Human of the Week is an initiative by KosmicKult, featuring queer individuals who are killin’ it in their fields. Every week, we celebrate an individual (preferably human) by showcasing their work and talent. Through this, we aim to create a platform for representation of queer folk.
Grey Crouch (pronouns: they/them) is a non-binary artist from Los Angeles, California, best known for their work as a model for brands such as Dolls Kill and Dr. Marten’s, and feature in Vogue Italia. They are also a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, housing and education. In late 2018, Grey started the social media campaign ‘#VISIBLE’, encouraging genderqueer individuals all around the world to share their own unique experiences. Grey has also worked with media outlets and universities to create visibility and events to serve the under-represented non-binary and queer communities.
Aside from Vogue Italia, Grey Crouch has also been featured in several other publications such as Los Angeles Times and Paper Magazine.
In this week’s Human of the Week feature, we spoke with Grey about their experience as a non-binary artist navigating the modelling and fashion industry.
1. Firstly, how did you get into modelling? Was it something you had always wanted to pursue growing up?
I got into modeling through a coworker who was a photographer. We were both doing social work. After the first shoot, I was hooked. I had dreamed of modeling but it was a very, “not this lifetime” kind of dream.
2. What's your most pinch-me career moment so far?
A brief interview with Miss Laverne Cox. Ms. Cox was quietly in attendance at a Black Trans Lives Matter rally hosted by Unique Woman’s Coalition here in LA. I happened to be covering the event for a local LGBTQ+ magazine and got the opportunity to interview her. That was a humbling experience.
3. As a non-binary individual, would you say your gender identity affected your career in any way - positively or negatively?
I know many of my fellow siblings have had difficulty experiencing auditions as trans+ people. However, my personal experiences so far have been mostly positive. I acknowledge my privilege, where I definitely had an upper hand for queer events and castings due to my identity – clients approach me and engage me because of it. Ultimately, I think, each time people like us push a little farther, it brings other people in our circles with us, and brings us closer to a more openminded world that’s filled with more gender diversity.
4. Do you think the modelling industry has adequate trans representation?
I do not. I believe if casting directors, agencies, truly believe in supporting diverse talent, they will do more work in looking where this talent will actually be - go to the underground queer theatre shows, approach LGBTQ+ organizations - seek us out, with the intent to hire one of us. Though, I’ve been thrilled to see more lights shone on such wonderful trans and non-binary folk as Indya Moore, Angelica Ross, Amandla Stenberg. There are also programs such as Now > Ever Artists who train and develop trans, non-binary and intersex performers so we can continue to push representation in media.
5. You work a lot with fashion brands - how do you think the fashion industry could be more gender inclusive?
I think if the fashion industry were just allowed to be more creative in general, we wouldn’t have such huge gender differences in clothing. A step in the right direction, I believe, is London Fashion Week’s upcoming 12 months of “Gender-Neutral” shows. No “men’s wear” or “women’s wear”, just clothes.
One amazing queer brand is Stuzo Clothing. They range from casualwear to red carpet outfits and have been supported by such amazing talent as Lena Waithe. Another personal favorite is Fecal Matter (@matieresfecales). They do these other-worldly, gothic looks that certainly have no gender—barely even human! Haha.
6. As a model, it's often important to be able to feel confident in your own body to be in front of cameras - and we know that this could be especially difficult for many gender non-conforming individuals. Was it something you ever struggled with?
I think I have a tendency to slip into more traditionally feminine poses. There is definitely an expectation of beauty that dictates what one 'should' and 'should not be'. As a person with what can be perceived as a very femme body, I do believe I learned how to pose in ways that fit more widespread beauty standards. For shoots where I want to show my more masculine side, it can be challenging because I feel more inexperienced and critical of myself.
It’s something I continue to be mindful of in allowing different sides of my expression.
7. What do you hope to achieve with your work? Is there a message you want to spread?
I just want to see more of us on billboards. On streaming ads. Every time I see someone different on the screen it does something. I want more people to be able to feel that.
8. Is there anything else you'd like to add? (:
Thank you KosmicKult for continuing to put our stories out there! I feel the more of us we see, the less we feel alone.
You may find Grey Crouch on Instagram at @fawngrey