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Harmony Santana

Harmony Santana

Biologically born a male, Harmony Santana was one of 13 children in a blended Dominican and Puerto Rican family. She grew up in New York City and graduated from Elmwood Park Memorial High School in Elmwood Park, NJ. When she was around 10 years old, she considering pursuing an acting career, but short of trying out for a few modeling jobs, Santana did not land any acting work. It was not until she met director Rashaad Ernesto Green that the possibility of acting became a reality. In 2010, she met Green while she worked at an AIDS prevention booth at a Queens Pride Parade. At the time, Green was passing out flyers with a description of a character that he was casting for his next movie, and asking people if they knew someone who fit the description of a Hispanic transgender teenager with the right mix of toughness and ambiguous physicality. After briefly talking with Green about the role, Santana reportedly took off her sunglasses, and insisted that she was interested in the part. She also told the director that she was just at the beginning of her transition. She first auditioned as a male, was asked to return dressed as a young woman, and was offered the part.Santana spent six weeks in intense and emotional workshops to learn how to bring her own, painful experiences to the role. Like her character in "Gun Hill Road," Santana also had a difficult time as a transgender teen living in the Bronx, and her real-life father also grappled with the idea of having a transgender son. Shortly after "Gun Hill Road" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, Santana became the indie film circuit's newest darling. Critics heaped praises on her riveting portrayal of Vanessa/Michael, a teenager who struggles to have a relationship with her father (Esai Morales), as she undergoes a sexual transformation. For her work in the film, Santana received a nomination for the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Female. After Santana her big screen debut, she appeared in several installments of the over-the-top raunchy comedy series "Eating Out," including "Eating Out: Drama Camp" and "Eating Out: The Open Weekend," where she reprised her role as a flirtatious transgender girl.By Candy Cuenco
WIKIPEDIA