Oxygen Media is granting you backstage access with the new original series “Strut,” premiering Tuesday, September 20 at 9pm ET/PT. Executive-produced by Whoopi Goldberg of One Hoe Productions and 44 Blue Productions, the series follows transgender models Laith De La Cruz, Dominique Jackson, Isis King, Ren Spriggs and Arisce Wanzer as they chase their passions of becoming household names in the fashion world while challenging stereotypes of gender and beauty. Supporting them every step of the way are Cecilio Asuncion and Cassandra Cass of Slay Model Management, the first exclusively transgender modeling agency.
“Our models come from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, and ethnicities. They are struggling with things we can all relate to – trying to make ends meet, fighting to make a name for themselves and navigating the minefields of personal relationships,” said Executive Producer Whoopi Goldberg. “All of these struggles are amplified by the fact that they are also fighting to break down barriers and taking on the responsibility of representing the transgender community in today’s society. It’s time to separate caricature from real people and that’s what we are doing with ‘Strut.’”
“Each member of the cast of ‘Strut’ reminds us that we are all connected by the same desires to live a life of acceptance, love and truth,” said Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Oxygen Media. “Despite obstacles from the world around them, the series showcases these individuals courageously opening up their world to viewers in a very compelling way.”
“Strut” provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the glamorous world of fashion while also revealing the realities of being a transgender model. Viewers will be invited to gaze behind the curtain as this group of five determined models navigates everything from the fashion world and their personal lives to emotional conversations with family members. As they strive to overcome hurdles in the quest to discovering their true identity, the models are faced with owning who they are—no matter the cost. The heels are high and the stakes are higher as these up-and-coming hopefuls work to break down barriers in the modeling industry and the world around them.
Meet the Models:
LAITH DE LA CRUZ (@laith_ashley)
A New York native, Laith De La Cruz launched his career with a monumental Barneys New York campaign photographed by Bruce Weber, making his debut as one of the first transgender male models to ever appear in a national campaign. Laith began his transition over two years ago and has discovered that being a model forces him to confront himself in ways he never imagined. Currently holding down the fort as the only male model at Slay Management, Laith continues to grow in his confidence day-by-day as he becomes more comfortable in his skin. Extremely close to his family, Laith values the tight knit love and support from them, especially his mother.
From walking the runway during New York Fashion Week to gracing the pages of Vogue Hommes, Laith’s career has swiftly sky rocketed and he recently quit his day job to pursue modeling full time.
DOMINIQUE JACKSON (@dominiquet.a.r.jackson)
Persistent and resilient, Dominique Jackson has been modeling for over 20 years. Appearing on the pages of prestigious publications including Vogue España, Dominique was born and raised in Scarborough, Tobago before moving to New York City to follow her dreams of being a fashion model. Overcoming memories of a dark childhood, Dominique self-published the hurdles, hurts, revelations and triumphs of her journey in an autobiography titled “The Transsexual from Tobago.” Dominique is a LGBT and human rights activist who wants to encourage those who need hope and inspiration.
Married to her partner of eighteen years Al, Dominique recently decided to embrace a new chapter in her life and move to Los Angeles for an exciting opportunity. With vast experience in the industry, Dominique serves as a mentor to the models at Slay who are waiting for their big break and is always willing to provide helpful advice. Determined to take the LA scene by storm, will Dominique be able to balance new career opportunities, fierce competition and a long distance relationship?
ISIS KING (@msisisking)
Isis King is a vivacious fashion model and designer with big dreams and the ambition to make them a reality. Originally from Maryland, Isis studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and moved to New York following graduation to become a fashion designer. While working as a background model on a shoot, Isis caught the attention of supermodel Tyra Banks and was selected to participate in ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ becoming the first transwoman to compete on the show. Isis used the opportunity to bring national attention to issues facing LGBT homeless youth, gender transitioning and gender expression but shortly after the show ended, she decided to take a break from modeling to chase other dreams.
Finally ready to get back on the catwalk, Isis has returned more determined than ever to jumpstart her career and pick up where she left off. Gracing the pages of Seventeen Magazine and Out Magazine amongst others, Isis is also the first transgender person to model for American Apparel. Between modeling, hosting and acting, Isis has become a triple threat with a successful multi-platform career. Recently relocating to Los Angeles to pursue acting and modeling full time, Isis is determined to follow her dreams, but on her terms. Forced to start fresh in a new city without a backup plan, does Isis have what it takes to make it to the top?
REN SPRIGGS (@renbeep)
Stunning and fearless, Ren Spriggs is fresh to the fashion industry, but isn’t letting her limited experience get in the way of becoming the next big thing. Born and raised in California, Ren is one of the newest models to join Slay Management and her striking looks have already captured the attention of casting directors. Often described as a “gorgeous tomboy,” Ren is a rebel at heart and was initially reluctant to model. Although she did not receive a lot of support from her family during her transition, Ren remains hopeful that modeling will give her the opportunity to reconnect with her distant father and confront their complicated relationship once and for all.
Between working a part-time job and attending casting calls, Ren has her hands full. As the modeling gigs continue to pour in, can she balance all the opportunities that await her and evolve into the confident model that everyone sees in her?
ARISCE WANZER (@ariscestocrat)
Outspoken and unapologetic, Arisce Wanzer is a fashion model and the ultimate go-getter. Not only has she graced the pages of Vogue, Vogue Italia, Forbes and Purple Magazine, she has also walked the runways during New York, Los Angeles and Miami Fashion Week. A fashion enthusiast at heart, Arisce attended the Art Institute of Miami where an agent spotted her during an internship and signed her, leading to impressive bookings for Opening Ceremony campaigns and the opportunity to shoot with Patrick Demarchelier.
Arisce decided to fully transition at the age of nineteen and has always been thankful for a strong support system of family and friends in her corner. Although extremely proud of whom she is, Arisce doesn’t want to be defined as only a trans-model. Strong and independent, Arisce has learned the importance of protecting her heart and refuses to be vulnerable with others, especially when it comes to her love life. Navigating her dating life provides an opportunity to expose her vulnerability and Arisce is excited to see what awaits her when it comes to finding love. When she isn’t jet-setting around the world to high-fashion shoots, Arisce works to balance her personal reinvention, having fun with friends and enjoying the Los Angeles party scene.
For more “Strut” visit the Facebook page, join the conversation using #Strut on Twitter or add “Oxygentv” on Snapchat for exclusive show content. To access full episodes, bonus videos, photos and news about the cast, visit the official “Strut” show site on Oxygen.com.
“Strut” is produced by One Hoe Productions and 44 Blue Productions. Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Leonardis (One Hoe Productions) along with Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch and Bobby Sizemore (44 Blue Productions) serve as Executive Producers.