Trans Joy

Yasmin Finney Dishes on Elle’s “Powerful” Arc in “Heartstopper” Season 2

· Updated on August 7, 2023

It’s been a long wait, but the second season of Heartstopper is finally upon us. For one particular character, the wait for love has been much longer. In the first season, we got to know Elle (Yasmin Finney), a transgender student just finding her footing at an all-girls school. While we saw the initial sparks of romance fly between Elle and her best friend Tao (William Gao), the new season promises to center Elle’s romantic life.

“For Tao and Elle, it’s like this blossoming love that has been boiling up for a while,” explained Finney in a recent interview with Elle Magazine. “You can basically just see them grow together and fall in love together over a period of a few episodes. Everybody’s pulling their teeth—why can’t they get together sooner rather than later? We all worked really, really hard on it, so I’m just praying that it will pay off.”

For Finney herself, it has already paid off. She described her own joy at reading the script and experiencing Elle’s storyline for the first time. “What I like about this season is that Elle has been put in this world where it’s trans people falling in love and that is such a powerful thing,” she said. “We’ve needed it for so long, and we finally get to have this amazing sort of friendship that turns into a blossoming love that’s happy, it’s natural. It’s really, really good to have just that sort of representation on our screens now.”

At the same time, Elle is still growing as an individual, and her experiences as a young trans person are not the same as others in the main cast. “It’s really hard, because even on a day-to-day basis, Elle probably has to tackle loads of things that an average trans person goes through, like gender dysphoria, all of those things,” said Finney.

“What’s so lovely is [the show doesn’t] really capitalize on any of that. It’s all just this amazing friendship and this amazing love that you see blossom into something special from season one. It’s showing people that you can have happy natural love as a trans person and it should be normalized.”

With romance comes intimacy, and historically, the filming of intimate scenes hasn’t always had actors’ best interests in mind. But Finney, a newcomer to onscreen intimacy, had nothing but praise for the Heartstopper crew.

“[It was] obviously quite daunting having your first kiss scene ever,” she recalled. “But, what was so lovely about it was to do it with Will and to really have that relationship prior from season 1, that really good friendship, and to just go through it together.

“We had an intimacy coordinator and he really helped us navigate how we kiss and just boundaries and consent. It’s just so easy to do anything in Heartstopper, because the team is so understanding. They’ve got everything marked out already. It’s a nice little family we’ve got that puts safety and the cast first.”
The full second season of Heartstopper is currently available on Netflix.

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