A year ago Monday, Dylan Mulvaney came out as a trans woman and began chronicling her journey on TikTok with her “Days of Girlhood” series.
To celebrate her one-year anniversary, Mulvaney hosted a cabaret show, “Dylan Mulvaney’s Day 365 Live!,” at the iconic Rainbow Room in New York. Before the show, she spoke with Variety on the red carpet about what she’s learned from her very public and unexpected journey.
“It was such an accident, but a very happy one,” Mulvaney told Variety on Monday night. “Going in, I had no idea just how vulnerable I would get and how much I had to learn about womanhood.”
The 80-minute variety show began with a pre-recorded clip of Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) comforting Mulvaney in her dressing room. From there, Mulvaney eagerly entered from the balcony at the back of the Rainbow Room and sang a series of Kate Bush covers.
Mulvaney’s extravaganza included an inspiring monologue from Dominique Jackson (“Pose”), a satirical blind dating segment hosted by Jonathan Van Ness (“Queer Eye”) and a duet sung with Reneé Rapp (“Mean Girls”).
“I’m so excited to be here because I would lay my life on the line for Dylan and I’m so proud of her,” Rapp told Variety. “She’s such a fucking force.”
The show raised awareness and funds for the Trevor Project, which provides crisis support and mental health resources for LGBTQ+ youth. While fans bought tickets to watch the event streamed live on Stellar, the website crashed for some viewers due to popular demand.
The audience seated in the Rainbow Room was filled with Mulvaney’s friends and family, including her father, who interrupted her closing speech with a warm hug. While Mulvaney took the time to thank her supporters, the show also spotlighted many online criticisms of her transition journey. At one point in the show, a compilation video of right-wing commentators like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens dismissing Mulvaney’s gender identity was met with loud boos from the audience.
Another segment featured Mulvaney’s fellow trans sisters dismantling negative comments from Mulvaney’s TikTok videos and explaining the definition of a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Crediting the generosity of her online community, Mulvaney said that the positive comments she’s received have outweighed the hurtful criticisms.
“I don’t think I fully knew what I was signing up for when I went online,” Mulvaney said. “Overall, it’s been fully worth it because I get messages from all sorts of people saying that they feel closer to their true selves, or they’re discovering things about themselves through my videos. I think that’s all I could really ask for is just for people to be their best versions of themselves.”
At the end of the show, Mulvaney joyfully declared that she is ready to start her journey of womanhood. She recently told Variety’s Marc Malkin that part of her new chapter will be scaling back from TikTok and exploring new artistic endeavors. She hinted that one possibility could be creating a musical series in the vein of “Smash.”
“If you ever remember the show ‘Smash,’ I totally could see myself doing sort of a TV show with singing where I play myself,” Mulvaney said on the red carpet. “It’d be very dramatic but camp.”
On a larger scale, Mulvaney said she hopes to make trans stories more mainstream and spotlight other trans creatives.
“Following trans creators, and especially trans creators of color, online is very important,” Mulvaney said. “Making a parasocial connection with someone online will help people at least better understand our community. There are so amazing people out there that are sharing their stories.”