Thursday, March 25, 2010

Androgyny or Femininity?

Which characteristic made you a fan of Freja's in the first place?

A comment by reader Miranda on this post got me thinking, and now I'm curious to know, what side of Freja were you drawn to first? And what side remains your favorite? I've made no qualms about my preference for her feminine side, but I also realize that some of you probably only got to know Freja when androgyny dominated her career landscape. So the million dollar question is: Androgyny or femininity?

I made the classic and callous mistake of assuming that everyone felt the same way about the topic as I did, but many of the comments regarding Freja's i-D cover have proven me wrong and shown me that there are a fair number of you out there who prefer her androgynous side.

Perhaps our preferences are just a result of whichever aspect we encountered first? I'm generalizing of course, but it seems like the old school fans love the girlishness while the newer fans love the toughness. The old timers remember the impish teenager from Denmark with the wonderful smile while the newer fans reveal in the brooding New Yorker dressed in head-to-toe black. Despite all my mumblings and severe overuse of the words androgyny and femininity in one post, I do have a point here.

Regardless of what we prefer and how we all came to be known as fans....all these things-these differences-just provide more proof as to what a special model Freja truly is. It's really amazing that she can attract such a wide array of fans based on two characteristics that sit on opposite ends of a spectrum. That speaks to a true and very rare modeling talent. She's the chalice that holds all the different ideals that we use to make the measure of a good model. And I really can't think of another one who has such different appeals to different people. But at the same time, her personality and uniqueness are not lost, but in fact seemingly magnified. It's really quite a paradox and this is what keeps me so intrigued. For with each chapter of Freja's career the paradox seems to grows stronger. Her recent surge in work has increased the scrutiny of her off-duty persona and life. I feel like she has become more "known" than ever before. (Or maybe just more obsessed over. It's a fine line.) Yet at the same time, her work continues to display this wonderful diversity and versatility whereby we'll see her looking demure on the cover of VI one month to looking tough on the cover of i-D in another month. Or we'll see her going from slick and sleek in Vogue UK to 80's glam in W Magazine. All the while you always get the sense that you're looking at something that's utterly Freja-ish.

To be so malleable and yet so distinct is quite a feat and something that Freja's is never given enough credit for. So maybe the answer to my question isn't either or....maybe it's both?


Bregje said...

I think I noticed her ~4 years ago - loved the long hair, the bangs, the Kawasakis and "the scarf" . While I like her versatility and the occasional androgynous photoshoot, I definitely prefer a feminine styling.

o.calypso said...

She's very cute with her bangs and scarf, yes.
But to me she STANDS OUT in androgyny.

Anonymous said...

I never paid attention to her until she cut her hair. So I guess I prefer her androgynous side, though she's a great model either way.

SF said...

femininity. her Gucci ad with Hilary and Caroline made me realized how much prettier she was.
remember her head bobble when she use to walk? LOL

i don't think a haircut can make one Androgynous.styling is everything.her appearance at Rock & Republic was really feminine yet tough.

Rrose Sélavy said...

@SF: Yes! I loved that head bobble. LOL. And Hilary is a model who I always thought would do so well with androgyny because her face can be quite manly. At least, more manly than Freja's imo.

SF said...

Hilary was very 'macho' LOL she has done some androgynous shoots before but they were of the 'sexier' variety. actually there are a lot of models who are far more androgynous than Freja but because of you know what people tend to over look that.

Laurianne said...

Her androgynous side caught my eyes first because it was very close to my own style and rare in this industry.
But then I discovered Feminine Freja, and I have to say that I really like it too.
Actually the more important thing is the reason why I'm still drawn to her after all this time: she can be as androgynous as feminine, so easily.

maud said...

same here, the androgynous side first caught my attention, then the feminine side was all the more beautiful to discover...

Anonymous said...

For personal style, I love the old Freja with the full fringe and long hair, blue jeans and cheeky smile, but for editorials I love seeing her do androgynous. While her face is very feminine, her figure is very straight and boyish, which I think is such beautiful contrast.

Rrose Sélavy said...

@maud: Ahhhh, I LOVE, love, love your blog. Didn't know you were a Freja fan. :)

@Sara: Wonderful point. That contrast between the face and body is amazing. She naturally embodies both extremes without even trying.

Anonymous said...

i only became a big fan after she cut her hair but i love both androgynous and feminine styling on her. i think she's awesome cause she can do both so well. and haha i love her dimples as well as and her attitude! freja is just so full or these contrasts making her really unique.

Miranda said...

Oh, man, I feel so happy that I sort of was able to prompt you to make this post.

Getting back on track... it's probably already evident that I am a rather recent follower of Freja's (it has only been perhaps a year since I started developing an interest in fashion) so I would agree with your point.

"She's the chalice that holds all the different ideals that we use to make the measure of a good model."

I love your metaphors.

What you have expressed makes total sense to me.

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Anonymous said...

I've been a fan of Freja's from the start but I always sensed a bit of a "boyish" charm beneath the innocent long hair. So when she finally chopped it off and exuded more of her true self it was a breath of fresh air. Like andro models before her, they all go through a sort of self discovery period in which they experiment more with the style that is closer to their own personal taste.

Take Amanda Moore and Tasha Tilberg for example. They too entered modeling with a more feminine look and then at their height rebelled and went against the grain. And depending on agencies and current economy they either learn to balance expectations of their visual look or just stick to their personal aesthetic.

I think in Freja's case she realized it's much more marketable to sit on the fence and play on either side when opposed to only showing the world one face. Either way she's a gifted, beautiful human being. I myself prefer androgyny overall in any model...but I truly appreciate the ones that are capable of being true chameleons.

COCAMIA said...

I am a big fan of her when she does Androgyny!!! Its the main reason why I love her so much!

Rrose Sélavy said...

@taschkaturnquist: Thanks for your thoughtful, beautiful comment. You make such excellent points throughout.

In fact, thanks to everyone for ALL the comments. They have all be very insightful and eye opening. They're causing me to think and reflect even more...and they're a source of inspiration in themselves. :) Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and insights!

Anonymous said...

you're right again
I fall in love with her Versatility

Anonymous said...

andro, always that! becuase i'm a big gay and 'my type', as it were, is those adorable boi-dykes.
what i like, though, is that she can do girly just as well, most andro/boi dykes look a bit like they're in drag when they're girled up. so i always thought that was really cool. definately a talent!