Instagram: @tracelysette
Instagram: @tracelysette

Trace Lysette has made history as the first trans actress to headline a competition film at the Venice Film Festival.

On 3 September, the Transparent star attended the coveted event for her new film Monica.

Directed by Andrea Pallaoro, the movie follows Lysette’s titular character as she returns home to take care of her sick mother – who had previously rejected her trans identity.

Per the logline, the film explores “universal themes of abandonment, ageing, acceptance, and redemption.”

After attending the premiere, the Hustlers star opened up about her groundbreaking Venice Film Festival achievement during an interview with Deadline.

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

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

“I feel there is such a lack… there are rooms we just don’t get in and it’s so rare we get to lead a film. It means a lot to me personally, but it also means a lot to the community. I hope it does.”


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Elsewhere in the interview, Lysette discussed the parallels between the film and her own experiences as a trans woman.

“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,” she said.

“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.

“I cherish my mother. She had the courage to interrogate the belief that society and religion had instilled in her. And she overcame them because of the love she had for me, her child.”

Towards the end of her interview, Lysette expressed her hopes that the film would “shake things up a little bit” in regards to future trans representation in Hollywood.

Before making history at the Venice Film Festival, the 34-year-old first made waves for her roles in Jennifer Lopez’s hit film Hustlers and Prime Video’s groundbreaking TV series Transparent.

Alongside her landmark role in Monica, Lysette is also set to star in the upcoming film Dope Queens – which will feature Drag Race All Stars 6 winner Kylie Sonique Love.

Watch the trailer for Monica here or below.