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Move Over, Tyra: Whoopi Goldberg Producing Modeling Show With Transgender Cast

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

If America’s Next Top Model‘s casting of a transgender model in 2008 was a small step for the LGBT community, Whoopi Goldberg’s new project is a more powerfully pronounced strut.

According to VarietyGoldberg will serve as executive producer for a new Oxygen modeling show that exclusively follows transgender models called Strut. The series will center on agency Slay Model Management — the first with an all-transgender clientele — as its fashion prospects pursue their dreams while battling the field’s more conventional standards of beauty.

Goldberg told the site she hopes the show will encourage viewers to look beyond the show’s obvious novelty and understand that those featured have dreams that are independent of their gender identities.

“This show is important right now because for all of the positive advances the community has made and continues to make, transgender is still a hot-button word that gets people hysterical,” Goldberg said. “People tend to focus on the stereotype instead of the person, and this series will give viewers a unique opportunity to spend time with real people who are struggling with the same challenges we all face as we make our way through the world. You may even be surprised to discover that you have been seeing and interacting with transgender men and women in ways you didn’t even realize!”

Oxygen Executive Vice President Rod Aissa added that viewers can count on some serious tension, but resolution, too.

“These individuals will empower viewers as they live their lives fully and unapologetically, despite facing many obstacles throughout their journey,” he said.

And Strut‘s cast has every reason to shoot for the moon — in 2015, Allure published a feature with eight of the fashion industry’s most successful transgender models who have collectively shot campaigns for Rimmel, Givenchy and Redken; appeared in W and Vogue; signed with IMG and Elite agencies and appeared in Transparent and Ricki and the Flash.

What do you think of Strut‘s concept? Tell us if you’ll watch.

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