Variety Presents its Transgender Talent Guide

AP Photo
AP Photo

Hollywood trade publication Variety published its guide to “7 Names to Know in Transgender Hollywood” on Wednesday.

The list is a who’s-who of up-and coming transgender actors and actresses who are set to appear in upcoming high-profile Hollywood projects.

1. Jamie Clayton

Jamie Clayton

Clayton, who first appeared in fellow transgender star Laverne Cox’s makeover show Transform Me, recently landed a role in the new Netflix sci-fi series Sense8, from The Matrix’s Wachowski siblings. According to Variety, Clayton reportedly beat out every transgender actress in town for the highly coveted role, including Cox.

2. Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez


The two transgender actresses will make their Hollywood debut with Tangerine, which premiered at Sundance in January. The film, shot using an iPhone, follows two transgender prostitutes as they attempt to confront a pimp boyfriend on a hectic Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Reporter dubbed the movie “surprisingly heartwarming.”

3. Trace Lysette

Trace Lysette

Lysette, who played Shea in two episodes of Amazon’s Golden Globe-winning series Transparent, will appear next in the pilot episode for The Curse of the Fuentes Women, from Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta. The actress is set to play Gloria, the “brash transgender hostess” at the Fuentes family café, according to Deadline.

4. Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings (from prev. Breitbart article)

After Laverne Cox, Jennings is probably the most visible transgender actress in Hollywood. The 14-year-old recently landed a reality show at E! called All that Jazz, which will follow the exploits of the young YouTube star as she navigates high school. Jennings was also recently selected by Johnson & Johnson to be one of the faces of its #SeeTheRealMe campaign for the Clean & Clear skincare line.

5. Rhys Ernst

Rhys Ernst

Ernst, the second-unit director on Amazon’s Transparent, is reportedly working on a television series about a transgender teen in high school. The director and producer told Variety he’d one day like to make an indie buddy comedy about two middle-aged transgender friends on a road trip. “Making inroads for trans people in the industry is an important step in the long game,” Ernst told Variety.

6. Janet Mock

Janet Mock

Mock, a former editor at People magazine and a current contributing editor at Marie Claire, is the host of the So Popular web series on Mock recently shared her story of coming out in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Transgender actors and actresses are not the only ones set to play transgender characters in high-profile upcoming projects. Eddie Redmayne, fresh off his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, will appear next in The Danish Girl, a biopic about transgender artist Lili Elbe from The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper.

American Idol alum Ryan Seacrest will serve as executive producer on ABC Family reality series Becoming Us, which follows 17-year-old Ben Lehwald as he struggles with his father’s transition.

And, as previously reported, Orange is the New Black superstar Laverne Cox will appear next in a new transgender legal drama from CBS titled Doubt.

“I never wanted to be the only one,” Cox told Variety for May’s cover story. “The change will happen when there’s a slew of us.”