Trans indie rocker Isley Reust: Turning dreams into realityEntertainment Feature, Entertainment News, Section 4A Thursday, March 17th, 2016
“Isley Reust is a Los Angeles based actress, musician and producer. Isley is a transgender woman who is breaking boundaries in the music and TV world. She has a guest role in the new movie Mother’s Day staring Sharon Stone, Courtney Cox, Christina Ricci and Selma Blair coming out in 2016. Isley is also the main songwriter for her band Spectacular Spectacular, an all-female dream-pop-rock bad (or shoegazing band, as it is affectionately known). Isley has appeared on TV as a recurring panelist on The Dr. Drew Show as well as CNN, Chasing Life, Glee, Faking It and the Emmy-nominated series and GLAAD Media Award-nominated True Trans, an AOL Originals’ Series,” so states the press release.
It goes on. As does Reust. She’s both engaging and honest – almost matronly, in a weird William Dean Howells sort of way – and hopes by doing what she continues to do on life’s awareness train; she can both inspire and educate others. The icing, so to speak, for Isley Reust was in being named by the Huffington Post as one of ‘10 Trans People to Know about in 2015.’
But it is from that PR release that San Diego LGBT Weekly decided to turn to her to find out what makes her tick, what her fears and dreams are and what, if any, advice she has for the burgeoning young trans segment of the LGBTQ community.
San Diego LGBT Weekly: Are the dreams you have today the same as those you held as a child born into the wrong gender?
Isley Reust: Yes, they’re pretty much spot on. The dream that I had as a child growing up was to become the woman I am today. That was my number one dream and goal. I’m still growing as a person and I hope I never stop. My next dream was to play music, tour and be in a successful band. I hit a few road bumps in my life but my music career is starting to take a turn in an upward direction and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. My other dream was to be an actress and play these really artsy and avant-garde roles, which I’m starting to do. I can safely say my dreams are turning into reality.
Have you ever imagined where you’d be had you not successfully transitioned? Where might that be?
Honestly the thought of that is just too scary for me to answer or think about. But I’m sure we can all safely take a guess.
Do you feel at all condescended to by the LGBTQ community in the same way someone might say: “Some of my best friends are black/Jewish/Latino?”
I just feel like any other woman in the world trying to make it in life. My friends see me as Isley; they know me as Isley and treat me like any other woman in the world.
Can you share one particularly painful episode coming out so others can be helped seeing the warning signs/know how to successfully deal with bigotry and ignorance?
I grew up in a pretty small town so I would experience some hate every now and then. On tour I’ve been called some pretty nasty names but that was many years ago. I think the one thing that stood out for me as being the most painful was when I decided to go public and [became my own] spokesperson with my transition and life and just reading some of the most horrific, nasty and hateful crap online. It took me a few months to get used to it (which is sad that I even have to say that). I actually just posted a YouTube video about this today talking about all the hate mail, death threats that I get just for being myself. I don’t let any of that bother me or affect me at all anymore in my life. I know they’re coming from a place of unhappiness. My advice would be the only acceptance you need is the acceptance and love from yourself. Don’t let others negative thoughts impact you as a person because in the end they’re the unhappy ones. When you love and accept yourself and surround yourself with the right people everything ends up falling into the right places.
What are you able to show the world of yourself in a band – in this case, Spectacular Spectacular – which you can’t show in any other public way, if anything?
I love creating music and art. It’s a form of expression that I can use to show the world something beautiful that they hopefully can enjoy in their everyday lives. I like making music that you can sense, feel and relate to in certain times of your life. Music lasts forever. Through the power of music, I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people that I wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t making music.
Who are your bandmates and what’s the most important thing we need to know about them?
My bandmates are: Jessica Knight, Millie Chan, Randall Papavero, Dannon Rampton and Adam Brumback. They are everything and more. Without them, nothing would be possible. They’re the most talented bunch of people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work, share a stage and form friendships with. Some of us have known each other forever and been through so much together that we’re family. Randall and I have been playing music together for over 10 years now.
When people are introduced to you, what do you tell them you do?
I’m a musician, actor and artist. I love creating!
Are you political? Any views on the 2016 race?
I generally don’t publicly speak about politics in interviews but I’ll say this, I’m feeling the Bern.
In five years, how do you expect to answer this question: I have lived out _percent of what I set out for?
I hope it’s not 100 percent because that will just mean I don’t have much to look forward to in the future! What I’d like to say is in five years’ time I gave everything my 100 percent, to try and achieve all my goals that I set out for. I have so much more I want to accomplish I honestly feel I’m barely scratching the surface for where I want to be.
Who has had the greatest influence on you culturally; the person that’s most shaped your idealized self?
Shirley Manson from the band Garbage. She was one of my hugest female influences growing up. I wanted to be everything she was I remember as a teenager. One of my goals is to tour with them. I’m hoping out of all the interviews I do one day she’ll read one of them with me talking about her.
What question had you wished I asked?
I wish you would’ve asked me if I have an awesome rock and antique collection and I would’ve answered: “Yes, the most amazing one ever!”
Isley Reust’s band Spectacular Spectacular just put out a new album titled Blur June 30, 2015 and also completed a U.S and international tour. More at isleyreust.com
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