty industry. The more time I'm involved with them and the more people I meet through them the more my eyes are opened to how closed minded the fashion industry is. It should be about real people. The catwalks are dominated by waif types. What about the heavier figures, the darker skins, the shorter people and the disabled people? Everyone wants to see how clothes are going to look on them too! And it's so disheartening to think how many people don't feel like they fit in because they're not a mirror image of the men and women you see in the magazines.

ME: is modelling your future? You certainly look like a model.
NICOLE: Who knows what my future is. I do have every intention of continuing modelling. The rush I get when I'm on the catwalk is amazing and when the photographer say "yup, that's the shot" I think to myself "God this time last year I'd have been sat doing a beer order" I'm fully recovered from my surgery now so I can be a lot more proactive. Until now I haven't wanted to push myself and only done the odd bit here and there with MoD but had to take it slowly after my surgery. But this year is off to a great start. I have meetings with two top agencies next week and also a possible presenting job in the pipeline. I feel fit as a fiddle and excited to start the next chapter of my life.  

ME: You are obviously open with your struggles with your gender. Is that because you feel you can help others out there who don't know what to do?
NICOLE: I've always been a bit of a show off. I was a drama student. But in all seriousness, when you receive messages from people who are struggling to get their head around how they are feeling and they tell you they are too scared to talk to anyone in case they are disowned and ridiculed and you inspire them it gives you this unexplainable feeling and urge to defend them and help them and if me talking about it and opening people's minds and prevents just one girl like me from getting a hard time about her situation then I'm happy. I was with a friend in the supermarket once, he and I were an unlikely pairing but we hit it off. There was a transgendered woman going about her shopping, minding her own business and my friend said to me "do you know Nicole, before I met you I'd have probably taken the Micky out of her" I'm not on a crusade to educate the world. I'm not a doctor. I can only talk about my own experiences. But all the while people are happy to listen and there's a chance that more people like me get less stick, then I'm going to carry on banging on about it. I still think people think it's a sexual thing. For me that has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's simply about living on the outside how you feel on the inside. 

ME: Thank you Nicole for answering my Questions. I think you are not only an inspiration to the LGBT community but an inspiration to human beings in general. To make such a big change in your life to be happy is a positive and amazing thing to do. I hope 2014 holds great things for you. What do you have planned?
NICOLE: I'm so happy! I've undoubtedly made the right decision to talk openly about my transition and as well as opened people's eyes and minds it's opened doors for me too. I'm a lucky girl with amazing people around me who make me feel like I can take on the world. Come on 2014, what you got? 

I Hope this post can open the eyes to some people who are unaware of the struggles some people go through to be happy with themselves. I don't just mean Transgendered people, I am talking about others with Sexuality worries, depression, mental illness, etc etc. We are ALL human beings at the end of the day and we ALL deserve to be happy whether it be within our on skin or our own heads.I hope Nicole's story has opened your eyes like it did me. I do sometimes forget that society can dictate what is accepted and this can affect the happiness of others.
Thank you again Nicole for the chat. I Hope 2014 holds up well for you. If you want to follow Nicole's journey into 2014 you can 

Twitter: @TheNicoleGibson
Instagram: MissNicoleGibson


  1. Interesting interview, and an amazing story.

  2. Such an inspiring story, shows we can all be happy, whatever we have to do to get there :)
    These Days are Fast

    1. Indeed mate. I think it is very inspiring x so happy she spoke to me for the blog . Give her a follow on twitter and let her know what you think x

  3. Great interview, Adam. What an inspiring story, too! I'm already following Nicole on Twitter; I did that right after we had the giggle over Google asking me if I was Nicole. : D I look forward to learning more about her through her tweets.

    1. thanks Jess x Yeah I am glad i was able to introduce Nicole to some people via this post. I hope you can continue to support her future endeavours x

  4. Brilliant post Adam well interviewed and lots good info!