Tuesday 6th August

| BY Ted Stansfield

From 10+ Issue Two: Ten Meets Finn Buchanan, The Tightrope Walker Turned Fashion Poster Boy

Les Blés earrings in white gold with diamonds by Chanel Fine Jewellery

Finn Buchanan is talking about the real housewives. Slumped in an office chair at Ten Towers, the 17-year-old model is explaining how his girlfriend recently introduced him to the reality TV show and how he’s hooked. Erika Girardi – the singer and actress who says she’d just be “another rich bitch with a plane” without her alter ego Erika Jayne – is his favourite.“The show has turned me into a bitch,” says Buchanan. “We were watching it for three days and then my girlfriend lost my keys and I was like, ‘What the fuck do you think you are doing?!’ I’ve turned into a real housewife of Soho.”

While he’s not actually turning into a real housewife, obviously, Buchanan is becoming one of the most-talked-about models in fashion. Discovered during the summer of 2017 in a Sainsbury’s in Finsbury Park, North London, while he was buying a toothbrush, he soon caught the attention of stylist Katie Grand and casting director Anita Bitton and landed a spot in Miu Miu’s cruise 2019 show. There, he appeared on the catwalk alongside actresses Rowan Blanchard, Chloë Sevigny, Gwendoline Christie and Uma Thurman, as well as models including Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek and Adwoa Aboah. Not bad for a first turn. In the months that followed, Buchanan walked for John Galliano at Maison Margiela and Hedi Slimane at Celine, where he was the first openly trans man to model for the house. He also featured in a Marc Jacobs campaign shot by Juergen Teller, starred on the cover of Dazed, shot by Sharna Osborne, and was included in our very own 10 Men, shot by Marcus Schaefer and styled by Harry Lambert. All this at 17. It’s a good thing he needed that toothbrush.

Today, though, he’s not dressed in Maison Margiela Artisanal, slightly to my disappointment. With a fresh face and an equally fresh buzz cut (in a shade not too dissimilar to Erika Jayne’s), he’s wearing a pair of Dior trackies, a vintage Polo Ralph Lauren padded jacket, a Supreme T-shirt and, so he tells me, some Supreme pants, too. While it’s not couture, this is his fanciest get- up (he’s off to an event later.)

“John Galliano has made me feel very at home, backstage and on the runway,” he says of the designer, who he has modelled for multiple times now.“If I had the money I would buy all of his clothes.” He’s a fan of Slimane, too, although he dodges the question of which Celine he prefers, diplomatically responding, “New Celine is nice and old Celine is nice, too.” Shrewd.

No 18 necklace in platinum with pink spinel, onyx and diamonds by Chanel Fine Jewellery

Despite his already-lengthy list of fashion credentials, Buchanan wears his success lightly, brushing off these achievements. His humility might have something to do with the fact that a career in modelling was never something he anticipated, let alone pursued. “This wasn’t my dream,” he says. “I never dreamed of this. I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’m getting, but when I walk these shows, what I’m really taking from it is meeting the designer, meeting the stylist – I’m building up contacts.” Buchanan, it transpires, would rather be on the other side of the camera, styling or even designing the clothes, as opposed to modelling them.

That said, when asked what he’d buy if money was no object, he again demonstrates a strong knowledge of fashion – and his sense of humour. “I’d buy the Dior men’s accessories collection, which is fucking beautiful,” he says in reference to Kim Jones’ designs for the French house. “And I’d go to Supreme and buy everything and then burn it in front of all the people queuing outside because it’s such a waste of time. Actually, I say that, but I am wearing two pieces of Supreme right now.”

While the cards are falling in Buchanan’s favour now, things haven’t always been easy for him. Born and raised in London, not far from that Sainsbury’s in Finsbury Park, he describes his upbringing as, “Middle class. White. Privileged.” But he struggled at school, finding everything beyond monotonous, with the exception of the arts. “I went to primary school, didn’t like it,” he says. “Went to secondary school, didn’t like it. Went to college for a bit, didn’t like it, dropped out. Didn’t like wearing uniforms. Didn’t really show an interest in anything apart from creativity.”

He has had a somewhat fraught relationship with his family and, to top things off, he experienced a bereavement at an early age – his best friend, Finn, passed away; it was his name he took when he came out as trans. “I was six and so I think his actual death didn’t really hit me too much then, but looking back on it, I think how different my life would have been if he hadn’t died,” he says. “I had one best friend and then I didn’t have my best friend.”

