Geena Rocero on Her Blockbuster Memoir and Trans Liberation
By Photography by The way Geena Rocero stares down a camera is captivating.
Here, at in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, she challenges its gaze with the kind of merciless confidence that comes only after nearly two decades of modeling.
With each click, the elegant frame of her face tilts, her lithe limbs flick, and her eyes steady on the target.
Then, as soon as photographer Agata Serge breaks to take stock of the images gathered, Rocero comes back down to the mortal realm to be with the rest of us.“It’s about little movements,” says Rocero, who is—when she’s not in front of the camera—also a transgender rights advocate and film producer.If I had just walked in, I might’ve thought , 40, was simply a muse at the center of “,” the current exhibition featuring noted Filipino American artists Leo Valledor and Carlos Villa.
But nothing about Rocero is passive.
In fact, it was she who adamantly requested New York’s first-ever Filipino-owned gallery as the site for this shoot because, for her, intentionality is key.This year Rocero released her groundbreaking memoir, .
The book recounts her rise from pageant queen in the Philippines to a laudable career in fashion and advocacy in the United States.
It also reveals the process behind her decision to share her trans identity publicly.
But as much as it’s autobiographical, Horse Barbie is also an exploration of some of the most universal themes of womanhood: belonging, confidence, and love.Horse Barbie’s publication was a balm as a years-long wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation crested in 2023.
More than 500 pieces of legislation have been introduced at the state level in the US, many targeting trans people and youth, specifically.
There have been attacks on everything from health care access and drag performance to adults simply affirming queer and trans youth.
Given the stakes, it’s no wonder that Rocero’s memoir has been received with such enthusiasm.
She quite literally models what triumph can look like.The book’s release was met with critical acclaim.
Rocero was recognized by and for her literary contributions.
On a visit to the White House, she presented copies to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and White