Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Interview with Rhyannon Styles


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Rhyannon Styles, an actress, writer, ELLE UK magazine’s columnist, one of the most influential British LGBTQ activists, and the author of the biographical memoir titled “The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is” (2017). Hello Rhyannon!
Rhyannon: Hi Monika!
Monika: You are a woman of so many talents that I do not know how to start … Let me start with your acting career … You have been a performer in Carnesky Productions since 2008. Their latest theatre show ‘Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman’ was recently at the Soho Theatre in London. How do you find yourself putting the magic back into menstruation? :)
Rhyannon: You know the classic sawing in half trick? Usually performed by male magicians, well this time we reversed the action. I appear from inside the sawing in half illusion, naked and covered in blood. It was purely magical.


Monika: Could you elaborate more on your other performances?
Rhyannon: I have been performing since 2004. Which has included the Guggenheim in New York City, dancing with Kylie Minogue on ITV and touring with Arcade Fire.
Monika: In September 2016 you made your TV appearance in the BBC’s drama ‘Boy Meets Girl’. Did you like your character and atmosphere during shooting the drama?
Rhyannon: I played a trans woman who attends a support group to talk about a recent transphobic attack. The atmosphere on set was exciting. I really like the buzz around a production like that.
Monika: I had an interview with Rebecca Root, playing the lead role in this drama, just before the premiere date of “Boy Meets Girl”. She was hoping that the drama was going to make a bit of a splash in the UK. What is your view on the perception of the drama and transgender characters?
Rhyannon: I think it has done just that. It has been noted as one of the first dramas to include trans actors. Which many other shows have now continued with.
The book will be released on 1st June 2017.
For pre-order, click here.
The book cover by Cameron McNee.
Monika: Do you have any favourite actresses?
Rhyannon: Cate Blanchett, Courtney Love, Christina Ricci.
Monika: Many cisgender actresses play transgender women. Why we cannot see any transgender actresses playing cisgender women?
Rhyannon: We will very soon, I know it’s going to happen within the next year!
Monika: However, it is amazing to see so many talented transowomen in the UK that promote the transgender cause across the nation...
Rhyannon: Yes, the UK has a wealth of trans people who are visible right now.
Monika: Why did you decide to write your memoir?
Rhyannon: I was asked by my publishers ‘Headline’, after they read my ELLE columns.
Monika: Which aspects of your experience can be useful for other transwomen? 
Rhyannon: I’ve loved transitioning, but it required buckets of patience and acceptance. I hope others will realise to transition is not something that can happen overnight and it definitely isn’t a trend.
Monika: At what age did you transition into woman yourself? Was it a difficult process? 
Rhyannon: I started at the age of 30. It wasn’t difficult, although occasionally it was challenging. But, I believe without obstacles you don’t grow.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Rhyannon: I loved referencing my Nan Goldin book called ‘The Other Side’. It really helped me when I didn’t feel that I was progressing.


Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
Rhyannon: Many – Charlie Craggs, Paris Lees, Hari Nef and Mx Justin Vivian Bond. 
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Rhyannon: Being honest with myself.
Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities. Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBTQ group?
Rhyannon: Absolutely, I think the ‘T’ is a very powerful letter in the abbreviation. It may be at the end, but for many it’s the most prominent.
Another headshot.
Monika: I love your style! Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Rhyannon: I’m still learning about my style, and I often buy things which don’t work for me. But I believe in progress and not perfection.
I love wide legged trousers because they complement my long legs. I’ve recently got back into buying heels too.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Rhyannon: Love for yourself is an absolute must, when you can do that others will flock towards you.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Rhyannon: Yes, a collaboration with a cosmetic brand – but I can’t say who it is yet. 
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls struggling with gender dysphoria?
Rhyannon: Talk to people, don’t isolate yourself and remember your situation will always improve.
Monika: Rhyannon, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Rhyannon Styles.
Done on 22 February 2017
© 2017 - Monika 

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