With ‘Monica,’ Trace Lysette Is Ready for More

Trace Reset has no children, but is a mother. Alternatively, for nearly a decade, she reigned on the New York ballroom scene as the mother of the legendary Mizrahi family.

In 2012, when she walked into a ball in a Marilyn Monroe costume, the children she cared for still cheer that night. Her hair was bleached blonde and faux fur was cinched with a borrowed Comme des Garçons belt.a YouTube video From that evening she is depicted leading a swooning crowd.

in the new movie “Monica” Lisette (in theatre) becomes enamored with a less intense, but equally powerful expression of motherhood. She plays the title character, a transgender woman who reunites with her estranged family in caring for an ailing mother (played by Patricia Clarkson) who initially does not recognize her daughter. and reconcile with anxiety.

“This is not just a transgender story. It’s a family story,” Lysette said in a recent video interview from Los Angeles.

Leisurely directed by Andrea Pallaolo, the film was a big break for Reset. A transgender woman herself, she is an actress best known for playing a stripper in Hustlers (2019) and a yoga teacher in Transparent (2014-2019). A dark comedy about a baby boomer transgender woman played by Jeffrey Tambor.

“Monica” made headlines at last year’s Venice Film Festival, where it premiered and received accolades: first movie Reed, who is openly transgender, competes there. Lisette appears in nearly every scene, captured by Palaro’s camera in extreme detail, sometimes jarring.

Lissette said her favorite moments in the film are the quiet ones. Monica in her bathing suit is sitting on the dock with her baby in the sunshine.

“It’s a very beautiful portrait because it’s very rare to see a trans woman look maternal and carefree,” she said. This is one of the many moments in “Monica” that I hope Reset will at least change someone’s mind, with the film’s theatrical release during a politically dangerous time for the transgender community.

“The only way to get over this hateful and messed up law is if the other person sees themselves in us,” she said.

Clarkson said in a phone interview that she and Lysette hit it off right away, and that they developed a close mother-daughter relationship as strangers. In one heartbreaking scene, the two women have a moment of non-verbal recognition as Monica bathes her mother. It’s an example of how Reset can “have a piercing stillness,” Clarkson said.

“A great actor like Trace must be willing to expose his unique self when called upon to enter an incredibly deep and dark emotional place,” she said. rice field. “Her body can guard and filter her every day. But when she arrived on set, she was totally responsive and took her breath away.”

When asked what people should know about Lissette, Lissette’s “Transparent” co-star Alexandra Billings said, “She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.” I answered.

“When I look at her, we’re a misogyny culture, and I don’t think it’s possible for our brains to stick together,” Billings said by phone. “Every piece of advice she gave me was spot on.”

Of the parallels between Monica’s life and her own, Lysette said she was in a “good place” with her mother after several difficult years. She came out as transgender when Lysette was a teenager.

“The set of tools parents had in the 90s is not the same set of tools they will have to deal with their children coming out as transgender in 2023,” he said, referring to his age as “Generation X.” And we’re in the middle of the millennial generation,” said Lysette. “What I realized was that my mother did everything she could. I forgave her a long time ago.”

Lysette was born in Kentucky but grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and after taking up drag in high school, she performed in local clubs for drag queens and transgender women working in drag.It was at nightlife that she met her transgender godmother entertainer Jaleje Rashad“I had a Toni Braxton image,” said Lysette before moving to New York at age 20. “It was her magical moment when she met her,” Ms. Lysette said. “The seed has been sown.”

During the conversation, Reset stresses a positive mindset—perhaps a vestige of Midwestern politeness—admitting that he used it to find the good in even the darkest memories. So did she when she was talking about “transparency.” Lisette was one of several actresses who claimed Ms Tambor sexually harassed them on set in 2017, and in her statement Ms Tambor “made numerous sexual advances and comments. ” he denounced. It was amidst these allegations that Tambor left the show after season four.

When asked to reflect on “Transparent,” Lysette said after a long silence. “I am grateful to be on such a critically acclaimed show. I learned a lot from watching Judith Light’s work. Did you? No, but it opened the door to many other things.”

But when asked to rate the chances of transgender actors in a post-Pose world, where popular shows about social culture made transgender actors and characters famous, she scored a “D-minus.” rice field.

“We talk a lot, but when it comes to giving a transgender story the go-ahead, there are a lot of people that we produce, we produce, we act in, but we don’t do it,” she said. . “I really think the industry as a whole doesn’t quite understand what they’re missing.”

Lysette said she was auditioning again and wanted to be seen “as the leading lady, not just as a trans actor” each time she entered each room.

“She studies her craft, is hard at work, and wants them to tell me she’s slow-boiling and not in the microwave,” she said. “And she’s ready for more.”

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