Ivory Aquino never thought there would be roles for a transgender girl from the Philippines, so she was prepared to give up on her childhood dream of being an actor.
“I didn’t feel at that time that there were any roles I could do,” Aquino tells PEOPLE exclusively about her despair.
So, with acting seemingly out of the question, Aquino decided to try her hand at becoming a singer.
“With androgynous figures like David Bowie, I thought I could do music without thinking about gender,” she says in the upcoming issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
But after moving to the U.S. in her teens, and undergoing her gender confirmation surgery out of the country at age 26, Aquino had a revelation.
“My outsides finally felt like my insides,” she says. “The first thought that came to mind was, ‘I can act again!’ ”
Aquino, who stars as the trans activist Cecilia Chung in the ABC mini series, is still in the beginning of her acting career.
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