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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > March 2018 > the rain dove effect

the rain dove effect

ROXY BOURDILLON GOES BACKSTAGE WITH THE REVOLUTIONARY MODEL, ACTIVIST AND INFLUENCER

|COVER STORY|RAIN DOVE|

It’s the first-ever London Queer Fashion Show and Hackney Showroom is buzzing about the presence of one of the hottest androgynous models on the planet. The 6’2” vision pounds the runway for menswear-that-womenwear label du jour, Thomas Thomas. Then, right before she exits stage left, she turns back to the audience and grabs her chest in both hands. The crowd erupts.

Rain Dove – “Rain like from the sky, Dove like the bird” – is not your standard-issue supermodel. For one thing, she doesn’t give a damn about clothes. “It’s so weird that I’m a model right now. I don’t even like fashion.” Granted, she’s statuesque and striking with chiselled features and pouty lips, but she doesn’t resemble the omnipresent Victoria’s Secret angel aesthetic, a point she illustrated perfectly, and headline-grabbingly, when she shot her own photo series wearing the company’s racy lingerie. Her distinctive look has become her USP in a notoriously competitive industry, earning her gigs with iconic magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Elle, and for menswear and womenswear mega-brands at fashion week.

Moments after she’s left the catwalk, we’re backstage together. It’s hot, sweaty and electric with models of all shapes, ethnicities and gender identities in varying states of undress. We step out into the cool night air and pick a ledge to perch on. Because so much of Rain’s work deliberately challenges the gender binary, I’m conscious of the journalistic imperative to double-check about preferred pronouns. “A pronoun is just a sound for me and all I’m looking for in that sound is positivity. DIVA is a societally femaledriven magazine so you’re welcome to use ‘she’. I went on a thing where I asked people to call me ‘it’ for a long time. People get really upset when you ask them to call you ‘it’. The reason I did that experiment was to prove just how uncomfortable a pronoun can be for many people. It’s such a subjective thing, with history and oppression and meaning behind it. It’s not just ‘he’ or ‘she’, it’s telling you where you fucking belong.” Talking to Rain is an intense experience; things get deep fast. She’s overflowing with existential thoughts and motivational mantras. “I am I” and “Educate, don’t hate” are two of her go-tos. Big ideas bubble and spark as her agile mind darts about. “No commercial break, right? I just go and go like the energiser bunny.”

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About DIVA Magazine

Activist, model and “gender capitalist” Rain Dove is our cover star this month, the first time an openly non-binary person has appeared on DIVA’s cover since our launch in 1994. In another exciting first, we’re making history by synchronising the launch of this groundbreaking issue with iconic men’s title Gay Times, who also have Rain on their cover. Rain Dove, a former firefighter from the US, has appeared in numerous spreads for magazines like Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan, as well as ad campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein. Famous for modelling both womenswear and menswear, Rain is part of a movement simultaneously reinventing modelling while challenging traditional ideas of binary gender. In an exclusive interview with DIVA’s Roxy Bourdillon, Rain talks about the importance of pronouns, the impact working in the fashion industry has had on their self-esteem, and how they are capitalising on society’s perception of gender. Also in this issue… Scottish Labour politician Kezia Dugdale talks to DIVA editor Carrie Lyell about life after the jungle Roxy Bourdillon gets up close and personal with “flirty AF” YouTuber Ari Fitz Little acts of defiance: Comedian Suzi Ruffell tells us why she’s taking on the trolls Creating change: Filmmaker Fawzia Mirza on activism through art The future is fierce: Queer migrant poet Sonia Guiñansaca is breaking down borders Travel like you give a sh!t: Fat Gay Vegan shares his tips for moving through the world with kindness What’s next for the uprising? Plus: style, dating and so much more!