Miley Cyrus is out to change the world, one photo and story at a time. Earlier this week, the artist launched her #InstaPride campaign—a partnership with Instagram and the Happy Hippie Foundation that works to confront stigmas by highlighting transgender and gender-expansive people in a series of portraits—and now, Marie Claire has the exclusive images of YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous, shot by Miley herself.
"I became fascinated with her because she did videos before transitioning and then she went MIA for a while and then she came back transitioned as Gigi Gorgeous," says Miley, who started the Happy Hippie Foundation to support LGBT and homeless youth. "It was incredible to see someone so confident. That's what I think I get from her, and it's not just because she's beautiful. She has a confidence that comes from inside. She was beautiful before she was Gigi Gorgeous. She always had Gigi Gorgeous in her."
"It's a responsibility for me to participate in things like this because I want to shed light on homelessness and abuse," says Gigi, 23. "Miley wanted to get people's personalities—lighthearted, uplifted—who've been through the wringer and had bad times and who've come through. And I think she chose a really great cast of us."
Because the thing about transitioning—which #InstaPride showcases—is that it's not about becoming someone new; it's about becoming who you already are. "When I saw Caitlyn Jenner for the first time, or when I saw people in my life for the first time who've transitioned, it was like, oh my god, that's you," Miley says.
For the campaign, Gigi also posed with Precious Davis, a classically trained vocalist and trans woman. The two are fierce advocates for acceptance of the transgender community. "Trans is beautiful," Precious says. "Celebrate all that you are. Revel in the exploratory. You exist and matter."
"The only thing I've ever wanted is to convey that it's just all okay, you don't have to be society's 'perfect' normal person," Gigi says. "I think everyone is hearing all these stories and it's so inspiring. Everyone's becoming more open-minded and it's a very beautiful thing."
Miley agrees, and acknowledges the road ahead: "This gives me a purpose. And the fact that I get to do this and help people and make the earth evolve...I just think this is the most modern thing to fight for."
For more information on the #InstaPride campaign and Miley's efforts with Happy Hippie, click here.