What Does Gender Mean To You?

In the today's world, who says an engineer can’t be an aspiring supermodel? Marcia Alvarado has been pursuing engineering since childhood. Her athletic abilities funded her college career while sheer determination fueled her path to being a successful structural engineer.

So why modeling? Why now at the prime of her engineering career, why now? "Why not?” she says.

Men’s fashion has been a part of Marcia’s life since she began working as a structural engineer in New York City in 2005. Like many New Yorkers, she worked two jobs, a full-time day job at a large engineering firm and evenings and weekends at the men’s Banana Republic retail store. Extra hours in retail turned into fascination with men’s fashion and she started implementing it in her everyday work attire. She learned very quickly that your presentation can be just as important as your knowledge and skill set in the business world. When you dress in a professional manner, it demands a certain level of respect. This has been proven over the years in her engineering career and provided her with numerous opportunities.


Modeling was an aspiration she never thought could happen. Without any experience in the liberal arts or modeling industry, it seemed far-fetched. Someone who knows nothing about the industry except what she watches on television like everyone else.  She questioned if she would be believable as a male model and whether men would be inspired by her unique look and emulate it within their attire. Can any female be that convincing as a male model?

...Your presentation can be just as important as your knowledge and skill set in the business world.

In this modern world and lifestyle, the answer is yes and Marcia Alvarado is doing it. As she goes about her daily life, Marcia has many random encounters with people from different cultures and lifestyles in social and business settings where they assume she is male. She doesn’t always feel the need to correct these assumptions initially, but she usually sets the record straight before too long to avoid leading people on and to prevent any discomfort on their part. This is the part of Marcia that is different; where most females in a similar situation may react differently based on their gender expession. The people closest to Marcia, know her well enough to say that she is a “gender” all to herself.

So, does how you dress to define your gender? Does how you think define your gender? Marcia has always operated with the best qualities of both genders; a heart of gold and a mind of steel. She would challenge you to pick which gender to attribute those qualities to. Her reality is that she enjoys being a woman who has a great eye for men’s fashions and wears it well. Photographers capture her innate, genuine personality with ease, making shoots more of a relaxed and enjoyable experience. For the future, Marcia hopes to tell her story and share her understanding of the world through modeling, in hopes of opening people’s minds so they can see others for their individuality and their unique life.

By Marcia Alvarado
as told to her mother, Rebecca

Photography: Djamal Rmoul