GRACE TALKS TO US ABOUT BLENDING AND INFILTRATING THE INDUSTRY, DREAM CAMPAIGNS, WEIRD HOBBIES, KNOWING RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF REPTILE KNOWLEDGE, COFFEE SHOP HOPPING, AND MORE.
Photography: Mark Mendez
Tell us about your story. Who is Oslo? How would you describe yourself to a total stranger?
I’m just a suburban kid who was suddenly given a larger voice for the world to open some minds. I’m a tall lanky person with some boy and some girl in me who is just trying to figure out my path.
How did modeling start for you? How were you scouted?
I did some modeling for a few months when I was 16, but that soon fell through. I revisited it after a college sports injury and I’ve been doing it ever since. I was scouted online.
How is it like to blend in and actually break barriers from one show to another?
Blending in as both genders brings a unique experience. I put one hat on and pass as a girl, and put another hat on the same day and pass as a boy. But the blending means that I’m able to infiltrate the industry in a way that isn’t obvious unless people are aware of my press. It’s like living a double life. I never know what people know of me before I walk in a room. I always have to have my armour on.
Being a successful openly gender-neutral, gender-queer, trans person working in the fashion industry right now, do you ever feel like you now have a bigger role and responsibility to the LGBTQ community as a whole?
The responsibility I feel in the queer community is to make sure I provide support or action if a group of us are being persecuted. It’s mostly a sense of solidarity that I think is unique to us. But I don’t feel a responsibility to conduct my platform in a specific way. The most powerful thing for me has been just sharing what I feel is authentic and not trying to be anything else. My biggest responsibility is living by where god and spirit pull me to go, and to spread that word as I navigate life.
You have been using social media as a bigger platform for your voice and identity. Based from the reactions that you get online, do you think we still have a long way to go as humans?
Yes, I think we do have a ways to go, especially internationally. But I also feel some comfort knowing that our queer community is only growing, will stand up for injustice, and won’t ever disappear. My hope is that the rest of the world who have yet to accept us will either join our side or realize we will live and love without them.
Favorite / memorable shows that you walked so far and why?
Favorite shows: Gucci Cruise 2019 had a divine energy, I can’t describe the feeling. Kenzo SS19 was a complete shock to get and the show where I realized I was being taken seriously as a male model, Balenciaga was my first big show in menswear (this was the show where my “dream came true”), and my first ever show Gucci SS18 that I closed, which will forever be in my memory. The sets for all those shows were incredible.
The dream right now is Dior Homme or something with Calvin.
What do you think is the turning point of your career?
The turning point was Jeremy Scott bringing me to Milan to close the Moschino show side by side with Violet Chachki back in January.
Walk us to a day in the life of Oslo. What keeps you busy aside from modeling?
My brothers really occupy my day to day, my dog Naga feels like a daughter to me, and I love a balance between walking exploring everywhere and chilling with friends. I have some weird hobbies like loving baby names, knowing a ridiculous amount of reptile knowledge, but also just coffee shop hopping, bookstores, fashion. Partying isn’t really my thing, I just like to chill, travel, and share space with people.
What inspires you?
’m inspired by a lot of different people, but overall my spirituality kind of fuels me on a daily basis, images in general really speak to me. I love to get lost in my inspo albums, wherever those may be. Traveling with close friends. People who aren’t afraid of vulnerability, cities lit up at night.
Any advice to anyone who wants to be a model?
Be consistent on Instagram and don’t over edit your posts if you’re trying to get scouted as a new face. Go to open calls instead of submitting photos online whenever possible. Good luck!
If you are a book, what kind of book are you and why?
I think I would be a historical non-fiction romance hahaha. People say I’m old on the inside and I’m for sure a lover.
If you will be given the chance to help any charity, what would it be and why?
These aren’t all necessarily charities, but I want to follow the example of the Jane Goodall institute, NOAA, Leonardo DiCaprio foundation, and Planned parenthood. Those came to mind first.
Interview: IRVIN RIVERA
Photography: MARK MENDEZ
Styling: ANDREW PHILIP NGUYEN
Leather Pieces: MONGQ TRAN