For the first time ever, a transgender woman is in the running for best actress at this week’s Ophir Awards, the annual prizes of the Israel Academy for Film.
Stav Strashko, who has made her name in recent years as a top international model, is nominated for her role in the film “Flawless” (Haneshef/The Ball), the story of three teens from Jerusalem who sell their kidneys to pay for cosmetic surgery and prom dresses.
“Flawless” received 12 nominations for the award show to be held September 6.
“Acting is something that I have always wanted to do, from a very young age,” Strashko, 25, told Hadashot news in a recent interview. “I always saw myself in women’s roles.”
“I’m proud to be the first trans [nominee] — it’s a milestone,” she said.
Strashko told Hadashot that her life, growing up as a boy who identified as girl, prepared her for a career in acting. “My whole life I played something that I wasn’t,” she said.
In the film, she plays Eden, a transgender teen desperate to raise money for a breast enlargement operation ahead of the prom.
Strashko, who was born Stanislav in Ukraine, was discovered by a modeling agency after leaving her home in Tel Aviv at the age of 16, at first taking on androgynous roles and later modeling as a woman, including a campaign opposite musician Joe Jonas for Diesel.
In Israel, Strashko came to public attention when she took part in the “Big Brother VIP” TV show. She has since become a prominent figure in the LGBT community.