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S2 025: Selenis Leyva

S2 025: Selenis Leyva 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Leaving a Footprint: No One Can Tell You It’s “Not For You”

Selenis Leyva is an award-winning actress known for her roles as Gloria Mendoza in the Netflix hit series Orange Is the New Black and as Gabi Cañero in the Disney+ original Diary of a Future President. In addition to her film and television credits, Selenis is an outspoken activist for LGBTQ+ rights, and often is invited to college campuses to speak on diversity and inclusion. Selenis is currently promoting the release of her memoir, “MY SISTER, How One Sibling’s Transition Changes Us Both” which was published through Bold Type Books. Written with her sister Marizol, a transgender woman and advocate, the book is told from both women’s perspectives…about growing up in the Bronx, Marizol’s transition and more broadly….family, love, and the path to self-realization. Prior to this, Selenis was awarded the Anti-Violence Project’s 2016 Courage Award and the Stonewall Community Foundation’s 2016 Vision Award for inspiring visibility, advocacy and outspoken support for the transgender community. She has been featured in publications such as the Huffington Post, Time magazine’s Motto, People magazine’s Latina Love Project Series, and Splinter.



“I believe in all stories being able to be told. I have a problem when you tell me that because of what I look like, because of what I sound like, because of where I come from, that I can only play certain characters.”

“One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in the last decade is sometimes you want something so badly and for whatever reason you don’t get it, trust that it’s because it just wasn’t for you. Something else came that was going to be bigger, better for you.”

“There is nothing more powerful than loving yourself and respecting yourself because then you’re going to want the best for you and you’re not going to settle for anything less.”



  • WRITER: Erin McCluskey
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

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Los Angeles-based actress, bestselling author, host of That One Audition podcast, entrepreneur, & mother.



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