Transgender actress Aisawanya ‚ÄúAmm‚Äù Areyawattana, 33, made history when the German-Thai feature film she starred in,¬†Patong Girl,¬†received the “Best Fiction” award at this year‚Äôs Grimme-Preis, one of the most prestigious awards in German television. BK chats to her about life behind the scenes and what the award meant to her.
How did you get involved with the movie?
I was contacted to audition by an agency that was searching for a transgender woman to play a role. I had some experience acting in the film The Last Song , though I hadn‚Äôt pursued my acting career since. I was encouraged to act again when I learned the movie would try to build a better understanding of transgender people.
What was it like to return to acting after a decade away?
I was so overwhelmed by the fact that all the crew, including the director [Susanna Salonen], producer and screenwriter, were women. Working with them was so inspiring. They are so professional. They showed me that women can achieve anything.
How did it feel to win the award?
I was so excited! I was the only transgender in the gala. The award taught me there are no limitations. As a human, if you are talented and work hard enough you will be recognized for it. It is possible to look beyond gender lines. This award has been so liberating for me.
What do you think about the status of transgender people in Thailand?
It‚Äôs true that we get a lot of acceptance, but I don‚Äôt think society recognizes our real needs, especially when it comes to careers. Lots of my friends have been rejected from big companies simply because HR doesn‚Äôt want transgender workers. They are afraid we will tarnish their image. It‚Äôs ridiculous that these Thai HR people would think this way. Discrimination is one of the reasons I initially gave up my acting career, too. I was told there weren‚Äôt any roles for transgender women.
So, what did you do after leaving acting?
I‚Äôm an astrologer. It was destiny. Honestly, I had no interest in astrology at all. I was a mathematics and science student so I saw things logically. But after The Last Song, I was having doubts about my acting career. Some friends in the entertainment industry suggested I go see Suchart Ratanasuk, a reputed astrologer who had the Ganesha Statue erected at Huay Kwang and the Trimurti Statue in front of CentralWorld. After I met him, he randomly asked me, ‚ÄúAre you interested in being an astrologer?‚Äù I was stunned but I began learning more about it and finally became an astrologer myself. Customers usually find me through word of mouth.
Do you have anything to say to people who are skeptical about fortunetelling?
I always tell my customers that I can only show them what their destiny can be and suggest the best ways they can attain it. No matter how good their astrological omens are, their life won‚Äôt improve if they don‚Äôt try their best to make an honest and fulfilling living. Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan
Check out the trailer for Patong Girl:¬†