EXCLUSIVE | 'Dear White People' star Quei Tann is already an icon for Trans community

'Dear White People' star Quei Tann opens up about her past and why Queer stars should be given lead roles


                            EXCLUSIVE | 'Dear White People' star Quei Tann is already an icon for Trans community
A still of Quei Tann (Laura Ackermann/Advantage PR)
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In recent years, there has been a lot of representation from the LGBTQIA+ community on the silver screen. A lot of stellar performances from Queer actors have taken the television world by storm and the actors are giving their best to have better roles in the projects.

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Many notable personalities like Ru Paul, Elliot Page, and more have already been considered to be an icon from the community, with people looking up to them to achieve their dreams. One of the actors who have garnered universal praise for her acting in shows like 'Bruh' and most recently, 'Dear White People' is Quei Tann. The Queer actor has been working since 2017 and has a diverse resume. However, her journey hasn't been so easy. 

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During her childhood, she encountered a lot of difficulties and went on to say inside a car to achieve what she wanted. Years later, she is now regarded as one of the brightest talents working in Hollywood and is already an icon for the Trans community. As a Trans actor, people are watching her work and dreaming to achieve all the things that they wanted to. MEAWW sat down with Quei to talk about her career and how she overcame all the difficulties to become an actor. 

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Quei Tann as Genifer in 'Dear White People' (Justin Simien/Netflix)

 

Q) While reading about you, I got to know about the challenges you faced. It was not easy for you to overcome everything and start a new life. So, how difficult has it been for you to leave all the negatives behind and achieve everything that you wanted to? 

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Quei: Thank you for saying this so beautifully. It really puts everything into perspective. One day you wake up and this is your life. Right now, I’m shooting a film for Blumhouse, so yeah it has been dream come true for me. Someone recommended to me a book called ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and it’s about if you want something and you write it down, you can attract it toward yourself. This is similar to all kinds of disciplines and there’s an idea that you are what you tell yourself. So, I used to tell myself that I am going to become a film and a television actor, I am going to have this level of success and it happened. It’s a really beautiful thing to witness when you have a goal and it seems so lofty, but you say ‘no, you can achieve that’. It’s a really beautiful thing and I am very proud of myself.

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Q) We have seen you in so many amazing titles. As a trans-woman, you represent talent and elegance. A lot of people from the Trans community are looking up to you and starting to think that they can also achieve their dreams. For them, you highlight acceptance. Is that important when a role is offered to you or it’s all about acting. 

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Quei: I hope, the things I do in my career would help other people specifically those with who I share such an identity. As of now, I don’t get to see the people who watch ‘Dear White People’ or other things that I have done because I don’t have much following on social media or anything. However, there have been some people who reach out to me online but I don’t think about the idea that people can be looking at me and say, ‘Wow, I’m inspired by her’. I haven’t necessarily thought about that because I’m so busy working in Hollywood that I don’t get to do many conversations with people outside of it. But to even think about that is really beautiful and I hope anyone looking up to me would know that I’m just a person like anyone else and just because I have tasted success in my career doesn’t mean I have things figured out in other areas of my life. All I know how to do is what I’m doing.

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When I was in LA, trying to get noticed, Laverne Cox was not on television. She was doing other things, but she wasn’t on ‘Orange is the New Black’ and there was no slate of Trans actors working and having these opportunities, they still had men playing Trans women. I told myself every day that it doesn’t matter if I don’t see an opportunity, I’m gonna make an opportunity for myself.

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Q) We see a lot of representation from the LGBTQ+ community. But most of the time, we see them getting supporting roles or cameo roles. As a Queer actor, have you ever felt that you are being put into a bracket and you need to go past it?

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Quei: Yeah, I mean my goal is to play the lead role. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to have recurring roles. Yeah, I definitely want bigger roles and that has happened. If you look at the trajectory of my career, I’ve continued to do more and more roles. I’ll definitely take a leading role and I’m looking forward that to expanding. And I believe what you are seeing is that when you are not the norm in a narrative I think people find it easy to make them the sidekick or the comedic relief because people feel in order to follow a hero’s journey, they need to be able to imprint themselves on to them. I don’t think that thinking is correct because the audience would cheer for someone who is unique as we all know what it’s like to be unique.

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Q) What has been the most precious moment in your acting career and why?

Quei: It is really hard to say just one, but I want to say the most precious moment for me is when I said that I want to stay committed to this and I am going to go with this because it’s not a job. The jobs are like someone chose me or someone validated me and said you are right for this. So, it can’t be the job, it has to be something from inside of me. I would say that the most precious moment of my career was probably when I was living in my car. As a teenager, I had nowhere to go but I knew I had to be here (Hollywood). I had a job at Hollister and then, I had a job in a restaurant in Santa Monica. I would sit in a parking lot that had two eating joints and I would take receipts from Del Taco’s and if you call on the number printed on that and take a small survey, then they will give you a code and you can have a free Burrito. That’s what I would do. So, I would say that’s the most precious and proudest moment because I fought for my dream and that’s the most precious thing for me. 

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Quei will be next seen alongside Kevin Bacon in the upcoming Blumhouse horror movie that will be released on Peacock in 2022.