Hari Nef is breaking down barriers faster than she ever anticipated. The model/actress is the first transgender woman to sign with IMG, a feat she still can’t believe she pulled off. Now that Nef is well on her way to conquering the modeling world, she’s setting her sights on Hollywood with a new role in Transparent, the comedy-drama series that follows the lives of a family after they discover their father is transgender. Ahead of the show’s Season 2 premiere on December 11, Nef spoke with Fashionista about her historic IMG placement and Hollywood’s hesitancy to embrace the transgender community.
On her historic IMG contract:
“Every other smaller agency in New York either turned me down or wouldn’t meet with me. I walked in [IMG] and I was like, ‘Yeah, well I would love this, but you know, you’re IMG and I’m me. How would this ever work?’ But they said, ‘No, you could do this, this, and this — so what if you can’t get booked for catalog work? We see a whole career for you. We’re not just trying to make money tomorrow.'”
On Eddie Redmayne playing a transgender woman in The Danish Girl:
“Is Eddie Redmayne a great actor? Yes. Could they have easily found a trans actor? […] It’s not Eddie Redmayne’s fault. It’s probably not even the director’s [Tom Hooper’s] fault. It’s the system we’re in.”
On transgender characters like Transparent‘s Maura Pfefferman being played by cisgender actors:
“I’m comfortable with it [but] there’s only going to be so many more times I can see these big roles that are supposed to be trans go to cis actors where I’m going to keep feeling okay about this. Because maybe when they were casting it, I wasn’t around. Maybe not even Laverne [Cox] was around. Trace [Lysette], Alexandra [Billings]… Maybe they didn’t know who we were. Maybe our phones were off that day. Maybe our agents forgot to email us.”
Read the full interview here.