As a model, Dominique Castelano realizes the great strides she—and society—have made. Her magnetic presence and unrelenting sense of self attract the spotlight, which is where she shines, advocating for justice and equality for all.
First of all, how are you doing?
Somewhere between better and best.
If you could send a DM to your younger self, what would it be?
Hi Dominique, It’s me, your future self. I’m writing to you today to help substantiate some of your thoughts and what you are probably feeling right now. It is ok to repudiate and question your gender that was assigned to you at birth when your interests and social life doesn’t fit with society’s expectation of you. You maybe uncertain about your gender identity and feel that you can’t identify within the gender binaries placed on you by society and that is ok. Your strong sense of being the opposite gender is valid and perfectly normal. You probably have not seen any transgender and non-binary folks in your life, or even in TV and media but they will be coming soon. You maybe even be that same person you wish to see represented in fashion and movies (wink, wink). Step into the light and follow your gut, it will lead you to where you need to be. Always remember that you are bound for greater things. Keep your head high and always be obedient to the call of your dream.
Describe your first memorable shoe-buying experience? Where were you, what did you buy, and how did you feel?
I vividly remember my very first time. I was in high school and saved my allowance to buy my first pair of stilettos. I walked in this beautiful department store and was approached by an associate. In my panicked moment, I made up a white lie to why I was in the store. I had told the person helping me that I had a twin sister that I’m buying shoes for (luckily, I did have an older sister that looked exactly like me and I used her photos to show the sales associate). I told her I was getting it for her as a present and that coincidentally we share the same size in shoes! I picked a few pairs that I liked and was able to try and purchase a pair of beautiful stilettos for the very first time. I was very excited and looking back I’m pretty sure by the time I was checking out, the associate had already realized that the pair was for me, nevertheless she still was so nice and made this shopping experience memorable and affirming to my younger self.
How do you feel about being in the first group of women featuring Larroudé?
I met Marina when I was a full time Visual Artist working together in the same fashion company even before I started modeling. When she approached me to be a part of the group of incredible women for Larroude, I was not only elated but also recognized this full circle moment. Hopefully my presence in this campaign will send a message to younger trans and gender non-conforming folks that their identity is valid. I am optimistic that with the continued work of amplifying our voices, we will be able to normalize our existence in this world.
What brings you joy lately?
My joy and self-love is impacted by my community, my chosen family. They give me a sense of pride and identity through the collective work that we do. We encourage each other, we raise each other up and we make sure that we do our part so that we’re not only empowering our own self-love but also the lives, the loves and the dreams of everyone in our community.
What is your secret dream (post-pandemic, of course)?
Racism, transphobia, COVID-19, rising rates of unemployment, housing insecurity, police and interpersonal violence have been a hindrance for our friends and families in the community. I acknowledge this, and my secret dream is to help with the liberation of ALL people regardless of your color, ability and gender identity.