Cura Model and LBGTQIA2+ advocate, Earvin Ryan shares how saying "Yes" and "Why Not?" lead them to their signature style. And why using their voice to forge a path now so that fellow QTPOC may know they are seen, valid, and loved is what matters most.
On a Saturday morning at the end of January, we had the very good fortune of connecting and collaborating with our newly minted Cura model, Earvin Ryan.
Upon meeting for the first time, we did a quick styling sesh and a spontaneous photoshoot, all in about an hour, because turns out, Earvin is a natural. And while we knew the images would stun, what we didn't expect was how powerful they would be.
What moved us literally to tears when we reviewed the photos was how very natural they felt, like any other fashion photo -- a beautiful human, beautifully styled, beautifully photographed. Not a high fashion editoral token*, just images meant to feature and sell a product with a model that happens to be trans femme, non-binary. And while we are a long, long way from what we know is still the exception and not the rule in representation, this experience felt like the beginning of something truly transforming for both Earvin and for Cura. (#lucky)
A Filipinx-American born in Oregon and identifying as non-binary and pansexual, Earvin Ryan
is a now a Seattle based realtor, drag-performer, Tik-Tok influencer, star athlete and LGBTQIA2S+ advocate, an all around multi-hyphenate gem of a human.
Earvin, you are an inspiration for all of us, but particularly trans and nonbinary folx who are in process of finding their voice and personal style. Your Tik-Tok channel has well over 10,000 followers because here you share your transition story in real time. Can you tell us a little more about this journey from a personal style POV?
Oh my gosh thank you! My style journey has been an exploration of saying "yes" to myself and "why not". Initially, I wondered if I could pull off certain silhouettes or accessories and have found so many things that are now signatures in my wardrobe - like hoops and headwraps!
"Don't let societal norms rule your closet"
My biggest advice is to have fun with it and try it all. Throw out any preconceived ideas that certain styles or garments are for (insert gender role here) - clothes are for people, all people! Don't let societal norms rule your closet - if you don't see someone who looks like you wearing what you're wearing then great! I struggled initially because I didn't think there was a path for me - until my chosen family told me. "Don't be afraid to innovate and create your own path."
Love that you say "Why not" and take chances, try things on for size, you credit your chosen family for encouraging you to find your personal style POV and in turn you've created a platform to inspire others to forge their authentic style and identity. Who else has or continues to inspire you style wise?
My sister! I have always loved her style and find myself attracted to certain pieces that I see her rocking. I also love style icons in our community like Plant Kween
, Indya Moore
, and Alok Vaid-Menon
Getting to know you through our collab and spending time on your Tik Tok, it's clear your life history and experience is dense, layered and rich with story. If you were to write a memoir today with 5 chapters, what would be the title of each chapter?
Wow! What a great question...I would pull an Adele and name key ages of my development:
Chapt 1 "Closets are for Clothes"
Coming out as Gay and how I navigated being raised Mormon and being out in high school.
Chapt 2 "21+ "Bright Lights Big City"
Moving to the big city, and finding love
Chapt 3 24+ "Glory Years?"
Navigating a marriage, exploring my sexuality, and finding professional success - but at what cost?
Chapt 4 27+ "Rock Bottom"
Divorce. A professional climax and disaster. Losing my Dad
Chapt 5 29+ "Liberation"
Coming out as trans and pansexual, finding my voice and most authentic self.
(Yes, please, we are here for it, sign us up on the pre-sale)
"No matter how much money I make, no matter the things I own or the people I know, my impact is what is most important to me"
How does spirituality, impact, and/or activism show up in your day to day?
Growing up a queer Brown kid I didn't have a lot (or any) representation. I grew up feeling othered and less than - like people like me couldn't find happiness or success unless I fit into the white, heteronormative, patriarchal society. And now, I'm clear no matter how much money I make, no matter the things I own or the people I know, my impact is what is most important to me.
Since I've found my most authentic form, I recognize it is vitally important that I be an advocate by sharing my story. I want to be the person that I needed when I was growing up. I want my fellow QTPOC to know that you are seen, you are valid, and you are loved.
It's been so much fun seeing you out in the world since our shoot wearing the pieces we styled on you and wearing them in new ways. What is your favorite piece from Cura and why?
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and cheat... LOL. I have a top 3 in no order:
- My black and white vintage blazer from Cura Found- who doesn't love shoulder pads?!
- My naSuma black dress- so easy to dress up or dress down, AND IT HAS POCKETS!
- My Tonle x PlantKween fleece Skylar skirt! I never thought I would be able to pull off this look but Kiko encouraged me and I'm OBSESSED!
Good news, those are our favorites too….
Last but not least, we are big music fans at Cura and always want to know what's on our partners playlists?
Music is totally my love language! Lately it has been a lot of Whitney Houston, Jojo, Tori Kelly, India.Arie, and literally anything 90s!
No wonder we have a soul connection with Earvin. The 90's forever and always. And India Arie right on repeat.
Be sure to follow Earvin on all their social channels, here on Tik Tok
And Shop Earvin’s fav Tonle skirt here.
*With the exception of the very rare progressive brand like Tonle or Noto, trans, non-binary, gender fluid representation in fashion editorial or e-commerce imagery does not exist and if it does 9/10 it's tokenism or produced for provocation.