Ever since she was a child growing up in Sampaloc, a district of the Philippine capital city of Manila, Maria Rivera dreamed of walking runways. She idolized supermodels like Kate Moss and followed the exploits of Sex and the City’s troupe of stylish young women. But because Rivera was trans and had darker skin, she hardly ever saw herself represented on billboards or in the pages of glossy fashion magazines.
“It has always been my dream to strut in high heels while doing my catwalk wearing top fashion houses,” Rivera said recently. “But being a trans woman growing up in