Who Is Daniela Vega, The First Transgender Oscars Presenter?
You might not have heard of Daniela Vega, but she made history on Sunday night at the Academy Awards: by being the first openly transgender presenter at the ceremony.
Daniela Vega, First Transgender Oscars Presenter
Vega, 28, is one of the stars of Sebastian Lelio‘s A Fantastic Woman, a Chilean movie nominated for Best Foreign Language Film that ended up winning the award in that category on Sunday.
Vega wasn’t originally supposed to star in the film, but the director saw something in her that convinced him of her potential as a lead actress.
On Sunday, she introduced the third performer nominated for Best Original Song: Sufjan Stevens, who sang the tune “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name, which is a gay coming-of-age film about the love between two young men in 1980s Italy.
A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantastica) is about a transgender opera singer and waitress named Marina (played by Vega) who falls for a man 20 years her senior (Francisco Reyes). Marina’s boyfriend suddenly dies and she is forced to face his family and doctors who consider her transgender nature an oddity.
Vega is a trained opera singer who has been singing since she was 8 years old.
“It’s my real voice in the film,” Vega said. “My grandmother, my father’s mother, was blind. She taught me to listen to music, to the television, to the birds and the trees and the sound of water. She taught me to listen even though I could see.”
Vega, who can also be seen in the 2014 Chilean film The Guest (La Visita), directed by Mauricio Lopez Fernandez, has drawn widespread praise for her performance in A Fantastic Woman.