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Dexter Mayfield on the battle against ‘toxic’ body-shaming and racism in the LGBTQ community

"I’m not going to let [my body] be an excuse for someone to not treat me with the respect, love and care that I deserve."

By Will Stroude

If Dexter Mayfield isn’t a name you’re familiar with already, you’ll be sure to remember him.

Having already appeared in music videos for the likes of J-Lo, the actor, model and dancer became a viral star in 2015, when he walked, stripped, strutted and popped ’n’ locked down the LA Fashion Week runway for fashion designer Marco Marco.

In doing so, Dexter became one of the only plus-size, black, gay men to take to the catwalk during Fashion Week – and he’s been smashing down barriers ever since.

“It was the Marco Marco runway that changed everything,” Dexter recalls as he poses for a typically fabulous shoot for the Attitude August issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Dexter wears coat by Oak Hill, shirt stylist’s own, leggings by Lyssé, shoes by TUK, hat by Olive & Pique (Photography: Leigh Keily)

“All the opportunities started flooding in. What I took from that is, if I open myself up to my LGBTQ family, that’s what really thrusted my career in the right direction, and allowed me to be me, more Dexter.”

While he may have made his name as the antithesis to the narrow aesthetic typically associated with fashion and entertainment, Dexter knows that he remains an exception to the rule, and that plenty more needs to be done to challenge racism and body-shaming, both in the industry and withing the LGBTQ community.

“The fat phobia, discrimination and racism in our community is so toxic,” he muses.

Dexter wears shirt, stylist’s own (Photography: Leigh Keily)

“My body is enough, my body is beautiful and I’m not going to let that be an excuse for someone to not treat me with the respect, love and care that I deserve.”

He continues: “The key to the industry for me was that the more I actually embraced what people saw as flaws: being a bigger person or being queer, the more my career progressed.”

Indeed, it’s the world, not Dexter, who has the issue with projecting onto others.

“I just want to be with someone who appreciates me”, he says.

“Yes, I am a fat person. Yes, I am a black person. Yes, I am a gay person. But if I’m looking for anything, it’s mutual attraction, mutual connection — just authenticity.”

Dexter aims to be a ‘triple threat force’ and grow from fashionand music and into television and film, where he can use his voice and body to show that everyone should be valued in the industry.

“A big dream of mine is to be one of the first fat-bodied heroes in Marvel Universe or DC,” he says.

Dexter wears pink coat by J Valentine, black coat by Ablanché, boots by Dr. Martens, hat by Piers Atkinson (Photography: Leigh Keily)

“I would like to do so many things and really just knock the door down. The sky’s the limit for me at this point.

“Any time I try to confine myself to one box, that never works out, and the second I open myself up to something new and different, it really changes the trajectory of where I thought my life would be.

“So I’m ready to pull up and show everybody what I really have.”

The Attitude August issue is out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £3, or digitally for just £9.99 (that’s just 77p per issue!) until midnight on 26 July.