Eva Reign Wants Black Trans Girls Like Her to 'Feel Seen & Heard' by 'Anything's Possible'

·5 min read

Eva Reign always wanted to see herself on the big screen. The breakout star of Billy Porter’s directorial debut Anything’s Possible aspired from a young age to use her talent and art to leave the world a better place than she found it. Her inaugural role in a feature film with Anything’s Possible was her first big opportunity to do that: As a young Black trans woman herself, she knew just how much this story of 17-year-old Kelsa, a Black trans high schooler navigating her first ever relationship and impending graduation, would mean to girls like her who grew up without seeing themselves represented on screen. Reign spoke exclusively with SheKnows about the empowering journey of playing Kelsa in Porter’s film, and why she’s hopeful that Anything’s Possible will only be the first step in getting untold stories like this onto the big screen.

Reign, a writer and artist in her own right, previously worked as a journalist with work featured in The Cut, Vice, and more digital publications. But when the burgeoning star had the opportunity to take her talents in front of the camera, she wholly felt in her element.

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“I’ve wanted to act since I was 10,” 26-year-old Reign shares with us. “There were just a lot of obstacles that kind of stopped me from getting there.”

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Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali in ‘Anything’s Possible’ - Credit: Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.
Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali in ‘Anything’s Possible’ - Credit: Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.

Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.

Anything’s 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 hyped to start working on [Anything’s Possible],” she explains. “I really just thought about how much I needed a story like this when I was younger. I kind of tried to be like my own hero from way, way back when, just to show the story of this young Black trans girl who’s confident, who’s fierce, who’s still figuring a lot of things out but has a lot of hope for what the future looks like.”

It was specifically the mentorship and guidance Reign received from Billy Porter — the venerated Pose actor who’s just one statuette away from full EGOT status — that offered her the space to be bold as Kelsa, the film’s protagonist.

“We talked about the moments through our lives where we were told we couldn’t. Billy was like, ‘This is my moment to tell you that you can.’ I think that was kind of the catalyst for what our working relationship looked like, as well as our personal bond,” Reign says.

Billy Porter, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Eva Reign on the set of ‘Anything’s Possible’ - Credit: Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.
Billy Porter, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Eva Reign on the set of ‘Anything’s Possible’ - Credit: Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.

Tony Rivetti / © Orion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection.

“One of the first things that he said was, ‘This film is being made to empower you.’ We haven’t really seen a story like this. We haven’t really seen a story of a young Black trans girl, just living life, not going through trauma after trauma after trauma, but just being in high school, with a family that loves her, with friends that love her, and meeting a guy that starts to love her too. Billy was like, ‘This is the start of something new, but it’s also something that’s always existed.'”

In Anything’s Possible, Reign beautifully executes Kelsa’s effervescent energy, enviable style, and fearlessness — though that final quality endeared Reign the most to her character.

“Kelsa’s fearless. 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, particularly in the age of the internet, to find solace and peace in their identity.

“I wanted to be a girl on YouTube making videos talking about being trans, talking about life, — my mom was just not having it,she explains. “There’s a lot of different trans girls that I watched on YouTube when I was younger, who very much made me feel strong. I wanted to take all of that, and I wanted to put that into Kelsa. When I read this script, it just shocked me how accurate it was to 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 moved by the simple fact that this story existed and was being told in a feature film.

“I didn’t realize that people were interested enough in our lives to even show this side of it — to show this beautiful innocence that we have. And that’s something that I really love about Kelsa. She is such a loving, sweet, kind person. She has so much confidence. But also, she still has those moments where she doesn’t quite know what to say,” Reign shares.

In short, Kelsa is your average teen, bravely ebbing and flowing through those pivotal years in her own unique way. And Reign’s brilliant breakout performance bringing that journey to life will inevitably warm your heart.

“I wanted everyone to watch this film to kind of feel seen and heard and feel those tender feelings,” she says.

As far as we’re concerned, she couldn’t have done a better job.

Anything’s Possible debuts on Prime Video on July 22.

Before you go, click here to see celebrity women of color share the first movie or TV character who made them feel seen.

Diana Ross
Diana Ross

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