This 'Rise' actor discusses playing a transgender character
Ellie Desautels opens up about representation
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The new NBC series 'Rise' follows high school students coming from varying backgrounds and joining together through musical theater. Ellie Desautels, who plays the main character Michael, believes this is one of the first mainstream television shows to represent the transgender audience accurately.
Desautels identifies as non-binary and trans-masculine. Through the use of personal experience as well as contact with others who have gone through similar high school experiences, Desautels portrays a fictional character that is rooted in truth.
“The plot was interesting and gripping, and of course the character description for Michael resonated with me deeply, but what ultimately made me want to play Michael was knowing that the creators were auditioning transgender actors and wanted to ensure that Michael’s story was portrayed authentically,” Desautels told Teen Vogue. “It was so exciting to think that I could be actively involved in improving trans representation on TV, considering it is my other passion. That I could act and improve trans representation at the same time? It certainly felt like the job for me.”
Watch as Desautels and fellow modern high school characters 'Rise' to the occasion Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
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