Eva Reign on “Anything is possible” – Interview – SheKnows
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Eva Reign has always wanted to see herself on the big screen. The star of Billy Porter’s first film Everything is possible aspired from an early age to use her talent and artistry to leave the world a better place than she found it. His inaugural role in a feature film with Everything is possible was her first big opportunity to do so: As a young black trans woman herself, she knew how much this story of Kelsa, 17, a black trans high school student navigating her very first relationship and her impending graduation, would mean to girls like her who grew up without being portrayed on screen. Reign spoke exclusively with SheKnows about the empowering journey of playing Kelsa in Porter’s film, and why she hopes Everything is possible will only be the first step to bringing untold stories like this to the big screen.
Reign, a writer and artist in his own right, previously worked as a journalist with work featured in The cup, Vice, and more digital publications. But when the rising star got the chance to show off her skills in front of the camera, she felt totally in her element.
“I’ve wanted to play since I was 10,” 26-year-old Reign shares. “There were just a lot of hurdles that kind of kept me from getting there.”
Everything is possible in particular, gave Reign the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream – not just acting, but telling a very specific story in film.
“I was so, so excited to start working on [Anything’s Possible],” she explains. “I really thought about how much I needed a story like this when I was younger. I kind of tried to be like my own hero for a really long time just to show the story of this young black trans girl who’s confident, who’s fierce, who’s still figuring things out but who has a lot of hope for what the future looks like.
It was specifically the mentorship and guidance Reign received from Billy Porter – the revered Laid actor who is only one statuette away from full EGOT status – which gave him the space to be bold as Kelsa, the film’s protagonist.
“We talked about the times in our lives when we were told we couldn’t. Billy was like, ‘It’s time for me to tell you you can.’ I think that was kind of the catalyst for what our working relationship was like, as well as our personal bond,” Reign says.
“One of the first things he said was, ‘This movie is about empowering you.’ We haven’t really seen a story like this We haven’t really seen the story of a young black trans girl, just living life, not going through trauma after trauma after trauma, but just in high school , with a family who loves him, with friends who love him, and meeting a guy who’s starting to love him too. Billy was saying, ‘It’s the start of something new, but it’s also something that has always existed.’ »
In Everything is possibleReign beautifully executes Kelsa’s effervescent energy, enviable style, and fearlessness – though the latter quality appealed to Reign the most for her character.
“Kelsa isn’t afraid of anything. I wanted to be like Kelsa when I was 16, 17,” Reign admits. Like Kelsa, Reign also wanted to be someone others could turn to, especially in the age of the internet, to find comfort and peace in their identity.
“I wanted to be a girl on YouTube making videos talking about being trans, talking about life, – my mom just didn’t have it,” she explains. “There are a lot of different trans girls that I watched on YouTube when I was younger that made me feel a lot strong. I wanted to take all of that, and I wanted to put that into Kelsa. When I read this script, I was shocked at how accurate it was of what it’s like to be a trans girl now – growing up with the internet.
Reign was deeply moved by Kelsa’s story – but also by the simple fact that this story existed and was told in a feature film.
“I didn’t realize that people cared enough about our lives to even show that aspect of it – to show that beautiful innocence that we have. And that’s something I really love about Kelsa. She’s such a loving, sweet, kind person. She’s so confident. But also, she still has those moments where she doesn’t quite know what to say,” Reign shares.
In short, Kelsa is your average teenager, bravely going through those pivotal years in her own way. And Reign’s brilliant breakout performance bringing this journey to life will inevitably warm your heart.
“I wanted everyone to watch this movie to feel seen and heard and feel those tender feelings,” she says.
As far as we are concerned, she couldn’t have done better.
Everything is possible debuts on Prime Video on July 22.
Before you go, click here to see celebrities of color share the first movie or TV character that made them feel seen.