StyleLikeU's popular video series "The What's Underneath Project" highlights a collection of inspirational, stylish individuals open to sharing their personal stories with the world, because "style is not the clothes you wear, it is comfort in your skin, it is your spirit, it is What's Underneath."
From Petra Collins a woman who talks about having (and rocking) body hair to Melanie Gaydos, a stunning model with a genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, to "gender revolutionary" iO Tillett Wright, the series' subjects strip down to their underwear and embrace who they are beneath the surface.
In their series' most recent episode, Tyler Ford (Miley Cyrus' muse and latest date to the amfAR Gala), talks about their journey to becoming a non-binary human being, an agender person who goes by pronouns "they, them, and their."
Ford, who is also a writer, says in the video that "as we grow up we are groomed to more fit our certain box..." that is — a box defined by gender. "Female turns into girl turns into woman, but it all starts with your body being labeled as female..."
"That's not where we should start. We should start with a blank slate and we should grow up to be people and human beings."
Assigned female at birth, Ford says that they were not happy with their body, and wished for a new one. They wanted a "boy's body," they gesture with air quotes.
After coming out as a trans-guy and using testosterone for a year, Ford realized they were not on the right path. "This is not it," Ford reflects on that time in college. "[I was] not comfortable looking like a man... [I was] not who I used to be."
So after two years, Ford stopped using testosterone and looked to the future.
"It took like a year to solidify my identity and to find a label that fit me, which is agender," they explain. "For me, being agender means not being confined by expectations or by labels. I had a lot of space to just be myself."
Later in the interview, Ford is asked: "When do you feel the most beautiful?"
To which they respond:
"I feel cute a lot. Cute is sort of a strange word when other people use it for me, because that's always the first word that they go to. I'm very rarely described as like hot or like sexy or attractive or like gorgeous or beautiful. And I'm just like why am I not any of these other things? I just wish that sometimes, like, someone would mention another characteristic first."
Miley Cyrus, a friend to Ford, highlighted them in a series of photographs for The Happy Hippie Foundation:
And as the video concludes, Ford talks about who they are today.
"I've learned that people are socialized to think certain things about my body, because of my race or because of the way that they perceive my gender," they say. "And so I've learned that the problem is not with me or my body, but the problem is with people's assumptions."
"I don't ever wish that I had a different body anymore."
Be sure to watch the full video below: