A famous beauty entrepreneur in Switzerland and Europe, Valentino has been behind a number of fashion and beauty photoshoots, and in his latest shoot of kathoeys in Phuket, was producer and art director, working with a team of European stylists and local photographer, Ming Ming Zaw Tun.
Valentino spent three years dreaming of this photo shoot. He developed a network in the world of the ladyboys and waited for the right moment to embark on the project. In the end, fourteen of these beautiful surgical miracles, in whom any woman would find something to envy, were photographed at various exotic locations in Phuket.
It was a production just like what one might expect in Miami, London or Paris. Photographer Ming Ming Zaw Tun, stylists, video crews, assistants and many more were kept very busy for three weeks, in order to realise a very special production starring these unknown beauties. The producers and the ladyboys were totally fascinated with each other.
Kati, Ant, Belle, Cherry and the other girls posed for the camera like true professionals, and enjoyed it. They not only enjoyed being women – they also relished the attention and being pampered and directed by Valentino and his crew as models in a beauty campaign.
Like Angels from Victoria’s Secret, they flaunted their immaculate bodies, gorgeous hair and sparkling eyes, wearing the outfits of well-known Asian fashion designers. They looked so perfect that no macho heterosexual man on the production team doubted for a second that they were really women.
Their perfume was intoxicating, their movements were graceful – and their breasts and lovely long legs were very sexy. Designers of women is what Valentino would call the beauty surgeons who model these perfect transgender creations.
Here, The Phuket News had a chance to speak with Valentino about the project.
Who is your primary audience with this project, and what is the key message?
The main audience are people working in beauty. The key message is to showcase the fascination and unbelievable fact that these beautiful models, beautiful women, were born as men. I was not influenced by the stories behind these people, it was mainly the aesthetic way that impressed me.
How many models were involved, and where are they all from?
We realised the shoot with more than 14 models, coming from all over Thailand. None were from Phuket originally. After an initial casting in Phuket, the networking took off naturally, through the girls themselves, because they saw from the casting that we were preparing something big and professional, and putting them in the right and respectful light.
What separates Thai transgenders from others?
The main difference is for sure the genetics. The Thais are different in that they are generally more smooth and more feminine. And of course the social acceptance in Thailand, which is much larger and goes back a lot longer when compared to other countries.
Was there any aspect that you found challenging to work with ladyboys compared to a ‘real woman’?
No. this is the exact reason why we were really impressed, because there was no difference between working with them or ‘real women’. From one of our last shootings in London, I would say it was even more professional to work with transgenders; they are very professional, very on time, very motivated to bring a great result. I would say that they have a bigger motivation with a project like this, as it must be for them a great recognition to be presented as beautiful women on a campaign for an international cosmetic company.