We’re celebrating stories of LOVE this Valentine’s!

Our second story of love features Karly and Antoinette; a mother and daughter with an unbreakable bond. Antoinette is a mother to 2 cis gender sons and a transgender daughter, Karly. Both mother and daughter are activists in their own right; Karly uses her modelling platform to raise awareness for the transgender community and issues faced. Her mother Antoinette is a civil activist and her daughter’s cheerleader. We sat down with them to discuss their relationship and their concept of love.

1) What does love mean to you?

Karly: Love is deciding to fully love and cherish an imperfect person perfectly. It is also believing and supporting their dreams as if they were your own. I think we all have this grand image of love perpetrated by the media, but I believe that love is found in small acts of kindness.  

2) What quality do you admire most in each other?

Antoinette: In Karly I admire her courage, her will to survive, her fighting spirit and her determination.

Karly: Although I think my mum’s strength and resilience has shaped me, I will probably have to say her humanity. When I was a child, there wasn’t a lot of awareness about sexuality and gender, therefore she had no idea what transgender was. However, she tells me that she chose to love me because I was a part of her and did her utmost to make me happy, despite everyone’s critic of her being “too soft” on me by buying me Barbie’s to play with, when that is what I used to cry for.

3) What is your fondest memory together?

Antoinette: Many happy memories; from shopping to long heartfelt chats, so it is difficult to pick only one. However one particular moment which is very dear to me, as it was when I first realised that she was different to my sons happened when she was around 2 years old. I was squatting beside her in our yard, she took off the sun hat I was wearing and put it on her own little head and started giggling - she was so sweet and happy, I started hugging her and got her father to take a photo of us!

Karly: Well, I tear up every time she calls to tell me how proud of me she is when I walk in a fashion show or feature in a magazine, so the memories to choose from are endless. One that really sticks out is; The day before I needed to check into hospital for surgery in the UK, my mum decided to take me on a shopping spree in Oxford Street to help take my mind off things. Having spent a good few hours in just one shop, we left with hands full of bags, and just as she was telling me not to tell my father how much we’d spent, he appears out of nowhere screaming at us for spending so much. She was the secondary card holder on his credit card, and the bank called him to make sure the transaction was not fraudulent. We still laugh about it to this day.

4) What is one thing you cherish most about your bond?

Antoinette: One thing I cherish about our bond is our sincerity towards each other.

Karly: I think for me it’s having the reassurance that I always have someone to turn too when life becomes a bit too overwhelming. We have a 15 to a 45 minute call daily, so we are very aware of what is happening in each other’s life – she really is my best friend.

5) Describe each other in 3 words.

Karly: Hard headed, strong and kind.

Antoinette: Karly is strong, she's a fighter and a very clever woman.