Twenty-year-old Stav Strashko, a Ukrainian-born Israeli male model, is making waves in a provocative ad for Japanese automaker Toyota. The provocation? Strashko’s androgynous appeal.
The ad shows what appears to be a woman in red underwear and a futuristic black overcoat sashaying toward a shiny red car. Up close, the model’s face appears perfectly feminine; but as the figure reaches the car, he turns to face the camera and it turns out he isn’t a woman at all.
“I realized that I was androgynous when I began to model,” Strashko told Candy magazine in an interview. “All the stylists put women’s clothes on me, and then it struck me that I can really look like a woman. This wasn’t the first time I toyed with this: I remember myself as a child playing with my mom’s makeup a few times when she wasn’t home … I get mistaken for a girl all the time, and I’m used to it now.”
Strashko, who favors action movies, idolizes Angelina Jolie and says he “loves girl power,” was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, and moved to Israel with his family when he was two-years-old. He describes living in Tel Aviv as “fabulous”; his boyfriend of six months also lives in the “24/7 city.”
At a Paris photo shoot, the up-and-coming young model told Candy magazine that he has never thought about becoming a woman.
“I feel very comfortable in my own body just the way it is,” he says. “I believe that the mind sees what it wants.”