Leyna Bloom, star of “Port Authority,” made history at this year’s Cannes Film Festival by becoming the first trans actress of color to lead a film that played the fest. She spoke about the accomplishment, which she “shared with trans women all around the world,” at Kering’s Women in Motion panel on Monday.
“Port Authority,” directed by Danielle Lessovitz, is set in the kiki ballroom scene in New York, in which various “houses” perform in drag dance competitions. Bloom started out in the ballroom scene when she was a teenager in Chicago, moving to New York at 17.
“When you arrive at Port Authority, you have this hope in mind that someone will see you,” she said, describing her first days in New York.
But Bloom says that no agency would sign her. “Your skin is too dark, your body’s not shaped the right way,” were some of the responses she said she got. “I knew what I had to fight for.”
Though acceptance of trans people is “happening at a very slow pace,” Bloom says, things are changing, “not just in Hollywood, but around the world.”
“Now women like me have a seat at the table,” she says.