Carissa Pinkston has admitted she lied about being transgender to avoid backlash over transphobic comments.
The 20-year-old, who has modelled for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line, Marc Jacobs, and Schiaparelli, reportedly used the name Rissa Danielle to post some disparaging remarks on Facebook back in May, in which she said being “transgender does not make you a woman”.
She was identified on Twitter as the person behind the comments, and was subsequently dropped by bosses at her agency, Elite Model Management.
Earlier this month, Pinkston tried to defend her transphobic words by sharing a candid post on Instagram – which she has since deleted – and claimed she was, in fact, transgender.
“I wasn’t ready to come out about it yet but today I got fired and I’ve been receiving hate mail and death threats ever since so I’m being forced to tell the truth,” the aspiring model wrote. “I’m Transgender. I transitioned at a very young age and I’ve lived my life as a female ever since. It’s been very hard to keep this secret but what I said about trans-women is a direct reflection of my inner insecurities and I have since come to realise that I am a woman… WE ALL ARE!”
Shortly after Pinkston shared the post, she was branded as a liar by transgender models, including Aaron Philip, on social media. Following the backlash, she issued an apology on Instagram.
“I apologise for any transphobic remark I’ve ever made towards the trans community. I panicked and I thought if I came out as trans that I could somehow make things better for myself but it appears I’ve only made things worse,” she wrote in the now-deleted post. “I’m truly sorry. I’m only 20 and I’m human. I make mistakes but I refuse to let them define me.”
Pinkston concluded her message by adding that she hopes everyone can forgive her and “move on from this”.
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