Meet the inspirational Irish model who's smashing the gender binary.

Meet Ivan Fahy, an androgynous, gender-expressive model from Ireland.

Ivan uses male pronouns, but he doesn't confine himself to simply being "male."

"My gender and its expression is more than what the male gender binary permits," he said.


And because of that, Ivan is breaking barriers right and left when it comes to modeling. "My photos show that boys do wear makeup, boys do wear high heels," Ivan said in an interview with the creative agency Thinkhouse. "I'm a boy, I am wearing them, and we do exist."

"Having this platform means a lot to me because I know it will send out positive messages about self-acceptance and the acceptance of others." All images from Thinkhouse/YouTube.

That language is integral to Ivan's identity. And so is the fact that, well, he knows how to werk.

As a generally expressive and artistic person, Ivan was always drawn to modeling — to creating impactful moments with just his body as a canvas. But once he actually began modeling professionally after secondary school, he says something felt … off.

Ivan realized that it wasn't modeling itself that was bothering him — it was the boring, uninspiring act of modeling as a male. "I deserve to be embraced as a model that is feminine," he told Upworthy. "My gender allows me to be more imaginative and bold because I don't care about labels or boxes and this excites many people."

"I would love to work with the world's biggest designers and be the face of a few brands, not just because that would be amazing for obvious reasons, but because it would show that people are becoming more brave and inclusive."

Even as he made a name for himself with his fierceness on camera, Ivan didn't wear heels in public until his college graduation.

It sounds like a small victory for someone who had already begun to embrace his gender-expressive self. But he says wearing heels to his graduation from NUI Galway was a major step in helping him come into his own.

"Being a model gave me the confidence and tenacity to do it," he said. "I didn't like the idea that I am this fabulous and confident expressive model online that people look up to and admire, but in real life I hide away and conform."

Of course, the art of modeling can't take all the credit. Some of that belongs to his mother, too. He says that on the day before graduation, she told him that people might think or say mean things, but she raised him to be strong and brave. So in the end, he put on those heels and marched proudly across the stage.

"I am lucky to have family and friends that accept me. The stares and opinions of others can upset me sometimes, but everyone close to me is amazing."

Ivan certainly isn't the first or even biggest name in genderqueer modeling. But that doesn't mean he's not worth celebrating.

U.S. readers might be familiar with names like Ruby Rose, Rain Dove, and Ryley Pogensky. And in Ivan's native Ireland, RTÉ news anchor Jonathan-Rachel Cynch came out as gender fluid in 2015.

But Ivan's visibility as an LGBTQ role model is really important, especially in a country so strongly associated with its own Catholic history. Although Ireland is coming around to genderfluidity, Ivan says there's a lot of work still to be done. "There are still high levels of homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, self-harm, suicide, etc., in Ireland and these need to be addressed immediately," he said.

That's why, in addition to his stunning and inspirational modeling work, Ivan also offers workshops and talks about gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ inclusiveness, including a recent one at TEDx Galway.

"If a guy says 'Ivan's cool, I love his high heels,' [other people ask him] 'Are you gay?' But why do you care? Instead of it just being, 'I'm appreciating the picture. It's art.'"

While his modeling skills have largely been embraced, Ivan has still encountered some resistance to his gender expression.

"Many brands and designers are afraid to be pioneering," he said. "Some of these barriers are too great to simply overcome because we are talking about people's beliefs and their willingness to take risks."

Not all of Ivan's professional struggles have to do with his gender, though. He also encounters the same false promises and untrustworthy people that anyone in the fashion world has to deal with. It's still not ideal, but if he's going to have to put up with any frustrations, it's better to be faced with industry-wide problems than continue to be held back because of who he is.

"If someone works with me, all of a sudden they are doing it for 'attention' or 'publicity' and it's not true. They might just be working for me because they like me as a model."

Ivan's work is an inspiring example of just how far our society has come in celebrating beauty in every gender.

Gender has never been as strict or simple as we try to make it out to be. There's still a ways to go, of course — as evidenced by the barriers that Ivan himself has had to face.

But as his stunning vogue has shown us, sometimes a little bit of self-confidence is all it takes to break through and inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Whether they walk in heels should be entirely up to them.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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