Phenomenal Woman: An Ode to Munroe Bergdorf


Words by Siân Irvine                                                                                                                              Photography by @sophie___rose via / Indrek Galetin via

Munroe Bergdorf: model, activist, queen and icon. Any listeners to the Ultravenus Podcast will know my love for this woman, who to me, completely embodies and emulates strength and resilience. She is my muse, inspiration and idol.

I often think about Munroe- her journey, her activism, the way she uses her platform to raise, impact and help others. Munroe has recently spoken at London’s Women of the World event, interviewed fellow trans model and activist Laith Ashley for Dazed and Confused, and has had the powerful statement ‘Protect Trans Kids’ inked into her skin… and that’s just this year alone.

She is articulate and passionate about issues that affect marginalised people. From gender, to race issues, to tackling body dysmorpia- Munroe acts as a voice of reason and support to anyone who may need it:

Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 20.46.09

However, another reason I love Munroe is that she is not afraid to prioritise her own, and others, mental safety and health. In a recent Q&A via her Instagram page, a fan asked “What is the most important thing a person can do as an ally to the transgender community?” Munroe answered: “Show incentive to educate themselves and not wait for answers to easy questions from the trans community as it’s triggering and a tad lazy when we all have Google and YouTube at our fingertips.”

When she appeared on a panel show as part of Channel 4 series GenderQuake, she ferociously held her own against vile bigots in the audience, who were spewing foul and ignorant hate speech in an attempt to derail her. She held herself with dignity because she had a more important goal: to be the voice of the trans community.

She takes no shit. She protects herself. She uses her voice not only to empower others, but gently guide and advise those who, as she knows from personal experience, may be struggling. She is a powerhouse. She is an inspiration.


Munroe’s recent visual project, ‘Must Be Strong’, was published via Love Magazine on March 31st- International Transgender Day of Visibility. Directed by Femke Huurdeman, the visual video artwork acts as a metaphor for transition as Munroe transforms from woman to mermaid. The first scene shows tears glued to Munroe’s face as she looks at her own reflection in a phone, clearly unnhappy with what she sees. Her image waves and warps on the phone screen, representing her own sadness about being trapped in a body that is not hers.


Her submergence in to a bathtub is representative of change- as is often seen in symbolism involving water, which is ever flowing, ever changing and adaptive to its environment. Munroe emerges, tearless, but with a pink tail reminiscent of the colour of the tears that once lined her face. She has become the mythical mermaid… her true self.

I will always admire someone who sees the value in empowering others- especially those who feel that they struggle to find their place in the world. I will always admire her resilience, her beauty, her strength and her passion. I often think about how lucky I am to share my time on this earth with a woman so phenomenal.

Munroe, my sensational queen, I am forever yours! 

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