The New Faces of Pride: Good Girls Star Isaiah Stannard Shares Why Harry Styles Is His Queer Hero

Read Good Girls star Isaiah Stannard's take on Pride in 2021 and what he'd say if he came face-to-face with the "Watermelon Sugar" singer.

By Billy Nilles, Sarah Grossbart Jun 23, 2021 1:00 PMTags
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With the world slowly beginning to come out on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, this Pride season is one of tremendous celebration. And yet, the spirit of a movement itself born out of a protest lives on. As the month of June comes to a close and International Pride Day nears, E! News has asked some of Hollywood's newest generation of LGBTQ stars to share what Pride means to them in 2021.

Welcome to The New Faces of Pride.

Crediting series such as FX's groundbreaking drama Pose and HBO's Euphoria, Isaiah Stannard would agree "there's slowly more representation and better representation" of trans stories on screen. "I think Hollywood is changing," he noted in an interview with Brut, "but there's a long way to go."

Among the slivers of inspiration: His storyline on NBC's Good Girls

Writers were originally seeking a male actor to play Ben, the cisgender son of Mae Whitman's Annie. When the call was open to actors of all genders, 16-year-old Isaiah—assigned female at birth and going by Izzy at the time—nailed it in one audition. Shortly after, he found out he was trans—which is when inspiration struck.

Stars Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month 2021

"We realized we had a really great opportunity to tell a story about a character who was gender non-conforming, but at the same time not necessarily have that be what leads the story," show creator Jenna Bans explained to Variety.

Working in conjunction with GLAAD, they fleshed out the role of Ben, who comes out to his mom shortly after the birth of his brother in season two. "Yay, it's a boy," Annie announces. "Mom?" responds Ben. "So am I." 

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images / E! Illustration

It was a moment that mirrored Isaiah's own experience telling mom Kristin Johansen he was trans at 12, one year after coming out as gay. "My mom was really accepting as well," he shared with Brut. "And so it was just very, it was really authentic for me to do that. And I felt like it's important to have representation where the characters are just accepted and it's OK."

With Ben, he continued, "anything they've done for him related to his transition felt really genuine and not, like, overdramatic or anything. And I am really proud of that." 

Here, Isaiah, who recently appeared on HBO Max's Genera+ion joins E! News' New Faces of Pride celebration, offering his take on the state of things in this most unusual year.

How has your personal definition of Pride changed or shifted after all we've been through these last few months?

In quarantine, I've come to realize how important community is. I feel the strongest when I am with my queer siblings. 

What queer media, be it books, music or film/TV, is a mainstay in your life? Why?

Queer literature is really important to me. It was through books that I started to discover myself. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is my favorite book. 

What was the first time you saw yourself reflected in entertainment in a way that filled you with pride? And if you're still waiting, what is it that you're hoping to see?

The first time was when I saw Jules' special episode of Euphoria. Her authenticity was so refreshing. Even though I am not transfeminine, I felt seen in the media. 

You finally get to meet your queer hero. Who are they? And after "Thank you" and "I love you," what the next thing you tell them?

He doesn't exactly label himself (which is awesome), but Harry Styles is my queer hero. If I met him, I'd ask him more about how he developed his own style because I think the way he expresses himself is absolutely beautiful.  

You are given the keys to your industry. What's the first thing you do to make it a more inclusive environment for everyone?

The first thing I would do is get queer writers and actors more jobs. I believe we are the best at telling our own stories.  

What is your message to future generations of queer people, coming of age right now? How do you want to instill hope in them?

I would tell them that there is beauty and strength in their queerness. 

For more from The New Faces of Pride, be sure to return every day through the end of June!