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Finland’s first male-female model: Fashion shouldn't be taken too seriously

Androgynous models are stirring up positive gender confusion in the fashion world, says Ville Ruuska, who often models as a woman.

Ville Ruuska on aloittanut mallitoimisto Paparazzin listoilla mies/nais-mallina.
Image: Paparazzi Model Management

In recent years androgynous models, or male models who also do the work of their female counterparts, have been surfacing in the fashion world.

Ruuska (a.k.a. "VJ"), is Finland’s first male-female model. Signed by modelling agency Paparazzi, he is set to grace international runways in the near future.

Fashion agencies are increasingly hiring male models to model women’s clothing, Ruuska says, going on to explain on Yle's morning show Aamu-tv on Monday what it means to be a man in a woman's world.

"The fashion world has always been interested in special cases. It’s nice that it’s breaking down gender barriers. It adds some spice to fashion when there’s some question over whether the model is a man or a woman," he says.

Using men to model women’s clothing raises some interesting issues about the uneasy relationship between female body image and contemporary fashion design. The increasing appearance of androgynous models is likely to add fuel to the fire of many who feel that the modelling industry is already promoting an unrealistically tall and thin body type.

Ruuska, at 182 centimetres tall, however, feels that androgynous modelling is not about being thin. He compares the male-female form to that of child models aged around 14, before feminine curves have blossomed and a boyish figure is still natural. Yet he maintains that fashion should not be taken too seriously.

"I don’t want to encourage women to try to lose weight to be super skinny. Fashion is conceptual, it’s fantasy," he says.

Ruuska has only been on Paparazzi’s list for a couple of weeks and claims he has a lot to digest with regards to his new role.

"I had to do some soul-searching about what it all means,” he says. “I am probably only the second in the world in this genre."

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