The 27th of May saw the 16th season of Germany’ Next Top Model come to an end. The winner, Alex-Mariah Peter, made history as the first trans woman to take home the crown. The 23-year-old model faced tough competition, including runner-up Dascha Carriero, a plus-size model with Ukrainian roots.
Alex-Mariah Peter. Photo: Germany's Next Topmodel via Facebook
Peter has a mixed heritage herself, with her mother and father coming from South Korea and South Africa respectively. Having won the title, as well as a 100,000 Euro cash prize and a brand new car, Peter was quickly booked for Lena Gercke’s fashion label as well as Galvan London.
The model is currently a student of Journalism and Corporate Communications at university in Cologne. Peter came out as transgender at 21 years old, choosing to undergo gender reassignment surgery soon after.
Opening up about what being trans means to her identity, Peter told Klum: “I am a trans woman, yes. But first and foremost I am a woman. Being different is much more normal than we admit to ourselves.” When asked about what led her to victory, the model attributed her success to “diligence, perseverance, ambition and perhaps a pinch of luck.”
In a recent interview with VIP.de, Peter spoke candidly about her mental health, sharing that she has been in therapy for years; the model still believes this was the right step for her to take. Therapy isn’t there to give her answers or serve as a guide, rather, it is a place where Peter has learnt to reflect, develop a more sober attitude towards issues and view situations more rationally.
When contemplating why therapy is still quite a taboo topic in Germany, the model argues this stems from negative connotations with the word, resulting in people’s reluctance to seek help. “If you’re ashamed of something – especially when it comes to mental health – you won’t be able to work on improving it”, suggests Peter.
Heidi Klum with Alex-Mariah Peter and the Harper's Bazaar cover. Photo: Jörn Freynick via Facebook The victorious model has already featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and her momentous win has been openly celebrated by model Stefanie Giesinger, winner of GNTM in 2014, amongst many others. Alex Mariah Peter’s success is a win for the LGBTQ+ community and marks the start of a new, exciting chapter in her modelling career.