Chella Man’s motto, “be your own representation,” hits close to home for so many people who grew up without diverse role models. His experience as a Chinese, Jewish, deaf, trans person is unlike any other and informs his work as an artist, writer, speaker, student, and model. Now, documenting his transition on social media, he shares every aspect of his emotional and physical journey, as well as the evolution of his relationship and his art. Garnering a combined 209,000 followers on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, Chella is his own representation, but he serves as a role model for so many others too.
Name: Chella Goldberg Man
Favorite app: Instagram
What he does: The umbrella term I use is “artist.” This encompasses my current studies as a full-time student in virtual reality programming, painting/drawing and selling my work, and being a signed model on the side.
Three words he’d use to define Gen Z: Passionate. Empathetic. Electric.
What representation means to him: To me, it enables you to feel part of a community. Representation permits you to know there are others in the world with similar experiences to you due to your common identity. It has to power to diminish the negative aspects of solitude.
A post shared by Chella Man (@chellaman) on May 5, 2018 at 3:35pm PDT
What he wishes older people understood about him: My identity is valid, although most of it falls on a spectrum between standard categories.
His greatest accomplishment (so far): Being completely honest with myself and all others around me.
What he’ll be doing 10 years from now: Ideally, I would love to be continuously creating art, giving speeches on life as a queer, disabled person of color, and opening others’ minds to the fact that identities lie on a continuum.
I knew a lot would change after top surgery, and I foresaw most of the changes. My chest doesn’t bounce anymore. It remains compact and flat without any material forcing it to stay that way. When I lean over, nothing hangs. The two weights attached to my chest are gone. They are done dragging me down. I stand tall: back flat, front flat. But there is one change that has surprised me. It is my heart. Before, buried under a mound of my body I never connected with, it now beats stronger than ever. Its rhythm drums just beneath the surface of my skin, louder and more powerful than ever before. After noticing this change, I chuckled to myself. How ironic… I told myself to follow my heart and it seems that I’ve found it, both literally and figuratively. In my bio, I’ve linked my column on @them, including the polaroids documenting my chest’s healing process!
A post shared by Chella Man (@chellaman) on Feb 9, 2018 at 9:04am PST
What inspires him: Seeing the ambition and passion in queer, disabled, young artists today. It inspires me to continue my path and encourage them to continue theirs.
How he thinks Gen Z will change the world: Perspectives. With today’s technology, we are able to see and hear others from all over the world. This exposure combined with open dialogue will encourage us to make empathetic decisions based on all that we take in online and offline.