Gemma Cowling could be Australia’s next top model. She’s also transgender.

Video via The Project

Adelaide teenager Gemma Cowling was ‘discovered’ by a modelling agency about six months ago, only a few months earlier she officially ‘came out’ as transgender.

The 19-year-old says she always knew she was a girl despite having been born a boy.

“I think I knew it as a child whether I expressed it or not, hence why I spent my entire childhood in dresses and all of my friends are female, she told The Project last night. “It’s always where I felt comfortable.”

Gemma recently signed to modelling agency Azalea Models and the scout who found her, Stacey Hendrickson, believes she could go all the way.

Gemma Cowling. Source: Instagram

Ms Hendrickson told the Advertiser, adding she believed agencies with transgender sections were "backwards".

"We’ve got her in the women’s section because she’s a woman."


The teenager began her transition almost immediately after finishing high school in November and began taking hormones on Christmas Day.

Seeing the success of transgender models like Laverne Cox inspired her to make "my physical body to match the way it is in my brain", while Australia's Gemma Ward was the inspiration for her new name.

Gemma's parents and step mother couldn't be prouder of her success, as she credits them with making her transition as pain free as possible.

"She wanted to play with dolls no matter how hard I tried to get trucks and toys like that out, they just didn't get looked at or played with," her mother Angela Leske told The Project.

"Reflecting back now I realise Gem was always a girl, she just didn't know it and neither did we."

A childhood photo of Gemma. Source: The Project

Her father, Craig Cowling, said he remembers the moment his daughter told him she was 'coming out'.

"I can remember I was sitting at my desk and she came round and announced, 'Dad, I think I might transition' and I go, 'oh really, that'd be interesting'," he said.

"It's been quite a journey trying to fully understand what that means."

Feature image: Instagram


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