Singer Taylor Swift's new music video for her single "Lavender Haze" has just dropped and transgender model Laith Ashley's role as Swift's love interest has been hailed as a huge win for LGBTQ+ representation.
"Lavender Haze" is the second single from Swift's 2022 album Midnights, and Swift wrote and directed the music video herself.
In a tweet, Swift called Ashley an "incredible costar" whom she "absolutely adored working with," adding:
This was the first video I wrote out of the 3 that have been released, and this one really helped me conceptualize the world and mood of Midnights, like a sultry sleepless 70’s fever dream. Hope you like it."
You can see Swift's tweets below.
The video portrays Ashley as the object of Swift's desire as they wake up in bed together. Ashley also appears as a handsome television weatherman who courts Swift in her fantasies.
You can watch the music video and see Ashley's appearance below.
Taylor Swift - Lavender Hazeyoutu.be
The thrilled Ashley later thanked Swift in a tweet of his own, writing:
"Thank you so much [Taylor Swift] for allowing me to play a small part in your story. You are brilliant and this is an experience I will never forget."
You can see his tweet below.
GLAAD’s director of trans representation Alex Schmider called Ashley's inclusion in Swift's video “A big moment for representation in many ways" noting the importance of Ashley "appearing to be a character of Taylor’s desire no less."
Swifties—as Swift's fans refer to themselves—were thrilled with the news and also congratulated Ashley.
Ashley—whose full name is Laith Ashley De La Cruz—is Dominican-American and hails from New York City. He began his transition process in 2014 and found fame as a model after transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox reposted his images on her Instagram account.
Ashley went on to appear in modeling campaigns for Barneys, Calvin Klein, and Diesel and appeared in a number of fashion shows including the Gypsy Sport catwalk at New York Fashion Week and the Marco Marco Fashion Show at L.A. Style.
As an actor, Ashley has appeared in music videos and films and has been celebrated by fans of RuPaul's Drag Race fans as the first transgender member of the pit crew.