The fierce and very beautiful transgender high fashion model, Dominique T.A.R Jackson, moved androgynously down the runway, representing famous designer Stevie Boi’s new collection as one of “Slay’s” models. She was stunning and glamorous, and I took notice of her immediately; however, I did not know at that time that I was slated to interview her a short time after.
One of the warmest people I have ever spoken with, Dominique has a special story to convey, which is very inspirational and I’m sure will touch many.
Honestly, when I was asked to speak with you for Get Out!, I didn’t get a lot of information about you. I don’t know if you are an entertainer, a queen, a boy, a girl. So introduce yourself, please.
I am a transgender woman, and it’s always “she.” That’s it, “she.”
I do know that you are beautiful. Are you an entertainer?
Thank you. I used to hold parties and perform. Last January I signed with Apple Model Management, which we later broke off, and became Slay Models I think around August. When I became a part of Slay Models, it was like a dream come true. We have been getting a lot of press. I work almost every day for New York Fashion Week. My agent’s name is Cecilio Asuncion. So Cecillo had this vision, and did a documentary on trans women. After he did that, he spoke to a few of us about possibly working together. He decided that we were models, so why not have us model. He made the contact with Apple in Thailand, and then he decided that we’re in the U.S., so he started his own agency here. I signed on, and it’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve now been in “Vogue” online, I have been in “Elements” magazine, I have worked with Bijou Van Ness and I’ve shot with many well-known photographers. I’ve been traveling back and forth to L.A., and it just makes me feel that I’m attempting to reach my goal. Slay is an all-exclusive transgender agency.
Is it the first one?
This is the first one, yes.
Do you know designer Stevie Boi?
Yes. I walked for Stevie Boi.
I was there.
You were? OMG. I had on the long mesh beige.
OMG, I know who you are. You were amazing! Small world.
What’s kind of funny is that people call me Tyra, but that was the woman I call the past 18 years of my life. It was me becoming the woman that I needed to become. I experienced a lot of trauma. I almost lost my life. I was strangled within minutes of my life. I developed agoraphobia. I have a fear of being outside. I kind of went in the direction of trying to work from home, or work for a non-profit agency, like I used to. Cecilio was so adamant that my dreams were not over yet and that I should not give up. My biggest battle now is that, at times, I just don’t want to be outside; I don’t want to be in pubic.
You need to go outside; you are beautiful. You need to find yourself a nice shrink somewhere.
I am in therapy because of childhood trauma. I was molested at a young age by a priest. 911 pushed me into pure pandemonium, but it pushed me to be outside when I saw New Yorkers get together and refuse to stay in their houses. The thing is that I’m working through everything. With Slay Model Management, I get to live my dream.
What made you realize that you were transgender?
With me it was more of an acceptance. At about four or five I knew something was different. I identified more with girls. I come from Trinidad, and it was torture, because I was told that I act like a girl, and sometimes I would get bullied, even by family members. They were trying to make me straight. I guess they thought that they were doing something good, but it was actually traumatizing. At around 13 the boys around me were getting beards and deep voices, and the girls were getting curves. The shock was that none of those things happened to me. What happened was I started growing breasts. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. The thing was that I was happy that I was developing breasts, but society was telling me it was wrong. When I came to the U.S., I thought I was gay. I didn’t know that the word transgender existed. Eventually I sought out groups for gay youth, and I met other people that were transgender. It ended up when a new world opened up for me. When I finally took hormones, it was like a bolt. As a girl I wanted to have huge boobs, but I’m glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have been able to model.
I feel like it is very hard to be transgender.
Yes, even with relationships. I’ve been with my husband for 18 years. It’s not an easy world. Every once in a while, I get the feeling that since he’s a straight man, he may just pick up and leave one day.
He’s not going anywhere. You’re too pretty.
Well, thank you for that. Being an empowered woman, I really don’t bow to men. The whole marriage thing, I feel secure, but never too secure. But with Slay models, for the first time in my life, I can say that I’m happy. Yes, there are still struggles. Yes, I’m still in therapy. But from what it was, the anxiety, the nervousness, almost being deported, it was a riot. So right now it’s a dream come true.