Peter Nitka, the first gender-neutral model to walk the LJFW runway, is a young LGBT activist who uses his God-given good looks to provoke thoughts about equality, gender bias, inclusivity, and to promote tolerance. M-Mag interviewed him about his unique experience of the fashion world.

1. Why fashion? 

Working in fashion has allowed me a greater freedom to be whom I want to be, where I decide what works for me. I always wanted to work in fashion when I was younger, but to become a menswear model seemed unlikely due to my height. My personality and my style are more feminine and girly anyway, but I enjoy the fluidity between my male and my female aspect. Fashion plays a big part in that for me, and expression through fashion is what led me to become a gender-neutral model. Aside my passion for the industry, the most fun part of my job is being involved in creating beautiful things. I love the aesthetic experience of fashion. 

2. Why modelling? 

Modeling, as a profession, allows me to fully express my personality. Being different in the fashion world can be an advantage rather then a hindrance. Fashion has always pushed societal boundaries beyond accepted norms, so it is an amazing platform for furthering the awareness of gender neutrality, fluidity, and for spreading tolerance. Modeling is a way for me to do that. For example, I was cast as the first gender-neutral model in India and Africa, which are bit more conservative in their openness toward issues of gender and sexuality. Being a model combines my love for fashion and my activist aims. It’s a perfect fit.

3. Has your relationship to fashion and modeling changed since you started working as a gender-neutral model? 
My relationship to fashion and modeling now is anything but superficial. They both play a huge role in my life, and more importantly in achieving what I set out to do from an activist perspective. People are still shocked by me in daily life, which often gets me more media attention. I always try to use that purposefully to promote tolerance and possibly destroy prejudices and stereotypes of the LGBT community. 

4. Who is your fashion idol? 

I love Carmen Dell’Orefice, who is an 85-year- old model and is breaking stereotypes regarding beauty and age. However, I never really had a strong role model in my life, as I always wanted to do things differently to others. I did find a lot of solace and inspiration from the writing of Louise Hay, who shaped my outlook on life by emphasising the importance of positive thinking in creating the future we want for ourselves. 

5. So what future inspirations do you have for yourself in your career? 

I would love to continue modeling for at least 5 years or more, and further the activist side of it by working in countries where the intolerance to LGBT rights and issues is high. Homosexuality is still illegal in some countries, which astounds me. I am not sure how much I can achieve, but maybe the commercial reach of the fashion world and the glamour can bring these issues closer to people.

6. What did you think about LJFW and the fashion scene in Slovenia? 

Being invited to be a part of the Ljubljana Fashion Week was a great honour. I was so excited to see what it would be like, because I had no idea what to imagine beforehand. I was blown away by the caliber of the designers participating and the organisation of the event itself. I also thought Slovenian fashion has its own distinct style, which I think it’s amazing for such a small country. The city itself is gorgeous and so clean! This whole experience was amazing.

PHOTO: Urša Premik / Urška Pečnik / Marijo Županov