Hailie Sahar

Hailie Sahar: The Rising Star and Advocate for Trans Representation in Hollywood


Dec. 5 2023, Published 4:35 p.m. ET

Hailie Sahar went from the Ballroom Scene in Los Angeles to a starring role in Pose, as exotic dancer Lulu. She followed up that role with Good Trouble, the Freeform series, where she portrayed Jazmin Martinez. Along with portraying these strong female characters on television, Hailie is also a strong advocate for the transgender community — on and off screen.

Paving the Way for Trans Representation

Hailie Sahar's road to Hollywood has by no means been smooth. In an interview with The Advocate, ailie talked candidly about the hardships she endured and how much inner strength it required her to weather them. “I think that when anyone's ever been marginalized and discriminated against and they finally get some level of acceptance, I think that people don't want to lose that acceptance that they've gotten from the cisgendered world," she told the outlet of trans acceptance, or lack thereof. "A lot of times, what has happened is they will sometimes turn their backs on others because they don't want to lose that level of privilege."

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Hailie, who was born to a Baptist preacher father, credits her mother for supporting her as she struggled with her identity.

"I actually ran away when I was a teenager and put my mom through so much," she shared with E! News. "But I was trying to find myself and I was trying to get away from that strict teaching that my father's side of my family was instilled in me, and not to say anything bad about them, because I love my family, but it was a lot of pressure on me…”

Despite her hard childhood, her perseverance and talent have landed her in the limelight, where she does more than act. She is a hope for LGBTQ actresses everywhere.

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Navigating the Challenges

Another problem Hailie had to deal with was a lack of genuine roles that appropriately reflected the trans-experience. Trans characters in Hollywood are often shown as stereotypes or plot devices. So Hailie resolved to steer clear of these pitfalls — focusing on stories that are true to life and speak to both the trans community and general audiences.

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Well-rounded characters should be complex, and their stories not limited to being told in terms of gender. Although things have improved in the last few years, the industry has yet to accept biases and lacks a proper understanding of transgenders. “The fact that Pose takes place in 1987 and the fact that Good Trouble is present day and we're still dealing with that level of discrimination. How far have we really come? It's really a testament to show what are we doing with people and what message are we really saying that America stands for," she explained in The Advocate. “Are we really the land of the free? Are we really the land of love because if I'm doing a period piece in 1987 and I'm still being discriminated there and we're moving all the way to present day, it's the same thing and that's really sad."

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However, Hailie is determined to find her place in Hollywood — and even released a single called “Star Traveler” to shine more light on her experience.

Creating Opportunities for Others

Hailie Sahar’s success is not just in her career. She is also intentionally opening doors for other trans actors. Hailie hopes that through her efforts and exposure, Hollywood will open its doors to talented people of all genders, shapes, and sizes. “Now I’m an artist, an actress, and a creator, and I am telling stories to give voice to the voiceless,” she told Gay Times. “I’m using my real-life experiences to bring authenticity to my roles. It’s helpful for the character development as well.”

A Glimpse into the Future

In the meantime, Hailie’s continued advancement in Hollywood gives us a foretaste of the future. Her refusal to accept glass ceilings and her work to tell stories in all sincerity has undoubtedly established paths for a new wave of transgenders. She is Hailie Sahar, and the life of this actress symbolizes the new frontier of Hollywood. She has just the sort of authenticity paired with strength and desire to be one-self that is bringing Hollywood back — and inspiring others to do what she has done.

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