A non-binary model who is fronting a campaign for one of Australia’s most celebrated swimwear brands has fired back at widespread criticism of the ad, saying ‘some women have penises’.
Deni Todorovič, 34, who was assigned male at birth but uses they/them pronouns, and identifies as non-binary, stars in the campaign for Seafolly which is best known for its glamorous advertising campaigns featuring some of the world’s most famous women, including Miranda Kerr, Gigi Hadid, Shanina Shaik, Lara Worthington, Samantha Harris and Jesinta Franklin.
Deni posed in lime green Seafolly bikini bottoms and a matching cover-up for a campaign shoot released just before International Women’s Day, while also putting their beard on full display.
While many have praised the brand’s effort in presenting a diverse campaign, others have said they will boycott the brand due to the inclusive shoot.
Deni Todorovič, 34, who was assigned male at birth but uses they/them pronouns, and identifies as non-binary, is fronting a campaign for one of Australia’s most celebrated swimwear brands, Seafolly
While many praised the brand’s effort in presenting a diverse campaign, others said they will boycott the brand due to the shoot
Writer Alexandra Marshall said it felt like the fashion brand was ‘mocking women’ and said she would ‘never’ buy Seafolly swimsuits again.
‘Bye @seafolly. Never again. Been buying swimsuits from you for many years. Never again,’ she posted on Twitter.
‘Since when do women have penises in their bikini bottoms. This is beyond disgusting and Deni you are trying to eradicate biological women. Deplorable,’ one person posted on Instagram.
Hitting back at the comment in a video on their story, Deni said: ‘Let’s be clear about comments like this, yes I see them, and yes they do affect me, but I try not to let them.
In reaction to a comment in a video on their story, Deni said: ‘Let’s be clear about comments like this, yes I see them, and yes they do affect me, but I try not to let them’
‘I’m going to give this person, I think their name is Jodie, a little education.
‘Some women do have penises, some trans women don’t feel the need to have any kind of gender surgery.
‘Some of them can’t afford it. Women come in all different shapes and sizes.
‘I’m also not trying to eradicate women darling, I’m wearing bikini bottoms.
‘I’m wearing bikini bottoms which are basically Speedos, which, last time I checked, people with penises wear Speedos,’ Deni added.
‘So maybe you just need to investigate and dig a little deeper as to why me, in a Speedo essentially, feels like an attack on your gender identity, because that’s not what I’m trying to do.’
In a second comment, the troll added: ‘You’re happy for a female to miss out on a job because of a man with a penis pretending to be a woman. Wow.’
Deni then replied explaining queer people ‘lose out on jobs all the time’.
‘First of all I’m not a man pretending to be a woman. Not even close,’ they said.
Australian models Jesinta Franklin and Lara Worthington have also represented the brand
Supermodel Gigi Hadid (pictured) is one of the best known former faces of Seafolly
‘Second of all, I’m not trying to steal a job from a woman at all. There were so many women involved in that campaign. There were also queer people involved in that campaign.
‘Like Thomas who designed that, like me who is non-binary. We miss out on jobs all the time. So let’s just have a little bit of nuance before you f****** troll me like this.’
In another clip, Deni praised the campaign and coverage, saying that positive representation of non-binary and trans people is ‘life-saving’.
‘This is very unexpected and I’m very grateful,’ they said.
‘Trans people attempt suicide 15 times more than cis-people.
‘This little piece of visibility, and Seafolly’s incredible reaction to our collab literally has the power to save lives.’
In an earlier post, Deni gushed about making ‘history’ in a lengthy Instagram post over the weekend.
‘This marks the first time iconic Aussie swim giants @seafollyaustralia have worked with a trans ambassador/brand partner,’ Deni said.
Deni is also one of the national ambassadors for Bonds underwear
Deni’s involvement in the Seafolly campaign has sparked backlash from customers
‘As the chief marketing officer [for Seafolly] said in our initial meeting, ‘It’s the first time of many more to come.’ I couldn’t be more honoured!’
They added: ‘We discussed authentic allyship and have had some very exciting conversations about how the brand can work with community. This is what allyship looks like.’
Deni’s role at Seafolly was celebrated by a number of celebrities, including former brand ambassador Jesinta Franklin.
Many shoppers also left positive comments on Seafolly’s official Instagram account to celebrate the label’s commitment to diversity.
‘As some one who hasn’t shopped at Seafolly for years I’ll be back now! Love seeing brands be inclusive and that is where I want my money to go,’ one woman wrote.
‘So amazing to see this, Seafolly. I love to see brands pioneering the celebration of pride and inclusion,’ another added.
Author and artist Alexandra Marshall (pictured) said it felt like the fashion brand was ‘mocking women’
However, some consumers were less than impressed by Deni’s role with the brand.
‘This is a joke. We support diversity and individuals’ decisions, but we don’t want to see women’s clothing that we want to purchase on a male body…’ commented one.
‘There are other ways to support pride and individuals’ choices, but not this way. Sincerely, one of your long-time loyal customers.’
Another wrote: ‘As a woman, this is not what I want to look like in a bikini.
‘I won’t be buying this product. People need to get back to reality. Stop making our world into a circus.’
Due to the negative comments, Seafolly was forced to put out a statement condemning the ‘hateful language’.
‘We are here to celebrate the Australian beach lifestyle and inspire one another to feel confident at the beach,’ the brand said.
‘In this community, we do not tolerate abusive, offensive, hateful language, trolling, deliberate disruption of discussion, or spam. Please be respectful of each other’s differences and remember to always be kind.’
Many women agreed with Seafolly’s stance, with one writing: ‘I’m so embarrassed for the bigots in this comment section. Imagine writing awful things because a person wearing a swimsuit upsets you.’
Deni has become an increasingly formidable name in Australian fashion over the last few years.
In 2021, Deni was criticised for turning Melbourne Fashion Week into a ‘pride parade’ by storming the runway with an LGBT flag and a T-shirt with ‘they/them’ on the front
Deni has become an increasingly formidable name in Australian fashion over the last few years
The gender-bending socialite is also a national ambassador for Bonds underwear.
In 2021, Deni was criticised for turning Melbourne Fashion Week into a ‘pride parade’ while working on the event as a stylist and curator.
While Deni was hired to work backstage at the event, they shocked onlookers by storming the runway with a pride flag and a T-shirt with ‘they/them’ on the front, which overshadowed the models in the fashion show.
Deni’s performance reportedly upset fashionistas at the time, with one guest saying their political message ‘was being rammed down our throats’.
‘The show was all about Deni. The collection, [and] the designers who worked so hard to pull it together, was an afterthought,’ one attendee told the Herald Sun.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Seafolly and Deni for comment.
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