Why Selfies Are An Essential Art Form, According To Model Aaron Rose Philip

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For model Aaron Rose Philip, selfies are neither frivolous nor narcissistic. They’re capital-A Art.

“You can communicate feelings through a selfie. You can express yourself. It’s a formidable medium,” she says. “They’re a very legitimate form of expression in this age.”

While Philip has been photographed professionally on countless major fashion sets, she knows there’s a special breed of magic that comes with seizing control of your own image, in the way only a selfie allows. And as a Black, transgender woman born with cerebral palsy, she hasn’t always felt like mainstream media was committed to celebrating or broadcasting images of people who looked like her. “When I read fashion magazines when I was younger, I always loved them, but I never saw anyone like myself represented,” she says. “So that’s why I decided to get into the fashion industry. To see myself and more people like myself take up space there.”

At this point in her career, not only has Philip graced the pages of just about every major household name fashion magazine (think: British Vogue, Interview, Paper, WWD) but her appearance in Moschino’s 2022 Spring/Summer Fashion Week show marked the first time a major luxury fashion brand included a model in a wheelchair in their runway lineup. “After that happened, I really felt like I was able to inhale and exhale,” she says. “I really did it.”

In the months since, Philip has gone on to appear in shows for designers like Foo Foo and Colina Strada, all while continuing to model in major print shoots. But even so, her affection for the ever-democratic selfie holds fast. “The advice I would give to people who don’t have the confidence to take selfies just yet is that, I was the same way for a long time,” she offers. “But you will harness your own special beauty, it’s your right from the universe. Just be patient with yourself, and with time, you will recognize your beauty.”

With that in mind, we sat down with Philip to chat about all things high fashion, representation, and self love. Watch the video above for more essential wisdom on the future of selfies, Google’s newest hands-free, boundary-pushing camera technology, and creative self expression.

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