Myles Sexton doesn’t fit in. He stands out.
Embracing what makes him unique, and staying true to his dreams in spite of such harsh realities as ignorance or bigotry, has the Toronto resident on the fast track to success in three highly competitive industries: makeup, modeling and fashion.
And, the 21-year-old Brooklyn native only left Hants County four years ago.
Sexton is two spirited; as a sought after androgynous model, who has been featured in Italian Vogue, he’s earned a reputation of rocking the runway in clothes designed for men or women. In the brief introductory blurb on his Twitter account, he introduces himself as “a businessman wearing red nail polish.”
He’s the star of his own web series, “I Walk For Myles in These Shoes,” a makeup artist with a growing base of celebrity clients, and a jewelry designer with pieces selling in stores across Canada.
But Sexton remembers where he came from, and he hasn’t forgotten how difficult high school can be for kids who stand out.
“I feel like my high school experience was different — I was a very… androgynous, (a) slightly flamboyant young man that didn’t really understand himself sexually, so I was often bullied in high school and… that was really hard. I never felt like I fit in.”
To cope, Sexton joined the Avon View High School’s gay straight alliance, and participated in school activities that promoted diversity.
“Once I realized that it was OK to be myself, that being different is not a bad thing, it became a positive experience.”
Sexton is returning to Avon View High School Dec. 20 to deliver the keynote address as part of Avon View’s celebration of International Human Solidarity Day. The purpose of Solidarity Day is to celebrate diversity, raise awareness of the various human rights issues plaguing people throughout the world and promote respect and understanding.
“When you start living for yourself you start to realize that confidence, and more happiness, comes.” - Myles Sexton
Topics such as ethnic diversity, sexual diversity, disability, poverty, mental health and addiction are on the agenda.
“With Avon View doing this… we can challenge other schools within the Maritimes, and hopefully across Canada, to start having these days within their schools,” says Sexton, who’s main objective of returning home is to promote positivity within the school.
He hopes students will see him as someone who did not look to society to legitimize his dreams before deciding they were worth pursuing.
“When you start living for yourself you start to realize that confidence, and more happiness, comes,” he said.
“I never thought for a million years when I was going to school in high school that I would be a model that’s been featured in Italian Vogue, that I would have this web series and that I would be working as a makeup artist working Toronto Fashion Week.”
Sexton, who started his career as a makeup artist in Halifax before landing a job with the national Smashbox Cosmetics team in Toronto at 19, says Avon View students often reach out to him through social media to ask how he coped with bullying.
He says he remained committed to, and focused on, his own vision of what the future may hold for Myles Sexton.
“You never know what tomorrow will hold and you really need to look at every single day as a new day, and a new beginning, and maybe one day is a really bad day, but tomorrow could be… better.”