As per an exclusive report from Deadline, Filipino-American actress Ivory Aquino has been cast in DCEU's upcoming Batgirl film. Aquino, who starred in the 2017 ABC docudrama miniseries When We Rise, will be portraying one of the first transgender DC characters, Alysia Yeoh.
In the upcoming HBO Max film, the actress will appear alongside Leslie Grace (Barbara Gordon/Batgirl), J.K. Simmons (Jim Gordon), Michael Keaton (Batman), Brendan Fraser (Firefly), and Jacob Scipio.
Batgirl is helmed by Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, while Cristina Hodson (of Birds of Prey fame) has penned the script.
What is known about Ivory Aquino?
Aquino is a transgender actress who reportedly publicly followed her portrayal of transgender activist Cecilia Chung in 2017's When We Rise. The Philippines native realized she was transgender early and started her transition with hormone therapies during her teens.
In 2017, she told NBC News:
"The reflecting of that…me looking up to these women and playing female characters on the playground, there was that…so as early as then, even though it wasn't verbalized, it was who I was."
Aquino also stated that her parents were supportive of her transition. She said,
"More than telling them that I was trans, it was them seeing me being more comfortable with myself."
In her teens, she immigrated to the US for higher education. Ivory Aquino attended Berklee College of Music, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in music. Following her graduation, she pursued acting roles.
After appearing in a few short films and videos from 2007 to 2010, Aquino appeared in her breakthrough role in When We Rise as Cecilia Chung. The transgender activist praised Aquino and tweeted that the actress "was amazing in #WhenWeRise!"
Following Ivory Aquino's role in the ABC docudrama, she appeared in multiple one-time roles in seven TV series' episodes and two budget films. Her latest appearance was in one of the episodes of Blue Bloods last year.
Ivory Aquino is reportedly the niece of the Philippines' former president (11th) Corazon Aquino. She has also been vocal about transgender rights and is an LGBTQ+ activist. In a 2017 tweet, Aquino wrote,
"....we have an opportunity each day to speak our truth, share our love & unite in hope."
Alysia Yeoh's origin in Detective Comics (DC)
While Ivory Aquino is a Filipina, Yeoh is of Singaporean origin. Alysia Yeoh is a close friend of Barbara Gordon, who moonlights as Batgirl. After Barbara Gordon left her home in the comics, she lived with Yeoh. The character made her debut in 2011's Batgirl Vol 4 #1.