Transgender model Hari Nef hits the big time

Transgender model Hari Nef hits the big time
Model Hari Nef, third from right, and producer Jill Soloway, third from left pose with the Prancing Elites from Oxygen's "The Prancing Elites Project" at the PFLAG National Straight For Equality Awards Gala on March 30. (D Dipasupil / Getty Images)

If you follow fashion, get ready to learn the name Hari Nef.

The recent graduate of Columbia University in New York reportedly just signed on as a model with the industry's biggest agency, IMG, which also represents superstars Gisele Bundchen, Candice Swanepoel, Gigi Hadid and Chanel Iman.

Although Nef has already walked runways for Adam Selman, Hood by Air and Eckhaus Lattar --  and appeared in a campaign for British retailer Selfridges in April -- the signing is making more than the usual splash because the 22-year-old is IMG's first "global" transgender model based in the U.S.

It also means the small cadre of high-profile transgender models is growing. They include Andreja Pejic (who has walked runways for top labels including Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs and who landed a Make Up For Ever campaign earlier this year), Lea T. (muse to Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, she became the first transgender model to front a hair care campaign, which she did for Redken in January) and Valentijn De Hingh (the latter is also represented by IMG, but is assigned to Paris).

Nef put her feelings on Twitter: "Been feeling like I'm kind of whatever but upon further inspection I'm kind of a pretty girl."

So did IMG managing director Ivan Bart: "Today begins our journey with @harinef. This girl's future is so bright, guys r knocked out behind her!"