Sheryl Lee Ralph. That’s the only reason I accepted the role of Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway. I almost refused. I just remember running into Sheryl at Janet Jackson’s birthday party. I said to myself, “Sheryl, I have to ask you a question. …I have this opportunity with Chicago on Broadway, but I don’t know if I want to take it. And she said, “Take it.” I already know why you’re hesitant. They won’t pay any of us what we’re worth. »
I didn’t even need to tell him. She said: “It’s not about them. It’s about your moment. And it’s about the fact that you deserve this. You’re going to be able to show the world what black trans women can do. And we’re going to bring this audience to come see you.
And so many people came to see me, from all over the world. I signed autographs until every person disappeared. Fans of American horror story and fans of Laid. It was a really great experience. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I’ve never worked harder, eight shows a week. It was a lot, for two months straight. But it’s because of Sheryl Lee Ralph [that I did it]. I’m so happy that she not only sees me and my talent, but affirms it. She encourages me, she is always there to listen to me. She really is a real sister.
Did you grow up with religion and spirituality?
I grew up in the church hearing that [I was valuable] all the time. And then I received messages saying that I was an abomination and that I was sin. But these things did not correspond to my spiritual experience. So my initial goal was to clarify this disconnect. People said one thing, but the spirit inside me said another thing. So I had to figure it out.
How was this process for you?
God and I had a problem for a minute….