Thursday, March 21, 2024

I Love A Success Story - Trace Lysette

 She makes history with film 'Monica'

PUBLISHED 6:00 AM ET JUN. 08, 2023

Trace Lysette is an actress and producer best known for her recurring role as Shea in all 5 seasons of Amazon's critically acclaimed series Transparent and for the feature film Hustlers alongside Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B and Constance Wu. IMDb

Tracy Lysette

It’s a full-circle moment for actress Trace Lysette.

She’s back in the West Village to celebrate the premiere of “Monica,” a new film in which she stars.

“I would describe it as a family story that centers on a trans woman. And that’s extremely rare. But we don’t really drive home the trans of it all that much. It’s more about the fact that this woman who has lived this full life, she’s this fully formed, well lived in trans woman who is trying to make the most of what time she has left with her birth parent,” said Lysette.

“Monica” tells the story of a trans woman who returns home after decades of estrangement from her dying mother, played by Patricia Clarkson.

“Monica” is making history. It’s the first-ever film led by a transgender actor to debut at the Venice Film Festival in its nearly 80-year history.

It received an 11-and-a-half minute standing ovation.

“The praise has been amazing. It kind of feels like a dream. Like I’m like, is this all real? Am I living in a simulation or is this really happening this time? You know, cause I’ve been acting for a while, but this is the first time I’ve led a film,” she said.

Lysette grew up in Dayton, Ohio and moved to New York with dreams of making it to the silver screen.

She says being a trans woman in the West Village 20 years ago was anything but easy.

Lysette sat down with “On Stage” host Frank DiLella to talk more.

NY Times - Trace Lysette hopes
 her trans role in ‘Monica’ opens doors -- and eyes

Frank DiLella: “I was so moved by your New York premiere. You got up on that stage, you said ‘it’s interesting to have this premiere in the West Village. This is a place where you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into. I think you said you worked the streets here.”

Trace Lysette: “I did. It was an emotional premiere. What are the odds that of all the places that we could show this movie, that it would premiere there in the Village? There’s something liberating talking about that now, knowing that it was a long time ago. It’s like a reclamation for me. It’s like leading a film, being the star of a movie that is now, that is now playing in the West Village in the place that I felt most unsafe in my life. But it had to be there.”

DiLella: “You also said something else. Your friends were in the audience. You said, this film is for my girls. What do you mean by that?”

Lysette: “Trans people as a whole are just going through so much right now. And when I think about our journey, my journey, our collective journey, and the gatekeeping that goes on with telling our stories, I just, I really, I wanted my girlfriends in the audience to know this is for them. This is for every trans girl that just didn’t get the shot, that never got her story told.”

DiLella: “What do you think you would say to yourself, yourself who was here 20 years ago, trying to survive with all that, you know now?”

Lysette: “I would tell her it’s going to be all right.And that she’s stronger than she knows. I would tell her she’s talented more than she knows, more than, um, clearly more than the world knew. And that I would say that you are precious and beautiful and lovable.”

“Monica” is out now in select theaters.

Special thanks to Bell Book & Candle for hosting this interview.

Monica - Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films

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