Ivory Aquino who stars in ‘When We Rise’ comes out as transgender
‘When We Rise’ star Ivory Aquino has come out as transgender in a moving interview with People.
Aquino, who stars as the trans activist Cecilia Chung in the ABC mini series, is still in the beginning of her acting career.
The 26-year-old, who did not want to appear onscreen prior to her transition surgery, always knew she wanted to act and now she finally feels like there is a place for her in the world.
Speaking about her surgery, the actor said she finally felt like herself.
“My outsides finally felt like my insides. The first thought that came to mind was, ‘I can act again!’”
‘When We Rise’ isn’t the actor’s first appearance in front of an audience. She played Juliet in The Drilling Company’s production of the Shakespeare drama Romeo and Juliet.
Reflecting on the play, she said: “I would look out into the audience every night — I tear up from the love I felt from them. They didn’t know I was transgender and it didn’t matter because they were invested in the story and the character and for me, as an actress, that’s what matters.”
When We Rise is created by Dustin Lance Black. Black, who is engaged to olympic diver Tom Daley, said that he was not aware of Aquino’s gender identity until he watched her audition tape.
“He said he loved what I did, but was a little pissed at casting because he was very committed to having a transgender actress play the role and had asked them to send him tapes of transgender actresses,” she said.
The project has been life changing for Aquino.
“You spend your whole life dreaming of these things,” she said. “And it’s really humbling when your dreams come true.”