Model Selena Forrest Is Bisexual-ish, Also Removed Her Own Braces With Pliers

feature image via instagram

Screenshot 2016-09-06 19.36.32

17-year-old Selena Forrest is VERY BUSY. She’s starring in DKNY’s fall 2016 ad campaign and Proenza’s fall 2016 campaign, has walked in 28 shows from Rome to Paris to Rio since her first in September 2015 (Proenza Schouler), and is the subject of a feature article in New York Magazine’s The Cut this week AND one of nine “new talents to watch” profiled in Elle Magazine’s September Issue.

Also, she’s queer!

Buried deep in her interview with The Cut, she’s asked to comment on a recent Instagram post which contains a very humorous meme suggestive of a lesbian lifestyle:

💀 💀 💀 💯

A photo posted by Selena Forrest (@selenaforrest) on

Forrest’s reply:

“I love girls. Or, you know what, i just love people. So that’s what it is. I don’t really categorize it, but if there was a category, I would probably be bisexual. But I have never been with a guy.”

Firstly, I love how this is not a thing, she’s just being open and being herself. Secondly, this makes her the fifth high-profile woman of color to “come out” as bisexual this year, following Amandla Stenberg (17), Stephanie Beatriz (35), Aubrey Plaza (32) and Eva Gutowski (22) and the third woman under 18 to come out this year (that list also includes Rowan Blanchard, 14.)

Forrest is a Louisiana native who evacuated with her family after Hurricane Katrina, ultimately hopping around California for the ensuing years and switching schools a lot. She was “discovered” on her way to Huntington Beach with friends when a woman who BOUNDED out of a restaurant to ask her if she’d ever considered modeling. That woman introduced Forrest to L.A. Models, who became Forrest’s first agency. (She’s now signed with NEXT.) To up her chances of getting booked without having to pay $1,400 to her orthodontist, Forrest removed her own braces with pliers. It worked. She told The Cut that her ‘boyish walk’ was a barrier at first — she hates heels — but eventually she found that clients “started to like it.”

She also talked to The Cut about what it’s like to be one of only a few models of color on the runway:

“If your clothes look good on everybody and if you’re that confident about your clothes, then you should put them on everybody. Did you see the shoot where I was in Balenciaga just mean mugging?” [pulls up photo] “See? Black people look good in their clothes …and I look amazing!”

Agreed.

Thank you @driesvannoten 💚

A photo posted by Selena Forrest (@selenaforrest) on


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Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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15 Comments

  1. The pull-quote on the main page really made me cringe; I can’t hear “if there was a category, I would probably be bisexual” without feeling like yes, there’s a category! A lot of people worked very hard and suffered awful things to make sure it exists! you don’t have to join us, but don’t disparage the work of bi activists!

    But then I read the piece, and she’s super young and doing some amazing things in difficult circumstances (OMG the pliers story!), and I just appreciate her courage in sharing her truth in whatever words she chooses.

    Also I LOVE that line about not having been with a guy. I’m a proud bi woman (much older than her) who has only ever had sex with women–yes, we exist!–and I often find other people can’t handle my experience because it defies their stereotypes. And it’s a great counter to that cliche line about not having been with a woman that is so often used to undermine the reality of bi women’s experience.

    • I didn’t take it to mean that she was saying there IS no category, but rather, if there was a category FOR HER (which she doesn’t have to claim if she doesn’t want to), then the most accurate label would be bisexual.

      • I agree with the reply. I personally have similar feelings to her re: labels, in the sense that I’m primarily attracted to women, but I see the potential of being attracted to men (and have had at least one crush on a guy) and the same goes for people outside of the gender binary. I could identify as bisexual, because “I count” as one, but giving myself a label always felt a little constricting. I recognize that some people might find the idea of having a label and a community with people who are like you both comforting and empowering, it’s just not really my style.

    • I also love the line about not having been with a guy. I’m bi and presented as relatively butch through my late teens/early twenties, so a lot of people presumed I would eventually come out as a lesbian because obvs bi women are all actually basically straight. Nope! Still bi, always was, always will be.

    • Yeah, I very much understand what you’re saying. All the same, as a fellow bisexual, I’ve just gotten too sick of people (guys) looking at me like a piece of meat when I say I’m bisexual (or lesbian girls assuming it’s a phase, for that matter). So usually I just go with queer, or pansexual, to scare off the creepy straight guys.

      Also, good on you for sticking to your sexual identity. I spoke to an older queer woman the other day, who stopped identifying as bisexual after forty, since she’d never slept with a man and felt that she had lost the right to identify as she pleased. Damn you, bi erasure.

  2. please don’t put the removing your own braces with pliers thing on a pedestal or encourage it in any way:
    1. i’d like to see anyone who’s not a dentist or orthodontist do it and not break something they didn’t mean to
    2. even if she did do it there would still be stuff (technical term) left behind necessitating visiting a dentist to get it dealt with
    3. please don’t encourage defaulting on orthodontic debt

    sorry i couldn’t help myself but all of these things are SRS BSNS like not a joke at all and i call total BS on the whole claim.

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