Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

Trace Lysette becomes first ever trans actress to lead a film at Venice Film Festival

Lysette stars in Monica as a trans woman reconnecting with her sick mother who had rejected her.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: E! Entertainment

Trace Lysette has made history as the first trans actress to headline a competition film at the Venice Film Festival, attending to promote her new film, Monica.

The 34-year-old is recognisable for her appearance in Jennifer Lopez’s hit film Hustlers and Prime Video’s groundbreaking show Transparent but Monica sees her venture into an emotionally taut role as a woman returning home to take care of her sick mother who had rejected her trans identity.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Trace Lysette (@tracelysette)

Directed by Andrea Pallaoro, Monica sees Lysette as the first trans actress to lead a Venice Film Festival film, an achievement she is still coming to terms with on the red carpet dressed in Valentino, via an interview with Deadline.

“I’m just figuring all that out,” she shared. “That headline dropped [this week] and I questioned it, and now I’m just processing it.”

“I hope what it means is more open doors for Trans people in the world cinema and feature films in general,” she added.

Lysette went on to outline the parallels of her own experience with that of her character: “That struggle with our biological families is unfortunately too typical in the Trans community. I weep for my Trans siblings who have to go through that.” 

“I was fortunate in that the period of time my mother and I were working things out, on the rocks or estranged or whatever you want to call it, it was a much shorter period of time than what Monica experiences with her mother,” the actress shares.

Lysette continues to state that she hopes her own mother will be “an example to other parents who are having that internal battle,” noting it is a sensitive subject that remains hard for her to address.

“I love my mother so much and want to celebrate her with all the time we have left with each other,” she adds. “I think Monica has a similar journey.”

Looking to the future, Lysette reveals she has a leading role in a new film titled Dope Queens in which she’ll star alongside Drag Race All Stars 6 winner Kylie Sonique Love.

Beyond that, she is hoping that Monicashakes things up a little bit. 

Watch the trailer for Monica below:

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.