She’s someone who knows all too well how a body can impose certain limits on the self. As an actor-slash-DJ-slash-model-slash-activist, multi-talent Munroe Bergdorf has used her resistance against anything deemed “normative” combined with her drive to transcend physical limitations to become a voice for the trans community. In fact, she can be regarded as a voice against body shaming or any kind of shaming, -ism, or -phobia. In doing all this she’s not afraid to stir the pot and does so with a graceful wit—see her Instagram feed to feel her powerful presence.
Would you say your work is related to body politics? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Being transgender and a woman of colour, my body is political. Throughout my life I have had to navigate myself through society’s gender and racial bias. Being transgender, female and black means I have to battle with sexual and gender taboos. So, my body is political.
Do you see your work as a form of protest?
I think if you break it down then it could be seen as a form of protest. On a more general level, women are so often told what they can and can’t do . To share an image or selfie of yourself that actively goes against what a woman should be or how a woman should behave is definitely an act of protest.
What impact do you think social media have on shaping our ideals of beauty?
On one hand, I think it’s held the beauty industry to ransom. Women don’t want to see the same, singular beauty ideal time in time again. Diversity is so important, especially when it comes to advertising, as it’s so hard to avoid. Women need to be able to recognize themselves in advertising, instead of an ideal or standard they’ll never achieve.
Do you believe your body limits you in any way? If so, (how) do you try to overcome this?
I used to feel so limited by my body, but now I see the beauty in what makes me different. I definitely see myself as a work in progress, inside and out. Self-care is so important, taking time to think about who you are, what you want and where you want to go. I thrive on solitude and private moments.
Where do you get your body confidence? Do you think it is possible to be 100% confident in your own body?
I don’t think it’s humanly possible to be 100% confident with your body, but I’m definitely at peace with my body. I think that’s more important. Of course, there’s things that I don’t like, but the weight of that really doesn’t weigh on me like it used to. It really doesn’t matter to me. I like who I am, not just how I look.
What advice would you give to your younger self regarding body positivity?
Just chill the fuck out. Stop striving for something that doesn’t exist. Nobody looks how they do in magazines first thing in the morning.
What does femininity/masculinity mean to you?
Absolutely nothing. I just wear what I want, when I want and how I want. How other people read how I look is dependent on them and their view of what I should be wearing. I just operate on a ‘see it, like it, wear it’ level. It’s really not that deep.
As a young artist, what do you daydream about?
Time. Time is such a luxury. I’m in such a great headspace at the moment, I know what I want, what I need and where I plan to go. But sometimes I just wish I had a little more time to process and unpack everything, that’s all really.