Transgender actress Cassandra James navigated a period of not quite fitting into societal norms and later emerged as a strong advocate for personal identity, both in her real life and on-screen.
A diverse heritage and a complex upbringing have made Cassandra James into who she is today. She gained fame for portraying the first transgender character on a soap opera, with fans warmly embracing her performance.
Apart from her thriving acting career, James is recognized for her unwavering advocacy for the transgender community, which has significantly contributed to her success and earned her well-deserved acclaim.
Cassandra James attends the Los Angeles premiere of IFC films’ “Biosphere” at Vidiots Foundation – Eagle Theatre on June 27, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Cassandra James Is A Versatile Entertainer
James is a transgender American-Canadian actress, and her Instagram presence is on the rise. As of this publication, she has 32,305 followers. In her bio, she identifies as a “healer.”
In addition to her acting career and growing social media presence, James is a storyteller, filmmaker, and artist. Currently, she is working on a short film that she co-wrote with a friend.
Cassandra James’ Journey To Self-discovery & Acceptance
James has a diverse background. She was born in Pasadena, California, but grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Her mother is from Hong Kong, her maternal grandparents came from Shanghai, and her American father is of German descent.
This family dynamic eventually marked James’ challenging upbringing in Vancouver. The actress said her childhood was hard, and she “never really fit it” because she was different.
She recalled that her dad was “always so angry” with her, which led to their strained relationship. However, she found love and support from her mother, who already suspected her queerness, but she encouraged her to show her femininity.
Cassandra James attends the opening night performance of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” hosted by Center Theatre Group, at Ahmanson Theatre on January 21, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
James, a self-confessed “community center kid,” joined various activities such as reading programs, dance classes, and theater camps. She also attended Pride events, which led her to contemplate transitioning seriously.
She later found herself a support group in Toronto. In that group, she connected with people like herself and experienced a sense of being fully seen for the first time despite initial uncertainty and shyness.
In November 2015, James came out as transgender to her family. She revealed that she heard a “resounding voice” from within that strongly urged her to embrace her identity as a woman authentically.
Cassandra James attends the Los Angeles Confidential x Hornitos x GLAAD People’s Choice Celebration at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on December 6, 2022, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images
However, her journey toward living her truth was not as simple as deciding to undergo surgery, as it took many years of introspection and self-discovery. She said:
“It took years to navigate the nuances of my truth, what kind of woman I am and wanted to be. Even after I started living [as a woman] full time, I evolved again and again and again.”
Cassandra James attends the BoxLunch Gala Honoring Feed America at City Market Social House on November 9, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
James mentioned that her mother had senses that “being gay wasn’t the final destination” after coming out. She recalled her father’s response as “amazing,” with him always wanting a daughter.
In April 2023, James received the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Houston.
Cassandra James attends Center Theatre Group’s opening night performance of “The Prom” at Ahmanson Theatre on August 10, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Cassandra James’ Thriving Career & Advocacy
She said to be able to receive a call to play the role was “life-changing.” She expressed her excitement about representing the community on daytime television and is eager to showcase their identity and values.
However, considering that she plays a character based on her identity, there was also another feeling that interfered. “I can’t lie. I was super nervous; I was very nervous [about] what this audience might make of me as an actor,” she said.
Kelly Thiebaud as Dr. Britt Westbourne and Cassandra James as Dr. Terry in the series “General Hospital.” | Source: Getty Images
However, she was pleasantly surprised that her character received gracious and enthusiastic support from fans. As she goes on with acting, James continues to advocate for the community.
During Pride month in 2022, she shared her reflections on social media regarding her “lived experience” as a transgender individual. Her advocacy led her to achieve a significant milestone.
Cassandra James attends the Los Angeles opening night performance of the musical “Hairspray” at Dolby Theatre on May 2, 2023, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
In April 2023, James received the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Houston. In her speech, she recalled the pain she had experienced, including periods of darkness, depression, isolation, and violence.
Apart from “General Hospital” and her filmmaking pursuits, James starred in a 2021 movie “A Christmas Sunset,” where five friends reunite for dinner two years after a friend’s passing, discovering his journal that affects their relationships in one night.