Transgender Model Geena Rocero Reveals She Used to Bleach Her Skin for Beauty Pageants

"I'm very dark. That is part of my identity and I'm proud of it," she tells Galore

By Bruna Nessif Oct 06, 2015 10:05 PMTags
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Geena Rocero has been open about her journey of being a transgender model, and although being genuine about who she is was a struggle in itself, there were other hurdles that the brunette beauty faced when it came to what was considered beautiful.

Speaking with Galore, the fashion model explained that she grew up in the working class neighborhood in the Philippines, and found a bit of solace when it came to competing in transgender beauty pageants.

"I never really thought of myself as beautiful when I was young, but joining the pageants allowed me to express myself and to gain better self confidence," she says.

But there were still parts of herself she felt weren't in sync with what the area considered beautiful.

"I used to bleach my skin when I was doing pageants because that was the ideal beauty," she admits, and reveals the backlash she'd face in the streets. "I remember walking down the street and having people scream ‘bakla' at me, which means ‘gay' but is actually used more like the word ‘f----t,'" she recalls.

"I felt so connected by the pageants. I could finally express myself and live as the woman that I am. I was a transgender beauty pageant queen." Between the pageants and a successful modeling career, Geena's idea of beauty has shifted. "I'm very dark. That is part of my identity and I'm proud of it."

Rocero is making sure that she also helps impact a change for the transgender community, and has founded Gender Proud—an aim to change the global perception of and conversation about transgender individuals.

"Being able to walk down the street and survive is a privilege," she says. "I want to use it to tell people stories and advocate for change." 

Watch: Khloe K. Upset Over Caitlyn Jenner's "Vanity Fair" Shoot

Geena praised Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair shoot, but find out why Khloé Kardashian was upset about it above.