The NuAuthentic is a 196-page visual exploration and portrayal of 100 of the most intriguingly beautiful genderfluid and transgender individuals in New York City. The book by photographer Roger Moenks with curator Shelly Brown sets out to underscore the triumphs, struggles and powerful beauty of its non-conformist subjects who are “free to be” through self-expression, self-acceptance and love. Life may have been much simpler when people were divided into two genders, male and female, but today’s new reality reveals that a full-spectrum of beauty may be found through the freedom to express oneself in non-traditional ways and through a rainbow of colors.
New York City-based photographer, Roger Moenks has published other books highlighting inspirational beauty including The Class of Click (featuring Click Agency’s most notable models), Inheriting Beauty, and I Am Eco-Warrior: Portraits From The Front Lines Of The Sustainability Revolution, however this is his first book portraying the transgender community through individualpersonal expression, creative freedom, and the ability to embrace one’s identity and proclaim it with a spectacular boldness.
“Today gender is actually an ever-expanding continuum comprised of authentic warriors who dared to be who they want to be and claim their right to express themselves freely, making them all the more beautiful and intriguing subjects to photograph,” says Roger Moenks. “The exciting thing about today’s social landscape is that you can’t assume anyone is either a ‘he’ or a ‘she’, nor can you presume they are just one of those two possibilities. It’s up to them to tell you how they identify, and you just might be surprised by what they say.”
“Gender is optional, expression is everything,” adds Shelly Brown. “Diversity and differences are to be celebrated and supported. My role as curator for The NuAauthentic was a labor of love since I recently lost my 28-year old trans sister who struggled in life and found solace and love in the transgender community which gave her the freedom and acceptance to reveal her beautiful soul. The book is a testament to those trailblazers who took abuse from their families, schools, communities, and stayed true to their individual beauty. We salute you with love, acceptance and respect.”
Transgender and genderfluid people have always come to the nightlife, a world of inclusion where one is accepted and applauded for the very features that may have gotten them bullied in the high school cafeteria and ostracized in everyday life.
Susanne Bartsch known as “Queen of the Night” for her iconic club nights, special events and show productions representative of New York City nightlife graces the cover of The NuAuthentic. She was instrumental in promoting the drag queen and House Ball scenes and also gave rise to the careers of such notables as RuPaul and Marc Jacobs. She continues to create an Avant Garde club landscape in which people are art and use their looks to make bold fashion statements and continues to provide the space and freedom for people to express themselves.
Rob Smith, CEO and founder of The Phluid Project, the world’s first gender-free retail store and global movement, is also portrayed in the book. The concept of non-gender clothing designed by Phluid and independent artists were carried by Phluid and featured throughout the book.
MILA JAM is a model, actress and pop recording “artivist” who had always celebrated diversity and the different gender expressions. According to MILA JAM, “The NuAuthentic is a snapshot in time that commemorates the trans movement as another slice of life to be celebrated. As we find strikingly beautiful differences in plant and animal species, we can also find exquisite differences in how we view humanity.”
The NuAuthentic speaks to Bradley Miller, who is also portrayed in the book, because it is representative of “who I am.” “The trans community has to face pain and adversity to be who we are, but it also shows the world that we can be loved and beautiful.”
Trans people are continually targeted with bigotry and hatred. And so, trans and gender nonconforming people are left to fight the battles of everyday life, which they do with flair, activism, and chutzpah. The NuAuthentic captures them in all their gutsy glory and will retail for $75.00 on Amazon.com beginning December 10th. Proceeds from The NuAuthentic will be 100% donated to LGBTQ youth programs.