A Filipina-American talent in Hollywood is working hard to improve onscreen representation of the transgender community.
Born in Manila and moved to Guam at 5-years old, Rain Valdez always had big dreams.
“It’s always been a big dream of mine to be an actress. At a very young age, I was always watching movies and TV and identify with a lot of the female characters that I was watching. Early part of high school, I started to make plans, I wanted to move to the [US] mainland so I can pursue my dream,” Valdez said.
When she eventually went on audition in Hollywood, she did not disclose her real gender identity at first. Before the TV show “Transparent” and other projects about transgender like her became popular in Hollywood, the portrayal of trans-people in movies and TV shows typically left much to be desired.
Encouraged by the courage of other actresses like fellow Filipina Geena Rocero, Valdez told her truth and has since found her place in Hollywood through her work.
She's a consultant for the award-winning show Transparent and will also guest star on its season 4.
On "Lopez," the sitcom of comedian George Lopez, she has a scene-stealing role.
“One of my favorite lines that I got to say was that 'I'm not here to be your token', a line that runs deep for me and my community because as a nation of American transwomen, we’ve been tokenized for so long in this industry,” she said.
She's also a writer and director in a short film called “Hexed,” premiering in July.
Valdez is working hard to help improve her community's representation in Hollywood, on and off screen
“We have so much resilience in us and we have so much pavement to create to get to a certain point of true equality. And to be at the forefront of that, along with my trans-sisters, is quite an honor and I just hope that I can really use my voice, my platform to move our country, our world to a place of true equality,” she said.
Read more on Balitang America: