Hari Nef Interview: I Thought I Was Years And Years Away From Opportunities Like This One
The Trans Model Opens Up About Landing A Role In Transparent Season 2
Earlier this year, Hari Nef became the first trans woman signed by IMG Worldwide, the model agency that is home to supermodel honeys Chrissy Teigen, Gigi Hadid and Joan Smalls! Now, after only a few short months since being crowned the internet’s favourite new girl crush, Hari is set to make a splash in the world of online streaming after joining the cast of award-winning Amazon Prime series Transparent for the show’s much anticipated second series.
We caught up with Hari this week to chat about her love of fashion, acting, and what it means to be part of such a groundbreaking show…
1. Hey Hari! So how about we start with a series of really important questions, like, what’s your star sign and if I asked you out to dinner what are you most likely to order off the menu?
I’m a Libra, and I’d probably order a salad, maybe some soup too.
2. And as you know, every dinner should be followed by ice cream! One scoop or two and what’s your go-to flavour?
One scoop of chocolate: classic.
3. This month sees you star in the highly anticipated second season of Transparent which is available to stream from December 11th! You must be very excited?!
I am! I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s wild that anyone can access the show from their computer. I’ve never been a part of something like this before, so I don’t know what “happens,” you know? I feel like I’m sharing my work with so many people, but it’s also the work of so, so, so many other people. I’m along for the ride.
4. Were you already a fan of Transparent before becoming involved in the show?
Definitely. After my friend told me I had to watch it, I finished the whole first season in two days.
5. How did you feel when you found out that Jill Soloway had written you a part in this season?
I felt like I had been struck by lightning. I thought I was years and years away from opportunities like this one. I try to stay confident regardless of what’s happening professionally, but it was a little bit of a “who, me?” moment. Jill saw something in me I’m not sure I saw in myself.
6. You play a character called Gittel: a nineteen-year-old girl living in Berlin in 1933. How much research did you have to do to help you get into character?
I did a lot of research! Mel Gordon’s Voluptuous Panic was my primary research text, but I did a lot of poking around on the Internet too. The most important part of my research was character-based. I spent two days before the first day of shooting going through my scripts, creating outlines for Gittel, writing fact lists about her, journaling as her. It was fun.
7. Without revealing any spoilers, what was it about playing Gittel that excited you the most when you read over the script?
8. Did you feel a certain pressure joining the cast after the huge success of the first season?
Definitely. Everyone on that show is a rock star. During the initial readings and rehearsals, I had to take deep breaths and remind myself that I was there for a reason, and that the work was the most important thing.
9. What was the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
I’m a part of something that’s helping and educating people.
10. There is no denying that being the first trans woman to be signed by IMG Worldwide earlier this year is a pretty big deal but you hadn’t thought about modelling before, had you?
I had, actually. I was always drawn to fashion, and the way it relates to ideas of character and identity. Models were always central to the conversation—I just never thought that people would see me as one.
11. I like to think that when a new girl joins IMG, Chrissy Teigen pops into the agency to take them through their induction pack before giving them a super fun tour of the building on segways followed by dinner and drinks with her and John? Sound about right?
Haha—no! Maybe if you replace Chrissy Teigen with Ivan Bart!
12. As an actress, do you find yourself approaching a fashion shoot the same way you would an acting scene?
Yes. In acting, you get the script; in fashion, you get the clothes. It’s about interpretation either way.
13. What has been your most memorable “fashion moment” so far?
I could tell you, but it’s still a secret.
14. As the holiday season grows closer, what do you most look forward to about Christmas?
Eating Chinese food. I’m Jewish!
15. *Fumbles notes* Soo, kissing someone under the mistletoe this year is probably out of the question…?
All episodes from the second series of Transparent will be available to stream worldwide from December 11th.
Words: Portis Wasp