Philippine-born Jullian Culas has been modelling in Asia and across the world for seven years, and is sought after for his curly hair, slim physique and capacity for embodying both feminine and masculine qualities. While androgyny and gender fluidity are popular in the west, they are “definitely still an acquired taste” in much of Asia, Culas says.
“Markets such as New York and Europe undoubtedly celebrate this look and know how to work it. But for the more commercial and mass markets like the Philippines and some parts of Asia, not so much.” He believes that change starts within, and it will happen as brands open up to diversified looks, and social media enables more discussion about inclusivity: “it also heavily relies on key influential cities in Asia embracing and establishing this culture. Exposure and awareness are key.”
Asa model, you should be true to yourself. That’s the first rule— Jullian Culas
In your experience, how much does the “androgyny” identity and label matter in the modelling industry?
It does matter in the sense that acknowledging and respecting someone’s identity is very important, most especially in this industry. As a model, you should be true to yourself. That’s the first rule.
But sometimes, it comes to a point where, regrettably, these labels actually limit us. I can only speak from [my] experience, but it’s quite tough being an androgynous model in Manila. I had to experience New York and Paris to fully discover, embrace and execute this look altogether, and only by then be widely appreciated when I return home. Ultimately, I am a model, I know what I’m doing and I’m good at it. That’s what matters.