Photography by Jeaneen Lund. From left: Angelica Ross, Sydney Freeland, and Jen Richards. Photographed at Cactus Cube Studio on August 16, 2016.
Angelica Ross plays Lambda Legal attorney Paige Jones on the Emmy-nominated Web series Her Story, and is also an advocate offscreen, working with TransTech Social Enterprises to empower the community via education and employment. “I don’t plan on wearing the trans label on my forehead every time I walk into an audition,” says Ross, “but as a SAG union actor I will be counted among the rest of trans Hollywood, so we can continue to build strength in numbers and create stronger stories across all genres.”
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Her Story director Sydney Freeland is keen on relating the truth through narrative. “What I was interested in was having the opportunity to humanize people from communities that tend to be misrepresented in the media,” she says. It’s her work, along with its relatable cast, that makes the show so engaging and enlightening. Says Freeland,“Being trans in Hollywood means having the chance to tell trans and LGBT stories in a more authentic manner.”
For Jen Richards, being trans in Hollywood comes with a lot of responsibility. “I can’t expect others to create the stories, roles, and opportunities we need, and the stakes are too high to wait for that day to come,” she says. “It’s a lot of pressure, but ultimately that sense of moral imperative brings clarity and determination.” It has also brought Her Story, which she co-writes, produces, and stars in. “I have the honor of carrying untold stories,” says Richards. “The sense of purpose they impart to me is a gift I cherish.”
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