Transgender Ex-soldier Goes Into Modelling
A 52-year-old transgender woman identified as Andrea Halliley is starting a career as a model after serving in the military under her birth sex.
Halliley who is a parent to three children retired as an infantry soldier in 2015 and now lives openly as a transgender woman in Crook, Durham and likes to be known as Andi.
Andi got a job as a delivery driver and is currently in the middle of the lengthy NHS process to be helped by a gender identity clinic. Her GP referred her to the NHS gender identity service but she is still waiting for an appointment.
While serving with the military, she kept her true identity hidden and later came out as trans to her family leading to an amicable divorce from her then-wife.
Speaking about coming out, Andi said:
“When I first came out to my (now ex) wife, I told her I was a crossdresser – I had never heard of the term ‘transgender’ before. ‘My ex-wife did some research and told me about transgender people, and it was like a lightbulb moment, we both knew that’s what I really was. ‘We have split up since but on amicable terms, it’s just that she didn’t marry a woman and that’s fine.”
Andi joined the military in 1985 and served in the infantry for the next 30 years, rising to the rank of Colour Sergeant, touring in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq. Despite forming close friendships with her military colleagues, nobody knew that she identified as a woman.
Talking about having to suppress her identity as a female which she knew about since she was little, she explained:
“The military is very macho, especially in the infantry. I think I was trying to prove I was macho as well, but it was very difficult living a secret life in such an overtly male environment. It was difficult living with your own secret war inside your head.”
Although Andi felt the military is a macho male environment, when she came out, she was surprised at how welcoming her former colleagues were. She said:
“Regardless of their reaction, I wasn’t going to hide who I am anymore, but it was nice to have that support and acceptance.”
On dealing with the identity secret while in the military, the army veteran said she would secretly buy women’s clothes and hide them from her military peers. According to her, she felt like her true self when in women’s clothes.
Asides working as a delivery driver, she recently signed up to work with a modelling agency.
Andi’s romance with modelling started at an alternative burlesque show when she got chatting to a woman who suggested she audition for The Alternative Model of the Year Contest.
Since first entering the competition in 2017, she has made it to the catwalk final of the contest for the past three years in a row.
Andi fell in love with the modelling world and after taking part in multiple photoshoots, she was signed by the agency Rogue Model Management. Speaking of signing with the agency, she said:
“It is amazing to think how much my life has changed since leaving the army and embracing being transgender. Five years ago, I was wearing combats every day, pretending to be this big macho man all day before secretly hiding in my room wearing girly clothes in fear. Now, I’m strutting down runways in feminine clothes and posing for cameras as a proud transgender woman. I’m just so happy I finally decided to come out and show people the real me, and I’ll never hide that side of me ever again.”