Woke up to the fabulous news that one of my trailblazing trans elders in Tracey Africa Norman is being hired once again as a face of Clairol!
The Cutis reporting that Clairol called Tracey and asked her at age 63, just short of her fast approaching birthday, to come back and be the face of their Clairol Nice ‘n Easy “Color As Real As You Are’ campaign.
Wow! So happy this amazing blessing has happened for her!
I wrote about Tracey on these TransGriot pages starting in May 2010 after seeing the video interview she’d done with The Luna Show about her amazing modeling career we trans people didn’t know about because of her nondisclosed status at the time.
Back in the 70’s and 80’s, Tracey was not only the face of Clairol, but had contracts with Avon Cosmetics, Ultra Sheen and had graced five ESSENCE magazine covers.
But adhering to the prevailing trans community transition protocols at the time, she was undisclosed while doing so.
Her booming modeling career was messed up by a transphobic hater who outed her to then ESSENCE managing editor Susan L. Taylor in the early 80’s while shooting a sixth ESSENCE cover.
While Susan L Taylor claimed in a subsequent interview that she supported Tracey, the ESSENCE actions post outing don’t support her words, and modeling work for Tracey immediately in the wake of that outing dried up..
Hey ESSENCE, here’s an idea. How about making it right by inviting Tracey to shoot that cover that was so rudely interrupted?
Here’s the new Clairol video featuring Tracey.
While I understand what the transition protocols were at the time, it would have been amazing for teenage me to know there were trans women like Tracey out there who not only existed, but had thriving careers.
But I am happy to know that me simply documenting the Black trans history that she made as part of the long stylish line of trans models may have been the catalyst for this day.
I hope I get the opportunity, honor and pleasure to one day meet my trans elder, hug her, and thank her for clearing the way for trans models to work openly as who they are even with all the challenges they face,
I also want to thank Tracey for being a possibility model to mine and the next generations of Black trans kids, and hope this Clairol opportunity leads to more work for her..