Transwoman of color, Actor, Singer, and Star of Sundance runaway hit, "Tangerine", and Now 1st Transgender Actor to win a major film award
Everywhere you look and listen, "Tangerine" garnered unanimous glowing reviews!
Mya won the Independent Films Spirit Award for her work in "Tangerine." The Spirit Awards are for films made for less than 20 million dollars, and she competed in the Best Supporting Actress category against actresses including Jennifer Jason Leigh and Cynthia Nixon. Just like at the Oscars, "Spotlight" won for Best Film. Mya stars in the not yet released Happy Birthday, Marsha! a film about iconic transgender artist and activist, Marsha "Pay it No Mind" Johnson and her life in the hours before she ignited the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. She soon will present at USC:
The Trans/Gender Tipping Point? Representing Gender Variance from Tangerine to Transparent
It’s been a watershed year for trans representation in film and TV, yet trans people continue to fight for basic rights. This panel discussions will explore the many meanings of trans visibility, in experimental film and video.The past year has been called a “tipping point” for the media representation of transgender and gender-variant people. Trans characters made appearances in Orange Is the New Black and Transparent, and the history of gender transitions was represented in the Oscar-nominated film The Danish Girl. But, as welcome as this new visibility may be, it has also drawn attention to persistent anxieties about the movement of trans people through and across highly gender-normative landscapes. Trans activists continue to fight for the rights of trans people in prison, in public bathrooms, and everywhere.
Experimental filmmakers, performers, activists, and scholars Mya Taylor (Tangerine), Chris E. Vargas (Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art), Sam Feder (Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger), and Eric Stanley (Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex) will discuss the shifting nature of trans politics.
NPR, Terry Gross' "Fresh Air", 7/21: A Downtrodden LA Corner Inspires Comedy And Friendship In 'Tangerine'. LISTEN
"A Big-Hearted, "Tangerine" Vision of LA's Crime-Riddled Streets-Variety and NPR. LISTEN
Tangerine emerges at a moment when the transgender community is enjoying greater visibility than ever, from the Amazon series Transparent to the real-life saga of Caitlin Jenner. Yet to simply lump Baker's film together with other such stories would seem awfully reductive. As played by Taylor and Rodriguez, the characters of Alexandra and Sin-Dee are so specific and so bursting with life that they stand alone, and so does the movie itself, which manages to be at once wildly funny and painfully honest about the everyday degradation and inhumanity that its characters experience.- Justin Chang, Variety
This mix feels bracing, honest and unforced. It’s also political, which is sometimes the case when black and brown bodies take up this much time and space on an American movie screen and so beautifully, too.
On March 28, 1991 in Houston Texas, a boy was born by the name of Jeremiah James Bonner. Jeremiah grew up in a strict Christian household with his grandmother and grandfather. Throughout Jeremiah's life he had always been very creative and articulate and intelligent. Jeremiah grew up knowing that he was different from all the other boys in school. Jeremiah was openly gay in school, but when he got home he never told a soul.
In May of 2009 Jeremiah was having trouble at home with family because he was struggling with his identity and he decided to bring his secret life out of the closet. His family didn't take it very well, so Jeremiah decided to move to California with another family member who he thought loved him very much. Living with that family members did not go very well so he was forced out to the streets and became homeless. Jeremiah started to go to therapy where he decided to be true to himself and be who he wanted to be and in January of 2013, Jeremiah decided he wanted to become Mya Taylor.
Mya met Sean Baker who is a film director and they got together with some ideas and collaborated and started production on a film that was going to take her life to a whole new level. Tangerine, the movie, has been the runaway hit at Sundance, opened for wide release and received major critical acclaim, and it proves to Mya that all dreams are possible.
With humor and humanity, Tangerine vividly captures a world unknown to most audiences.
Vogue wrote: Filmed entirely on an iPhone 5s, Sean Baker’s breakout comedy Tangerine should inspire a whole new generation of DIY directors. Set among a group of transgender prostitutes in a seedy pocket of L.A., the story is an unexpectedly giddy romp that follows Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitana Rodriguez), who has just been released from prison, on a quest with her BFF Alexandra (Mya Taylor) to track down her boyfriend (and pimp), who’s betrayed her with a woman. With select scenes shot from the back of Baker’s ten-speed bike, Tangerine has a gritty, kinetic feel. But the film is not just a step forward for cinematography: on the heels of trans sensations like Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox and Transparent’s Alexandra Billings, it’s a major advance for actors of all stripes. Reporter described the film as "a singularly delightful girlfriend movie with an attitude".
Indiewire gave the film an A- grade, describing it as "a breath of fresh air in an indie landscape that often tends to focus on #WhitePeopleProblems."
Variety ' s Justin Chang wrote that Tangerine is "an exuberantly raw and up-close portrait of one of Los Angeles' more distinctive sex-trade subcultures. Sean Baker delivers another compassionate portrait of life on the L.A. margins with this big-hearted, low-budget tale of two transgender prostitutes."
In her talk, Mya speaks about the issues that she's personally experienced in her life which are very dramatic. She want to share her own experience because she feels like what better way to explain the experience of being transgender than to speak of her own struggles, including applying for 186 jobs in one month, and going on 36 interviews and not getting a job. She wants to share with her audience how she actually proved she was discriminated against.
Mya shares what happened after she came out to her family and was later betrayed and abused by a family member at her weakest point after it appeared that that family member was rescuing her from familial rejection. She speaks of how she survived when she went homeless, what she knows about transgender prostitution in Los Angeles and why there are so many homeless transgender people in Los Angeles. She looks at harassment and violence directed at transgender people, and about her suicide attempt from all the pain related to the oppression of transwomen of color. She addresses the current reality that one year after #OscarsSoWhite, little seems to have changed, and how she and all other POC actors and actresses have been snubbed in this year's 20 nomination slots.
NY Times on Mya Taylor:Transgender, and Embraced, on the Red Carpet & "Tangerine" Getting NY Times Top 10 Lists Love!
- Breakthrough Performances of the Summer Movies Season- The Sunday NY Times
- Hot List : The Stars of Tangerine: In the groundbreaking new film, Mya Taylor, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, and James Ransone tackle trans prostitution and the L.A. underbelly, OUT magazine
- HOW ONE OF THE BEST FILMS AT SUNDANCE WAS SHOT USING AN IPHONE 5S
- The Movie That Proves Why Trans Actors Should Play Trans Roles: With humor and humanity, Tangerine vividly captures a world unknown to most audiences, BUZZ FEED. The groundbreaking new film, Mya Taylor, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, and James Ransone tackle trans prostitution and the L.A. underbelly
- 'Tangerine', A Teeny-Budget Comedy That Packs An Emotional Wallop New York Magazine and NPR. LISTEN.
- Why Tangerine could be a turning point for transgender actors
- A CASE STUDY IN TRANSMISOGYNY: FILM REVIEWS OF ‘TANGERINE’- Leela Ginelle, PQ Monthly
- 'Tangerine' May Have Had A Tiny Budget, But The Film's Heart Is Bigger Because Of It- Huff Post
- Tangerine Director Sean Baker May Be A Straight White Man, But He’s Made A Terrific Movie About Transgender Women Of Color-The Queerty Interview