Caitlyn Jenner showed her support for the film, Tangerine, and one of its stars, Mya Taylor, by lending her voice to the first-ever Oscar campaign for a transgender actress. On Monday, the I Am Cait star hosted a special screening of the film in Los Angeles.
As the credits rolled on the film, Jenner stood off to the side of the theater reading notes from her phone. She looked serious and perhaps a little nervous.
“There’s a lot of momentum in the trans community, but we have to keep that momentum going. We have to bring this in front of the public,” Jenner declared. “Movies like this are so important because this is about honesty, this is about actually what happens out there in the community.”
But it was Tangerine star Mya Taylor who was really battling nerves. Taylor explained to the audience that she was nervous to be speaking in front of Caitlyn because she sees her as a “wonderful trans role model” and commends Jenner for going public with her story to help more people understand.
Jenner also opened up about her own story saying that she was “totally isolated” prior to coming out. But she says over the last nine months since she began to live “authentically”, she has learned so much about the transgender community. For Jenner, watching this film was part of that educational experience.
“These characters have always been on the sideline of TV and films and kind of the butt of jokes, and the victims. But in this movie they are front and center,” she explained.
Jenner also praised the film because being transgender is not the most important part about these characters.
Tangerine follows trans sex worker Sin-Dee (transgender actress Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Taylor), her best friend and fellow working girl in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve as the two track down Sin-Dee’s boyfriend and pimp (The Wire’s James Ransone). The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015 and was notably filmed entirely on the iPhone 5S.
After the screening, Jenner posed for photos with Mya Taylor, director Sean Baker and producers Jay and Mark Duplass, who launched the historic Oscar campaign for the film’s two actresses.
“We felt very bullish and confident that these girls did such an amazing job in the film and hit a new level in terms of honest portrayal,” Jay Duplass told ETonline. “We wanted to take that chance and try and get it out there, and it’s done really, really well.”