To further add to his struggles, Buchanan suffers from scoliosis, a medical condition where the spine twists and curves to the side, meaning that one of his lungs is being crushed and he’s in near-constant pain – “which is super fun for when you’re standing up all day for a casting,” he says, sarcastically. He’s on a six-year waiting list for surgery and has started a GoFundMe page to try to raise funds to get the procedure done sooner and privately. He plans to start selling T-shirts to raise money, too.

Les Blés earrings in white gold with diamonds and Signature bracelet in white gold with rock crystal and diamonds by Chanel Fine Jewellery

In spite of all of this, Buchanan says that things are, steadily, improving. He’s found something he’s good at for a start, and he has met someone he loves – Maxim Magnus – who is herself a model. Hailing from Belgium, she has walked for Charles Jeffrey and Schiaparelli, as well as starred in Second Summer of Love: Italo Disco, a film created last year in a collaboration between Frieze and Gucci.“My agency were like, ‘You’re both trans, you should meet,’” says Buchanan of how they got together. “She was meant to be my mentor, but we met for coffee and I fell in love with her and then, two months later, she fell in love with me.” Touted by Vogue as “couture week’s coolest couple” this January, the pair now live together in Soho and are going to tonight’s event together.

Trans representation in the fashion industry has undoubtedly improved in recent times. It has become not just normal but expected to see trans and non-binary models such as Buchanan and Magnus on the runway and in magazines. Folk such as Hari Nef, Munroe Bergdorf, Teddy Quinlivan and Nathan Westling, to name but a few, have blazed the way – not only raising the visibility of trans people but drawing attention to the issues they as a community face. And this isn’t limited to the realm of emerging designers and progressive publications, but established designers and mainstream mags, too. Buchanan himself has worked as a womens- and menswear model, demonstrating the industry’s rapidly relaxing attitudes to gender – though he now wants to focus on menswear.

But while we’ve come a long way, there’s still a way to go. While Buchanan is clearly very comfortable and confident in his gender identity, I was interested to know how he feels about being constantly labelled and headlined as a “trans model”. He didn’t hold back. “I hate it. No one ever talks about ‘cisgender models’. I’m just a model. I have never done a naked shoot and the fact that I’ve got a vagina really isn’t relevant to the fact that I’m a boy. I don’t know what’s wrong with being a model and being clearly transgender, but it still needs to be my title. It’s like no one will let me forget it.

No 18 necklace in platinum with pink spinel, onyx and diamonds by Chanel Fine Jewellery

“Maxim says being transgender is like a life sentence. You are always going to be trans. But that doesn’t make you different. By being trans, you’re exactly like a cisgender person, apart from the fact that you’ve got the genitals that society says are the wrong ones for your gender. It’s like, let me just be a boy, let me just be a male model, but it’s always about being transgender.”

It’s hard to imagine how frustrating this must be, to have your entire existence consistently defined by and reduced to just one aspect of it. As he says, “I’m a boy with tits, which is great, but it’s not a personality trait.” Spend any amount of time with Buchanan and you’ll see that his gender identity is indeed just one part of him. He’s a talented model, an aspiring stylist, a vegan and a trained tightrope walker (more on that shortly); he likes The Real Housewives, Radiohead, Pulp, The Clash and The Rolling Stones; he enjoys skateboarding and road cycling and has recently learnt how to make dumplings.

OK, back to the tightrope walking. I read about this in a previous interview Buchanan had given and had to ask. “My brother did football on Sundays. I’m more into basketball, but there’s no real basketball club in north London. So my parents were like, ‘What do we do with you on a Sunday?’” The answer was the National Youth Circus, which Buchanan enrolled in and attended every Sunday for the next five years. “I can walk a 30ft-high, 30ft-long high wire without any poles to keep myself balanced,” he says of his skills, which are now apparently a bit rusty. “I can unicycle, too.”

While his circus training might not have prepared him for the world of fashion – which, true, is a circus of a rather different variety – Buchanan is definitely set to scale its heights. Get used to this face – you’re going to be seeing a lot more of it.

10+ ISSUE TWO – EVERYONE, VOCAL, TOGETHER is available to order HERE.


Les Blés earrings in white gold with diamonds by Chanel Fine Jewellery

Photographer Derek Ridgers
Fashion Editor Sophia Neophitou
Make-up Daniel Sallstrom at Management Artists using Lumière et Contraste and L’Eau Micellaire by Chanel
Model Finn Buchanan at New Madison
Nail technician Laura Forget at ArtList
Sittings Editor Garth Spencer
Photographer’s assistant Maxime Leyvastre

Fashion assistants Joel Traptow and Helena Fletcher