Nonbinary Hollywood

Before “House of the Dragon,” Emma D’Arcy Felt Pressured to Present as Cis for Auditions

Emma D’Arcy has had a tremendous year, though that’s probably no surprise for an actor starring in a wildly popular franchise. But this success, now underscored with a Golden Globe nomination for their role in House of the Dragon, has so much more significance for an openly nonbinary actor. That’s because, as D’Arcy recently pointed out, the pressures to present as cis are still prevalent in Hollywood.

During an interview on the red carpet with E! News, D’Arcy opened up about their reaction to the nomination. “It’s kind of a surreal thing,” they said. “When I was starting out, I really felt that I had to present as a woman in order to find success in this industry. It wasn’t sustainable, and I stopped pretending.

“And weirdly at that point I got nominated for Best Actress for the Golden Globes, which is like beautifully ironic.”

But as far as D’Arcy is concerned, the nomination is not just about them. “I think for me the most important thing is that it implies the space for trans people and gender non-conforming people is getting bigger all the time,” they said.

In the past, D’Arcy has expounded on their experiences with the casting process. “This is the first job in which I’ve brought my nonbinary identity to work,” they told Interview Magazine about their House of the Dragon audition. “And part of that was because HBO asked me what pronouns I use.”

“I thought a lot about whether this was the right time,” they continued. “The reason it’s important is that there was a point, earlier in my career, where I really worried that it wasn’t possible to be an actor if you aren’t a cisgendered person. Typically, within casting sites, there are two columns, and I wondered if those two identities were going to have to live separately in order for me to have a career.

“The reason I decided to be honest in my presentation professionally is that I really hope that younger people who want to do this work know that there is absolutely space and that space is opening up.”

In addition to flying high in their career, D’Arcy’s black tie ensemble, complete with a glittering tear trailing their cheek, was a showstopper. They described their outfit as “child piano prodigy and maybe the recital’s not gone well.”

The outfit was also designed to represent the community. “I’m doing that but I’m also doing trans,” D’Arcy said, “because I’m wearing some trousers and a skirt at the same time — and nothing says nonbinary like wearing both a skirt and trousers.”

D’Arcy might be dressed like a failing prodigy, but in real life, they couldn’t be winning more.

Read More