a star rises

Morgan Davies is the trans representation we’ve been waiting for

Morgan Davies, wearing circular glasses, stares incredulously off camera in a scene from Netflix's 'One Piece.' He has light pink hair parted in the middle and wears a blue and white t-shirt.
Credit: Netflix

This profile is part of Queerty’s 2023 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year.

Name: Morgan Davies, 21

Bio: It’s hard to tell whether Davies found acting or acting found him.

Born as female in a small suburb in Sydney, Australia to a single mother, the Evil Dead Rise star went on his first audition at seven years old. What started out as a fun excursion turned into a career when Davies scored the role of Simone in 2010 film The Tree.

His performance scored him two AACTA nods and put him in a national spotlight after the flick closed the esteemed Cannes Film Festival. (For his part, Davies told Vogue Australia he had “no idea about the gravity of the festival. I wore Crocs!”)

The role led to another AACTA nomination for 2011’s The Hunter, an appearance in the Spielberg-produced series Terra Nova, and a handful of leads in short films. Not too shabby!

For a teenager coming into their own, acting was both an escape and a passion. “I’ve always really cared how people see me, so I liked being able to switch off [who I am with acting] and instead bring someone else to life,” he told Vogue. “It’s like a superpower.”

Still, performing as Morgana Davies didn’t feel right. And the young actor’s most liberating journey (and his most authentic performances) were just around the corner.

Coming Out: At 13, Davies came out as trans to his mother, agent, and some close friends. While they were supportive, he struggled to connect his professional identity with his personal one at first.

“I quit acting for a bit, because not only were there no roles for trans people at the time, but I was so uncomfortable with myself about how I looked, how I presented, and how I looked on screen, and how people perceived me,” he told Out in Perth in 2021.

Still, acting was Davies’ lifeblood, and he felt called to return, but wasn’t ready to introduce himself to the world as Morgan just yet.

“I was going through a lot, thinking: ‘Who the f*ck am I and where am I going,'” he said toVogue.

So, he went back to the industry, but continued working as Morgana.

“I wouldn’t say I de-transitioned, because I’ve always been trans in my heart, but… it kind of showed me where the industry was at the time, because I started getting roles as soon as I stopped identifying as trans,” he told Out in Perth.

But a golden opportunity presented itself with the role of Oberon, a teen who transitions from female to male, in Showtime TV series The End. After initially turning it down, the then-16 year old eventually auditioned at the bequest of his manager.

And he nabbed the part!

“I came out that day, to everyone, and while I was terrified, it ended up being not as scary as I thought it was,” Davies said.

Though taking on the character was an extremely personal journey, Davies told Vogue he “would do it all over again,” not just for himself but for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I feel like if I saw a show like [The End] when I was younger maybe I wouldn’t have felt so horrible,” he said.

And Davies’ star has only continued to grow.

In this year’s Evil Dead Rise, he portrayed trans son Danny… who accidentally unleashes evil spirits on his family’s apartment while trying to DJ. His character’s journey, which didn’t make a show of his transness nor focus on trauma around gender, was praised by the LGBTQ+ community as an example of the representation we’ve been waiting for.

Furthermore, Davies’ role as the nerdy but courageous Koby in the Netflix series One Piece took it one step further. The live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s manga was a bonafide hit for the streamer, topping its most-watched list (and earning a renewal) after its September 2023 release.

Going forward, Davies is continuing to push for more trans representation –– and more stories of joy, too.

“[We need to show] people the really full life trans people have, going to parties, love interests, really enjoying yourself,” he explained to Vogue. “That’s the biggest thing that’s happened to me recently. I can go days without waking up and going to sleep questioning, ‘What gender am I?’ … I thought I would think about it ’til I died.”

Don't forget to share: