Ian Alexander had no professional acting experience when he was cast in Netflix’s THE OA. He writes about how a casting call for “a 14-year-old, Asian-American, transgender male actor, with no previous experience necessary” changed his life:

If I look familiar, it might be because you recognize me from my role as Buck Vu on the Netflix original series “The OA.” I also play the role of Lev, a supporting character in the upcoming sequel to “The Last of Us” and I make a brief appearance in the film adaptation of David Levithan’s novel “Every Day” out later this month. Through my work, I represent a previously overlooked demographic in Hollywood: transgender teenagers, and, more specifically in my case, transgender teens of color.

My acting career had its humble beginnings in community theater and drama classes at school. Before “The OA,” I had no previous screen acting experience. I had always dreamed of becoming an actor, but it seemed like an unattainable goal; what opportunities would there be for me, a trans teen?

My answer came in the form of an online open casting call that I found via social media. They were looking for a 14-year-old, Asian-American, transgender male actor, with no previous experience necessary. It was perfect ― it seemed almost too good to be true. I fulfilled all the niche criteria, and decided to give it a shot. After all, I had nothing to lose.

I sent in my “headshot” (a hastily taken portrait in my bedroom) and the required information, not expecting a response. When I received a reply and a request to make a self-tape, I was ecstatic. I sent in some crude footage of myself that I took at home, because I didn’t understand the concept of a self-tape audition, and was surprised to get another reply, and another, and another. After several months of negotiation, Zal Batmanglij, the director and co-creator of “The OA,” called to tell me I got the part. I’m not a heavy believer in fate, but I truly feel as if this was my destiny. I didn’t realize at the time that the entire course of my life would change as a result of this role, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted the impact it would have on other people.

To read the rest of the article, go to Huffington Post: Everything In My Life Changed When A Hit TV Show Cast Me As A Transgender Teen