10-Year-Old Trans Model Noella McMaher Is Already a NYFW Catwalk Vet

A 10-year-old transgender girl from Chicago will already be a catwalk veteran when she walks the runway at New York Fashion Week next month – with plans to walk in Paris next year.

Noella McMaher, whose parents both identify as transgender and who has a toddler brother called “theybie”, made her NYFW debut in February as one of many trans and non-binary models walking for the Trans Clothing Company. She was the youngest person to ever participate in the event.

Noella walks the runway wearing the Trans Clothing Company label at New York Fashion Week in February.
Noella walks the runway wearing the Trans Clothing Company label at New York Fashion Week in February.
Getty Images for track 7

Noella has a lively social media presence and what appears to be a thriving family life with her parents, Dee McMaher, 35, and Ray McMaher, 32, both born to biological women but who now identify as not binaries.

“Noella’s first show was Chicago Fashion Week at age 7,” her parent, Dee, told Forbes earlier this year. “A trans teenager told her about open auditions and she watched YouTube videos to prepare. She hired two designers during her very first audition. She’s since appeared in two Chicago Fashion Weeks and a handful of smaller shows. »

Dee McMaher and Ray McMaher, who were both born biologically female but apparently no longer identify as female.
Noella’s parents, Ray and Dee McMaher, were both born biologically female but no longer identify as female.
Dee McMaher/Facebook

Dee told the Post on Wednesday that Noella didn’t like to wear boy’s clothes even when she was tiny and acted out often. Dee said they eventually took her to a gender clinic and she became empowered once she felt free to be a girl.

“Our job as parents of our three children is to meet their individual needs,” Dee told the Post. “With Noella, we have a child who knew who she was very early.”

None of Noella’s parents pushed her to be a girl, Dee said.

“My wife and I probably own two pairs of shoes between us,” she said. “We are not into fashion at all. Noella is the opposite. She loves glitter, makeup and clothes. We wouldn’t even know how to encourage that kind of femininity.

“At 2 years old, she started telling us that she was not a boy.  At 4.5 she made a social transition and at 7 she made a legal transition,” said Noella's parent, Dee, of the child.
“At 2 years old, she started telling us that she was not a boy. At 4.5 she made a social transition and at 7 she made a legal transition,” said Noella’s parent, Dee, of the child.
@thenoellabella/Instagram
Noella says she would throw tantrums if she was made to wear boy's clothes.
Noella apparently made the transition before her own parents. “She’s the most confident person I know. I tell her all the time that I want to be like her when I grow up,” Dee said.
@thenoellabella/Instagram

To anyone who asks how does a child know they’re transgender at just 10, Dee said she had an answer ready.

“At 2 years old, she started telling us that she was not a boy. At 4.5 years old, she made a social transition and at 7 years old, she made a legal transition.

“My wife and I are also transgender,” Dee added. “Noella transitioned long before us. She’s the most confident person I know. I tell her all the time that I want to be like her when I grow up.

Noella lives in the Chicago area and has previously walked New York Fashion Week.
Noella lives in the Chicago area and has previously walked New York Fashion Week.
@thenoellabella/Instagram
In 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker celebrated signing an executive order to promote LGBTQ student rights in schools with Noella (far right) in support.
In 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker celebrated signing an executive order to promote LGBTQ student rights in schools with Noella (far right) in support.
CNN

In 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, whose billionaire family is one of the world’s largest donors to transgender causes, signed an executive order to promote LGBTQ student rights in schools. Noella was among those posing alongside her, dressed in a pink tutu with a giant hair bow and a t-shirt reading, “This is what trans looks like.”

Noella and her younger brother Levi (who her parents say is a boy and wants to stay a boy) were born to Dee and Dee’s husband, Timothy McCord, a Chicago-area scientist.

McCord told the Post he had no problem with Noella becoming trans, but said he was somewhat concerned that her life was too public as a model. As for Noella having a possible future medical intervention, such as receiving puberty blockers and hormones, McCord said he’s not sure what to make of that.

“I have no say in it,” he said. “He’s not my child anymore.”

Noella's biological father is Timothy McCord, a Chicago-area scientist.
Noella’s biological father is Timothy McCord, a Chicago-area scientist.
LinkedIn

Dee and McCord separated years ago and eventually divorced in 2019, but McCord initially saw the children regularly, he said.

He said an incident in 2016 when he grabbed Noella’s arm after a tantrum broke the family forever and he hasn’t seen his children since. “The next day Dee called and said, you need a break from the kids because Noella has a sprain,” he said. “Then she called back and said Noella’s arm was broken. I think you need a lawyer.

McCord said a legal nightmare ensued and he ended up getting arrested and spending several nights in the Cook County Jail in Chicago. He said he then made the decision to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense of child endangerment because he felt continuing to fight within the justice system would be hopeless.

He tried to resume visits with the children but said it was impossible.

Noella's father says he hasn't seen her since he divorced her mother in 2019.
Noella’s father said he is now separated from the 10-year-old, but hopes she will contact him when she is older.
@thenoellabella/Instagram
Noella is very present on social networks, where she promotes trans rights.
Noella is very present on social networks, where she promotes trans rights.
@thenoellabella/Instagram

“I tried to get back into their life, but it turned out to be too controversial and stressful for everyone,” he said. Although he said he didn’t believe he was guilty of what he was charged with, he decided to let Dee and her partner officially adopt the children and relinquished all rights to them.

“I had the opportunity to step back and let Dee’s partner adopt the kids and did it in hopes that they wouldn’t have all the stress it was causing in their lives,” did he declare.

McCord said he would be open if kids tried to contact him when they were older.

“If they have questions, I’m here,” he said. “I’m not hard to find.”

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