Miss Benny is the trans icon we deserve

In the summer of 2023, Miss Benny rightfully received her flowers.

With an EP release, a lead role in a Netflix series starring opposite Kim Cattrall, and an inspiring coming-out story as she shared her transness with the world, it was as if Benny had stepped into a rabbit hole and been transported to a wonderland of their own creation.  

It’s hard to comprehend that a then 24-year-old was able to navigate all that while facing the threat of anti-trans legislation making its way across the nation. And yet, Benny made it happen, proving that her stature is just as reputable as her voice. 

Benny is an actress, musician, model, and outspoken activist, and she’s only at the beginning of an already fruitful career. Originally from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, she grew up in a household that sheltered her from anything outside conservative moral values, inevitably hindering her journey toward becoming. But with grit and a kaleidoscopic vision for an abundant future, she made her way to Los Angeles at the age of 14. 

As her popularity on YouTube grew, Benny also launched a music career. She came into her voice with the release of sultry track “Rendezvous,” which currently has over 3 million streams on Spotify. As an artist, her expressionism is a rarity in today’s music scene. 

She perfected that sound on her 2023 EP SWELTER. The tracks are almost reminiscent of a Rina Sawayama record or an experiential Avril Lavigne sound, with candid lyrics capturing the nuances of being in your twenties, trying to make sense of the world and of yourself.

That same complexity and progression translated into Glamorous. It was a show tailor-made for Benny, and producers even had her in mind for the lead role of Marco while it was in development in 2019. Around the time, the showrunners struggled to keep the project afloat with a sudden network change and the onset of the pandemic, bringing the show to a halt. But Benny’s growth as a person (and her discovery of her trans identity) continued.

Benny worked closely with showrunner Jordon Nardino to ensure that her Glamorous character’s gender journey, which mirrored her own, wasn’t tokenized or given too much emphasis. She explained her journey with gender and the series in a personal essay for Time, which also served as her public coming-out.

“It was really important that Marco’s trans-ness was not the plot of the show,” Benny wrote. “It’s not a ‘twist’ to surprise the audience. Instead, we get to watch a young queer person experiencing first love and heartbreak, career success and failure, and everything else that comes with being a young adult… while also discovering their identity in the background of life. Because being transgender is not something you do, it’s who you are.”

Though Glamorous wasn’t renewed for a second season, it was the perfect way to reintroduce Benny as her fully realized self. So yes, in the summer of 2023, Miss Benny rightfully received her flowers — and in 2024, more bouquets are undoubtedly on their way.

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