Original Interview

Meet TYLER FORD, a young creative who has the motivation to change the world and make a difference. A 24-year-old NYC-based transgender writer, LGBTQA consultant, model, and personality. They are a staff writer for Rookie as well as a contributor for MTV, where they often write about their experiences as a queer, transgender person.

TYLER not only has huge motivation, but their passion for writing has inspired over a million individuals via Tumblr, their reach into the transgender community is unmatched and it’s a truly inspiring undertaking.

Most well-known for their stint on Oxygen’s ‘The Glee Project 2’, TYLER enjoys performing as much as being a role model for queer and transgender youth. You can find them tweeting about transgender issues and providing advice for LGBTQA youth at MTV in addition to documenting their experiences on YouTube for Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation and speaking at schools across the nation.

Could you introduce yourself?

Hi! I’m Tyler Ford, a 24-year-old queer, agender poet living in NYC.

What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?

Everything comes in waves. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, and often have to remind myself that everything – hard times, anxiety attacks, periods of work, and happiness – ebbs and flows, and that it is ok to either embrace the moment or sit back and take a breath while the moment occurs. No matter how bad things may seem, nothing is permanent. Things may not work out the way I want them to, but I always make it through, and there is always a better wave ahead.

Could you tell us one change you would like to see in the world?

The collapse of cisheteropatriarchy.

How has fashion changed your perspective and outlook on life?

Fashion makes life more fun and allows me to be creative and expressive with my appearance. For years, I didn’t allow myself to wear what I wanted, out of fear of the way I’d be perceived and treated. Once I realized I’d never fit into a box and would never want to, I freed myself and started wearing what I was really comfortable with – crop tops, winged eyeliner, floral boots, and nail polish. I’ve never been happier.

If you had to choose one song to describe your style, what would it be and why?

On a bad day: “I’m In Here” (Piano/Vocal version) – Sia I’m in here / Can anybody see me? – I often don’t feel seen, regardless of what I wear. I’m cryin’ out / I’m breakin’ down / I am feelin’ it all / Stuck inside these walls – I feel trapped in other people’s perceptions of me, stuck inside the gendered assumptions people attach to clothing and bodies.

On a good day: “Yoncé” – Beyoncé because I am killin’ it out here.

Could you tell us your thoughts on the representation of poc in today’s fashion industry? Do you feel that it’s grown in this generation?

We need more people of color (including trans, queer, disabled, and other marginalized people) in every aspect of the industry. The fashion industry should represent what the world looks like – not what .001% of the world looks like.

What are your thoughts on the role feminism has been playing in fashion today? Do you feel that this generation is making a change for the better?

Feminism is why I’m able to wear what I want to wear. Before discovering feminism, I was insecure about expressing myself, claiming my cuteness, and asserting my confidence. Now, I refuse to be ashamed of my body, I refuse to hide who I am, and I know I have the right to feel and be beautiful and badass. I think this generation is amazing – I am incredibly inspired by all of my feminist friends and peers, who they are, and the work that they do.

How does 90’s fashion play a role in your day to day wardrobe?

A lot of my wardrobe screams 90’s because I’m very into basic, comfortable clothing. I have one flannel that I wear all the time, and my tattoo choker looks much better on me now than it did when I was 7. I don’t really pick something up and go “this is so 90’s!” – it’s more that I see something cute, put it on and think, “wow, I’m like a punk, grown-up Susie Carmichael (from Rugrats) right now.”

What was your experience with MTV recently like? Do you mind telling us about it?

I had a really fantastic time at the prom photo shoot. It was actually the most comfortable and fun shoot I’ve ever been a part of, and the whole piece was done beautifully. As for writing for MTV, I am thankful to be working with a really wonderful, receptive, and respectful editor. (Hi, Brenna!)

On a more personal note, what inspires your color choices when it comes to your hair? (ps. we absolutely love all of them!)

Thank you! I had wanted pink braids for months and one day, my best friend was like, “Do you want to get your hair done today? Good. Let’s do it immediately.” I’d never had my hair braided before, so I was nervous, but I ended up absolutely loving it. This most recent time, I wanted lavender braids, but we couldn’t find lavender hair anywhere! I suggested sky blue and white, and my hairstylist came back with turquoise and grey. So. There it was.

In terms of music, who have you been listening to lately?

My friend Chrysanthe Tan, whose album ‘Stories’ comes out in July! She’s a brilliant composer and her music renders me speechless.

Where do you find sanctuary in the rush of the world, where do you find peace?

Amongst the trees. Bookstores are a close second.

Are there any other projects you have your heart set on for the future, that you don’t mind sharing?

I’m coming out with a line of T-Shirts and other merch very soon! The shirts all have my mottos and/or my poetry on them. I’m really excited about it.

What makes you happy?

Thinking about endless possibilities; personal growth; being in nature; the happiness, success, and support of my inspiring friends; traveling; writing; creating; reading; singing; music.

Any closing comments?

Never shrink yourself for the sake of other people’s comfort. Breathe. Expand. You deserve to be here.