Shine On

Casey Legler, a woman working as a male model

Casey Legler's is a 35 year-old woman working as a male model. (TIME)"As far as I know, there are no other women exclusively modeling as male models," Casey Legler, 35, tells TIME, adding, "That's such a weird thing to say! 'Cause I'm a woman, you know!"

The 6-foot-2 androgynous stunner recently signed with Ford Models male division, something unheard of for a female. And interestingly enough, Legler is a former Olympic swimmer who qualified in Atlanta, Georgia at age 18.

Phillymag.com goes as far as naming Legler the "world's first female men's model."

"This is a unique little moment that fashion is allowing to have happen," Legler says of her contract.

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"Let's get serious, this is radical: a woman on the men's board is pretty fierce.  Its success has in part been a result of other creatives and folks on the ground, in the street, getting that and supporting it.  The truth is that this thing has made people happy.  The freedom of it hits a chord.  I am absolutely delighted to be a part of that," Legler tells Drink Black Water.

View Legler's modelling portfolio here.

After a competitive-swimming career in her native France, former Olympian Legler moved to New York to pursue an art career. When she agreed to pose as a male model for a photographer friend, her modelling career was born.

"I understand signifiers. We're social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other. But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something."

Legler is the first female to follow in the footsteps of gender-barrier-breaking models Andrej Pejic, Lea T and Stav Strashko.

"Andrej is gorgeous. In many ways I come ushered in by that," she acknowledges.

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"We have very specific ways in which we identify ourselves as man or woman," Legler tells TIME. "And I think sometimes those can be limiting. It would be a lovely place if we didn't necessarily judge or jump to conclusions because someone wants to wear a dress or because someone wants to wear pants."

While Ledger will be modelling exclusively for Ford's men's division, she insists she also looks "really fierce in a dress."

"What I wish is that we all get to be exactly who we are. And sometimes that's complicated," she says.

"It's refreshing to see an exploration of androgyny that doesn't pry greedily into a model's personal life. Legler a gorgeous woman who also happens to make a gorgeous man. And she's a devastatingly charming and sharp interview subject to boot," Jezebel's Lindy West writes.

Watch Ledger's thoughtful interview below:

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