Emerging Norwegian model Emma Ellingsen is currently one of the hottest names on Scandi social media, her looks, wit, and laidback style has given her a following close to the 300k mark on YouTube and Instagram, but Ellingsen wants to be clear about one thing—she was born in the wrong body.
“I love talking about my story and helping to normalize being born in the wrong body,” explains Ellingsen, also a spokesperson for the local and international transgender community. She was eight years old when she first realized her gender identity did not match her biological sex, 13 years old when she appeared in a documentary by Norwegian TV2 called Born In The Wrong Body, and 15 when she came out to her followers as a trans woman in a viral YouTube video. The video also marked her pivot to English-language videos.
Has that moment complicated her career in the spotlight? “I see how you can feel a lot of pressure when you're a public figure, but I'm just trying to do what I want and to be myself while doing it,” says Ellingsen.
Now only 17, the young model counts several cover stories for Norwegian fashion mags as well as appearances in international publications like W magazine among her fashion credits. This early attention does not scare Ellingsen, however, it ignites her. “Because my follower count is high it has given me the opportunity to do a lot of things I normally wouldn’t have been able to,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to work with multiple brands and been in contact with several modelling agencies.”
Her Instagram is filled with cute selfies and inspirational posts, whilst her 270k followers on YouTube can enjoy quirky and fun makeup tutorials and silly videos she makes with her friends. But, more than that, Ellingsen’s courage and openness have spread across the world through her social media channels, creating a voice for the younger generation transitioning into who they really are.
“I am happy to be able to share my story and to help people in the same situation,” she explains. “ I want to be remembered as someone who helped normalise being born in the wrong body, not to mention my videos and the fact that I have stayed true to who I really am all this time.”
Hair: Paal Lundhaug
Makeup: Linda Wickmann
Producers: Yael Quint, Sander Stenbakk
Stylist Assistants: Tine Nielsen, Ragnhild-Marie Nerheim
Special Thanks: Collective Fashion Art Festival, Oslo Runway, This is PR, Grand Hotel Oslo, Hoyer Eger , Orneulf Hoyer, YME , Blender Agency, Norway New York.