Friday, 14 November 2014

Interview with Isley Reust: Update

Monika: It is amazing how much has changed in your life since our first interview in February 2014! The most visible change is your hair. From blue to blonde again!☺
Isley Reust: HAHA Yes, coloring my hair blue was the worst mistake ever. It took me about 6 months to get it back to blonde.
Monika: In October 2014 your band “Spectacular Spectacular” finally released the first single titled “Orange Juice”. It is a disco song. Is the whole album going to cover disco songs? When is the album going to be released?
Isley Reust: We released our first single on October 7th and are releasing the single to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Target Music etc on November 25th. The rest of the album comes out sometime in February.
As far as what the album sounds like, it's going to be a very diverse mixture of songs, mainly because we wrote and recorded the record over the course of two and a half years. Nonetheless we promise you won't be let down. We have tracks that are very dark and melodic, to some that are dancey and a couple acoustic tracks that are very intimate. The album flows very well!

Monika: The band consists of three beautiful ladies: Jessica De Grasse, Millie Chan, and yourself. How did you all meet and decide to form a girls band?
Isley Reust: Jessica and I met about ten years ago at a party, two close friends introduced us and said that she and I would make beautiful music together one day. So to cut a long story short, she and I started a band, put out 2 eps and toured the U.S for awhile.
During that time I was playing in two bands and touring. Things got overwhelming and I decide to basically quit playing music and go into hiding and focus on my transition in 2009. Fast forward a couple years to early 2011-12 and Jessica and I decided to form a new band in San Francisco.
Over the course of the next two years we wrote many songs and made countless trips to Los Angles to record. During that process I met Millie Chan and we all immediately all hit it off. We knew she was the missing piece to the band. 
Photo by Joseph Viles - in Los Angeles, California.
Monika: Where does the name of the band come from?
Isley Reust: The name came from one of our favorite movies Moulin Rouge.
Monika: Are you going to have any concerts soon?
Isley Reust: We plan on doing a full U.S and Canada tour March-May and doing some more touring throughout the year. We would love to hit up Europe at some point also. 
Monika: The most exciting news is that you will be on Glee soon - an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on the Fox network. Could you say a few words about your role as well as your expectations about this show?
Isley Reust: I'm going to be a part of a trans choir piece for the show. I'm super excited for that and think it's a great opportunity.
Monika: Which actresses or movies are your inspirations?
Isley Reust: I've loved Shannyn Sossamon since I was younger. Of course Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett.
Monika: In 2015 you will have a new film coming out, directed by Tony Minas. It is called “The Story of Isley Reust, Transwoman”…
Isley Reust: Tony and I started working in this film around April 2014 and plan to wrap up shooting Jan. 2015. The release date is still unknown but my guess would say around summer 2015.
In the film I play a trans woman who sets off on a journey to find true happiness and self discovery. I'm extremely excited for this film and the direction it's headed. We also play to have it in some international film festivals and do some art exhibits with it as well.

A still from “The Story of Isley Reust, Transwoman”.

Monika: On 10 October 2014, “True Trans with Laura Jane Grace” premiered with its first episode, and you participated in this project too!
Isley Reust: YES! I was very honored to have been part of this remarkable show. I love that Laura did this and think it's going to help the community a lot.
I've heard nothing but positive feedback from it so far. I make appearances throughout the show and also have a featured bonus segment. I believe episode 6 they show some of my YouTube footage.
Monika: Did you have a chance to make friends with Laura Jane Grace?
Isley Reust: Yeah since the taping of the show Laura and I have remained in contact and hung out a few times. She is one of those special friends that I'll always want in my life! 
Monika: Apart from your professional career a lot happened in your personal life. You underwent a gender reassignment surgery. Did you have many fears before the operation? 
Isley Reust: I did not have really any fears besides what the pain was going to be like. It was more of a feeling of peace I had inside.
The Spectacular Trio: Isley Reust, Millie Chan and Jessica De Grasse.
When they wheeled my into the surgery room I was crying not out of sadness but out of pure joy and that I couldn't believe this day was actually going to happen. The feeling was indescribable. I will forever cherish that day. 
Monika: Where did you undergo the operation?
Isley Reust: I had it with Marci Bowers in San Mateo.
Monika: What was your first thought when you woke up from narcosis? Did you feel any pain?
Isley Reust: My first thought was where is my phone, give me my phone I have to text everyone I know and tell them I have a vagina and how happy I was.
Monika: Are you feeling complete now?
Isley Reust: I feel 110%, never felt better.
Monika: Are you working on any other new projects now?
Isley Reust: I have a couple projects in the talks for the upcoming year. I'm always trying to better and improve myself as a person.
So far 2014 has been the best year of my life. All I can say is for 2015 is going to be a big year for me!
Monika: Isley, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Isley Reust.
Done on 14 November 2014
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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