The First Black Trans Model Was on a Clairol Box in 1975


The First Black Trans Model Had Her Face on a Box of Clairol in 1975

No one knew her secret. Until they did.

“She had that commercial look,” says Pat Cleveland, one of the biggest models of the day. “She looked like how the girl next door might wish to look.” Cleveland remembers Norman well from shows they used to do in New Jersey. “But I didn’t know Tracey was a boy,” she says. “She was a professional person who was able to make things look good and sell them. I think Tracey got away with a lot because she was so good. You never would’ve known. I didn’t even know it until now.” Cleveland had plenty of transgender friends in the art world, but thinks that Norman’s success in straight magazines and advertisements is remarkable, especially when race is added to the mix. “It was difficult for any black model at that time to go commercial.”

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