Meeting Roland Bray a 19 year old Exeter English Student from Truro, Cornwall what you see is what you get, too an extent. A interesting male known for his bleach blonde hair, dark black eyebrows and an incredible fashion sense. Working in Topshop, one of the biggest High Street retailers it is no wonder he takes such pride in his appearance, but there is another side to Roland. His doppelange but in the female form, a more fabulousand appropriate version of Roland. On his modeling profile, there are considerably more images of Roland as a female than of his real self. ‘It all started from Lady Gaga’s song I was born this way’. Roland’s Idol is the outrageous Lady Gaga, known for her provocative fashion sense and inspiring lyrics it is clear to see the attraction to her. The fashion sense has been completely thrown up side down by some of the red carpet gowns she has worn, the most shocking being the meat dress she wore to the MTV Video Awards in 2010. Gaga has to be applauded for her brave fashion statements. ‘Lady Gaga has in a few years become a force to be reckoned with by the fashion world. Her “Haus of Gaga” is a group of creative, inspiring people responsible for her clothes on- and off-stage and her hairdos. Lady Gaga has an outspoken vision of fashion to be incorporated into her music.’ http://www.haus-of-gaga.com.
Above: Roland sits in his box room filled with clothes, wigs and posters of his Idol Lady Gaga. Right: Roland’s pin board, jumbled messages from his mother, self-illustrations, old school projects and the leopard print corset and leather waistcoat. 1
Talking to Roland he is so passionate about Fashion and what it can bring to people. Having always loved Fashion and Styling since 5 years old where he walked in his first pair of heels, he will never understand how people can just dress badly.
‘I think people need to start being braver, I want to change the world one pair of tights at a time’. Suddenly Roland started to reveal more and more. With his modelesque looks, with the fashion ‘look’ being unusual and unique this causes Roland a lot of problem on the streets of Truro. In London he would fit in and not looked at twice but here in Kernow (Cornwall) he will never be ‘normal’. When walking to work he will receive obvious second looks and awful comments all because he chooses to dress and look a certain way. ‘I remember once a woman grab her husband as I walked passed, It was like she was horrified by my face and body’. Particularly skinny Roland is mistaken for being anorexic and even ill. Accused for making himself starve in order to have a shot at being a model. ‘Its hard when people stare at you like you’re not a human.’
No one however could ever stop Roland from being Roland. He is who he is and he was in his idol’s words ’Born that Way’. Being so dedicated to Gaga, his female form is designed around the risk she takes in her outfits, make-up and hairstyles. Walking into Roland’s ‘dressing room’ there sat a stack of boxes, overflowing with leather and fur, wigs and weaves and heels and platforms. Roland has it all. With his Lady Gaga memorabilia decorating his home in Truro its like its one massive playroom for a drag queen. When in ‘drag’ Roland is a different person, full of desirability and lust, ‘she’ is sexy and confident. Roland is a comfortable male but as a woman he is fabulous! Placing his body in positions that knew worked for him, bending and arching his torso and limbs. Strutting around Topshop, its like he was born to be on the Runway, male or female Roland Bray is going to be a star. An English student for now, but destined for bigger, brighter and better things.
‘I have a lot of interest reagrding my look, I dont know why I am so interesting to people. I am actually so insecure as a male but when I dress, its me, its not an act.
Story and Images by Annabel May Oakley-Watson
H AU S â€™O F ROLAND Roland Bray, 19 from Truro plans to do big things within Fashion, taking over the world, one pair of tights at a time