Who is Laith Ashley? Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze video stars trans actor

Darcy Rafter

Taylor Swift has dropped the music video for Lavender Haze from her latest album Midnights. Laith Ashley De La Cruz, a transgender actor, and activist plays Swift’s love interest in the video. Who is Laith Ashley?

“Lavender Haze” marks the third music video released from Swift’s album Midnights, following “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled” which were also self-directed.

Taking its title from a Mad Men episode, the music video sees Swift sing about antiquated gender roles. Swift has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Who is Laith Ashley?

Laith Ashley was born on 6 July 1989 in Harlem, New York, United States. The 33-year-old is a transgender actor and model.

Ashley was born into a Dominican American family in Harlem. His father pushed him at sports, he was a boxer at a very young age, and basketball is his favorite.

Laith revealed to French Vogue that he didn’t know what transgender was until he was 19 years old. However, at 4 or 5 years old he just “knew there was something different” about him. Growing up a devout Christian, Ashely was taught that homosexuality was “sinful.” He even told British GQ in 2018 that he tried to “pray the gay away.” Laith shares that he has now found peace in himself. When he was 17, Ashley’s aunt outed his relationship to his parents, who were initially unaccepting, but have since become accepting.

Laith Ashley studied Psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. It was there that he first saw online videos of other trans people. By 23, Ashley was out as trans and, ventured into the modeling world. The following year Laith began his medical transition.

In 2015, Ashley posted some underwear pictures to Instagram and caught the attention of Laverne Cox, who promoted Laith’s work on her account. From there, Laith went viral. He has now done campaigns for Out magazine, Gay Times, and Vogue France. He also had a cameo in Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show I Am Cait in 2016. Some of Ashley’s role models include Francisco Lachowskil, Rob Evans, Omahyra Mota, and Azmarie Livingston.

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Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze video stars trans actor

Taylor Swift released her 10th studio album, Midnights, in October 2022. She is now rolling out music videos and Lavender Haze has quickly become a fan favorite. Released at midnight on January 27, 2023, the video dropped less than 24 hours after she teased the trailer, on Thursday morning, January 26.

She tweeted in promotion of the music video: “There is my incredible costar @laith_ashley who I absolutely adored working with. 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.”

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