Daniielle Alexis – the transgender actress making waves in Hollywood
Alexis is an Australian-born transgender woman on an acting visa in the US – and she is fully embracing her Hollywood trailblazer status.
After overcoming bullying, family struggles and discrimination, she is now living life on her own terms.
Before her move to Los Angeles, the West Australian appeared in popular Aussie television shows such as Wentworth and The Heights.
She spoke to the magazine about growing up in Perth, facing discrimination, her transition, and her passion for acting.
Her story shows the importance of chasing your dream and always living life as your most authentic self.
Daniielle was born in Bunbury, in WA’s South West, and moved to the state’s capital, Perth, when she was young.
“My parents got divorced when I was six years old so I was moved to Perth quite young with my mum and older sister Ashton,” she said.
“Obviously, that was a little tough dealing with your parents splitting up but that wasn’t the biggest of my issues.”
She explained from a very young age – around five – she was already struggling with gender identity.
“It was very apparent to my parents that I was showing signs of being super feminine and verbalising things about wanting to be a woman,” she said.
At first, Daniielle’s parents pushed it under the rug – thinking she was copying her older sisters.
As she got older, Daniielle’s identity began to emerge more powerfully.
She calls moving to Perth a hidden blessing.
“My dad, who is supportive now, is a very alpha Australian man and my mum is a feminine, open female who was a lot more, I guess, understanding,” she said.
This meant when she was alone with her sisters and mum, she was able to express herself more.
In Perth, her mum met another man, whom she later married.
Daniielle calls her stepdad “amazing” and a pivotal part of her transition because he was so supportive.
She also spoke of her struggles with relentless bullying growing up.
“My upbringing and school was pretty horrific and traumatising to be honest,” she said.
“The reason for this was bullying, harassment, mental and physical abuse.”
She credits her family with constantly assuring her that if she got through school, life would get better.
After high school, she could start leading the life she wanted to.
So, following this period, she started her transition at 19.
“It was my mother and female friends around me at the time that were so supportive – which is absolutely vital in someone transitioning,” she said.
The supportive feminine energy in her corner made her feel like everything was going to be okay.
“Transitioning is not easy, no one that is trans who I have spoken to has had a walk in the park,” she said.
“It’s very apparent every day that we put up with judgement, abuse and being outcast – but I do definitely want to state that the power of my family, girlfriends and sisters, really helped me become the woman that I am.
“My family definitely have a huge role in shaping who I am as a woman.”
Daniielle got into acting through her older sister, who was doing singing training as a child.
Her mum wanted her to also do something creative – and acting was that outlet.
“I got into drama and excelled in that, I knew that I wanted to go on the stage, or tv and film and express my creativity,” she said.
“From that point it was always at the forefront of mind but I was just waiting for the right time, when you transition it always sort of becomes a priority so I put acting on the backburner.
“But once I was secure and all good with myself, I was like now is the time.”
Daniielle worked on a BHP mine in WA’s Pilbara while saving to pursue her dreams of acting in the US.
She needed a job that would help assist her career goals – basically something that was casual work and paid well, which took her to the mines.
“BHP is a super diverse, inclusive company and were more than happy to give me a go at driving the haul trucks for them,” she said.
Now she is in the US and planning to take LA by storm.
In Australia, she is now represented by Actors Management International and in LA she’s managed by ATN Entertainment.
“I am aiming to make waves in LA as basically the face of Australia for transgender people,” she said.
“I feel like I am kicking goals and it’s been a long journey, but I am here and ready to work and represent our country.”
The actress also had some inspiring advice for all women on International Women’s Day, encouraging people to truly believe in themselves.
“This is not just for transgender women, this is for cisgender women, non-binary, trans-femme, however you categorise yourself, my advice is to always look in the mirror and dig deep in who you visualise yourself as and know that, no matter how you look or what statistic you fall under, you are able to achieve whatever you want to be if you believe in yourself,” she said.
“Once I truly believed in myself and saw myself as an unstoppable female that’s when I really accelerated into where I wanted to be.
“I am all for support and female empowerment, if you carry that energy and belief – you can do anything you put your mind to.”
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