International model Andreja Pejić has come out as a trans woman, having had gender confirmation surgery earlier this year.

Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat parents, Pejić told ‘I want to share my story with the world because I think I have a social responsibility. I hope that by being open about this, it becomes less of an issue.’

Pejić became famous for an ability to model men’s and women’s clothes equally successfully, and earned international acclaim in 2011 after walking in both male and female fashion shows for Jean Paul-Gaultier during Paris Fashion Week.

The model continued: ‘I always dreamt of being a girl. One of my earliest memories is spinning around in my mom’s skirt trying to look like a ballerina.’ But on moving to Australia aged nine, to escape a vicious war folowing the breakup of Yugoslavia, she became aware of ‘a social message, from my brother and friends at school’ to hide that part of her personality. ‘I wanted to be a good kid and I wanted to please my parents,’ she says, and so she continued trying to hang out with boys and participate in team sports. ‘I kept my dreams and my imagination to myself and became pretty good at acting as a boy. But I was hiding who I was.’

Having been spotted by a model agency aged 17, the 6’1″ tall Pejić, who has a 25″ waist, quickly became sought after for her beautiful androgynous appearance. But, ‘about a year and a half ago, I re-evaluated things,’ she said. ‘I was proud of my gender nonconforming career. But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body.’ She began meeting with doctors in the US to transition with gender confirmation surgery.

In a message on Facebook, she thanked her fans for their support after her transition: ‘You’ve all helped me through this journey and I have learned a lot and really come into my own and the response to today’s announcement truly overwhelmed me and reminds me of why I chose to do this publicly…I think we all evolve as we get older and that’s normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn’t made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all, just a different sex. I hope you can all understand that.’

She also reached out to young people struggling with their gender identity: ‘I know it’s hard, but remember it’s your right to be accepted as what you identify with – you deserve the same respect as any other human being on this planet. As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past. Most importantly differences should not equal divisions, let’s all stand together in union.’

You can see more of Andreja on her Instagram page.