Pioneering model Tracey Africa Norman broke barriers in the late ’70s and early ’80s be becoming the first black trans model to work in the mainstream fashion industry. Norman, who was discovered by famed fashion photographer Irving Penn, she soon landed a contract with Clairol and frequently appeared in the pages of Essence Magazine. Norman passed as a cisgender woman, but was eventually outed. The revelation brought her modeling career to an abrupt end.
Norman was introduced to a new generation via an in depth profile in New York Magazine, published last December. Profiles in the London Times and Marie Claire South Africa soon followed. Norman attended the GLAAD Awards and even got a shout out from trans actress and activist Laverne Cox.
The article also revived interest in her modeling career. After an ad agency reached out to Norman and connected her with Clairol, she agreed to appear in ads for the company, 35 years after she had initially worked for them. Norman is now the new face of the Clairol Nice ’n Easy “Color As Real As You Are” campaign.
To an outsider, Tracey Norman had it all. She was a sought after model who graced the pages of top fashion magazines and had her face on a box of Clairol hair color. Inside, she was harboring a secret: she was transgender. When her secret was revealed, her modeling career came to an abrupt end. Now, 35 years later, she’s back modeling for Nice ‘n Easy, a hair color brand that believes in letting the real you shine through.