more than a model: josephine skriver
We speak to rainbow child Josephine Skriver about fighting for equality.
These are times of great social change and political unrest; with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Olivier Rousteing and Walter Van Beirendonck using their platform to shed light on what's making the front pages, fashion and its personalities can be used as a powerful medium to get its audience to dig a bit deeper and question the world around them. Our "More Than A Model" series highlights the girls who aren't content with just being pretty faces, who are using their influence to grab our attention and spotlight causes that matter. From Denmark with love, here's Josephine Skriver….
Where are you from?
I am proud to say that I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark.
What issues are close to your heart and why?
Equality is very close to my heart - in fact it's sad that we even have to label equality as an "issue" since it should be a universal right. I believe every human is born with the same potential and right as every other person. No matter the color, religion, sex, age or preference in love we might have, we should all be treated and treat others with love, respect and tolerance.
Together, my brother and I were raised by two loving parents. In almost every way, my family is as close to a traditional, modern family as any. That's how I have always looked at us and never knew any different as a child. But growing up, the world has taught me that most look at my family a little differently.
My biological mum and dad are both gay, but they love the same way as anyone else. They just happen to love someone of the same gender, and to some, that makes my parents not suitable parents. It is absurd to me that some people don't allow others to fall in love with whomever they please as long as there is mutual consent. I have never understood that view because growing up, I never felt any difference or less loved. I got annoyed like any other teenager, I had the same problems with my parents as any of my friends did during their younger years. I had the same support and love from my home as they did, and I never felt like my parents' choices in love made me miss out on anything.
Due to the fact that this is all so close to home, I feel I have to speak out when it comes to equality and raising awareness on the subject - not only for the LGBT community, but for any human. None of us are any more or less than our neighbor.
Why did you get involved?
I just had such a positive and amazing upbringing. A lot of people truly don't think that parents in the LGBT community are suitable to give a child a deserving childhood, or they think that the upbringing will affect them in a negative way.
I am a living proof that this is only a stereotype. I want to help educate people to be more open-minded on this. I want to let the men and women in the LGBT community know that their children can be just fine. We are human like the rest of you, so don't be scared to bring us into this world. You do not give us a burden that we will carry through life. If anything, we are proud. I want kids with LGBT parents to stand tall. Don't let anyone talk you down to you or allow them to make you think less of yourself. You are an amazing human just like everyone else, and I am here to tell you how beautiful you and your family are.
I just hope my platform and my story can get out there and help people better understand this community and to show them that a "non-traditional" family is still a family. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, because a family is bonded by love in the end, and that love comes in many forms. If in my life I have helped even just one child out there realize that they are not alone, then I will be a very happy girl.
What can we do to help?
Don't stereotype - educate yourself on the idea of "non-traditional" families and on how prejudice can only affect both adults and kids negatively. Always understand the people and experiences before anything else. Learn about the vision of organisations like Family Equality Council, and see how you can help the cause, even if not directly. Most importantly, don't be a bystander if you see someone being judged for being part of a "non-traditional" family or relationship.
What does the word activism mean to you?
Take responsibility for yourself, your life and the world and people around you. Help educate and help people who want to be educated. Open all of the eyes that are closed. Our voices weren't meant to whisper, so we need to speak up and to be heard. The earth we live on today is not meant for just us, alone. We are influencing future generations and planting seeds for our children... and their children! That's why it is so important to speak up when you have something that you feel isn't right - and that you need to change. You have to stand up. Do it for you, for your friends, and for your families. But most importantly, do it for the future of our world and the innocent ones yet to be born.
Babies are born to this world like blank canvases; they do not know how to judge or hate. Let's paint them a better world that's filled with love and tolerance to be a part of. I just know this world has the potential to become a masterpiece.
What would you stand up for?
I stand up for humans, equality, and love. We are all made of the same bones, we just wear different covers. We all have a beating heart that is always searching for love, acceptance and the feeling of belonging. And I will always stand up for "us" - for all of us to make this world a home for everyone.
How could we all make the world a better place?
Start looking at the next person as ''who'' they are and not ''what'' they are. Get to know the person next to you and understand them, love them. I promise they won't be as different as you may think.