If you google the term confidence, you shouldn't be surprised to find a picture of Teddy Quinlivan. After all, the successful model is not only at peace with herself but is also not afraid to voice polarising opinions. Silently treading the catwalks of this world would be out of the question for the 27-year-old. She has fought for her very own liberation, and now she wants to share one message in particular with the world: Screw the haters.
“What really liberated me was just not caring how other people perceive me because I don't waste any more energy or time on the opinions of others.”
Teddy knows from her own experience that the struggle for one's liberation is complex and not an easy one. Often, it's not just about external circumstances but also about one's own fears. Naturally, her public coming out had an impact on the transgender model. Although Teddy had already transitioned in high school, she kept this to herself when she started working in fashion. She wore her secret across all the runways until the height of her career. When she finally overcame her fear of not being accepted and decided to be fully and officially herself, it was not just about her own freedom but also about being the role model for trans kids that she never had.
“We are on this earth for such a short amount of time. Do you really want to waste your time thinking about what other people might say about you or if you're good enough for them, or if you're doing it the right way?”
Teddy's secret ingredient for the ultimate liberation is simply detachment from the opinions of others. And not just as outward protection but also as a measure against one's own mindset. Teddy refers to today’s cancel culture by considering: All of us are currently experiencing a period of extreme self-censorship because we are constantly afraid of saying something wrong and thus offending someone or exposing ourselves by not having the right moral attitude.
“I think we're all human, and I think we have to get to a place where we're comfortable messing up sometimes and giving people the grace to move on from that and not to have their character defined by one thing that they said five or ten years ago.”
We should not be so hard on ourselves and others, and keep speaking truths that are difficult for others to swallow. Teddy admires especially those who are unafraid to speak truth to power in such a raw way. She's also not afraid to speak out, something you’ll notice when listening to her podcast "unholy and curious". After all, humans are not a monolith - We need to get to a place where we're comfortable with our ideological differences, Teddy advises. But anyone who assumes stubborn self-indulgence is wrong. Although Teddy likes to invent herself again and again, and enjoys the free time between her modeling jobs to create and perform her own look, she still loves being part of a global community.
“I feel the most comfortable on the streets of a big crowded city walking around in a beautiful outfit. The world is my runway.”
But to make this runway as colorful and diverse as possible, Teddy's advice to anyone on a similar journey as herself is: Find your own path and don't let anyone get in your way. Be badass. Life is short.