Trace Lysette’s new series celebrates trans women’s love and pleasure


Trace Lysette is the title character in the buzzy new film Monica, for which she received an 11.5-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Her star is rising fast, but Lysette is the first to tell you that her career has been a slow burn. Despite scene-stealing roles like Tracey in Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers and Shae in Amazon’s Transparent, her phone hasn’t always been ringing with opportunities. It’s one of the many struggles confronting trans women in entertainment. While trans people are more likely to play the best friend than ever, they rarely get the center stage, and even more rarely get to ride off into the sunset with great sex and a love that lasts.

When we approached Trace about creating a series that rewrites the narratives we commonly see in the media about trans women, she said yes–as long as we didn’t shy away from any of the details. She wanted to tell a story about a big romance. She wanted to be real and get graphic about post-op trans women’s bodies. She was ready to break ground, and so were we.

Trace Lysette is as dynamic off-screen as she is on. Our team was struck by what we saw as her “bothness”: she’s soft-spoken and gentle, but she also exudes an unassuming strength and sexiness. She’s wholeheartedly herself, and that authenticity makes her a match made in heaven for the intimacy of a Dipsea audio story. And the chemistry between Trace and her male co-star? Well, you really just need to hear it for yourself...

Trace Lysette’s series Close Up stars Sophia, a trans woman and trained actress who lived in stealth for years. Sophia was just cast in her first big film alongside Austin Adams, and she’s nervous to see him again. Sophia and Austin hooked up while she was still a bartender and he was still on the B-List, and he didn’t know she was trans. When sparks fly between the two of them, their budding relationship in the spotlight brings its challenges–and surfaces big feelings.

The first episode of the three-part series drops on Friday, June 9, with a new episode dropping every Friday.

As both the star and a co-producer, Trace Lysette was involved in the development of Close Up every step of the way. Her character Sophia was influenced by Trace’s own lived experiences, and even her love interest, Austin, has characteristics borrowed from a former fling. The tender realness of this story, plus the chemistry between two people falling in love, showcases the joy we want to see at the center of many more trans stories.

In advance of her series release, we talked to Lysette about her collaboration with Dipsea. Here’s what she had to say:

What drew you towards creating the Close Up series with Dipsea?

I wanted to collaborate with Dipsea because it’s a women-led company and I feel like they do a good job of telling stories that…tell the whole, full spectrum of womanhood, and are very inclusive of different types of womanhood.

When we first started collaborating you talked about the lack of stories about trans women in the media–and specifically stories that highlight trans women’s sexual experiences. Could you elaborate on that?

There’s this longstanding myth about our bodies and the functionality of our bodies and our vaginas, and I never see myself represented in storytelling in the way that I know to be true to my own life.

I was just really interested in going there, and getting graphic, and romantic, and talking about my body in a way that validates my sexual experiences unapologetically…and not shying away from everything that I know to be true.

Tell us a little more about the characters, Sophia and Austin. What excited you about their dynamic?

[Sophia is] an actress, and a post-op trans woman. The male lead in this story was inspired by a leading man that I had a fling with probably a decade ago. And then it’s been fictionalized and has an alternative kind of ending and chapter that we never got to explore.

It’s been fantasized…but I see so much of myself in Sophia, and it’s really cool to have that play out.

What were some of your favorite moments from Close Up? (Warning: Spoiler Alert!)

Some of my favorite moments in the Dipsea series are the complicated romantic moments between Sophia and Austin. I especially like the ending where he finds the courage to love her unapologetically.

The interview scene [in episode 3] is special because Austin takes it upon himself to surprise her…and claim her, for lack of a better word, to the world. Or claim his own feelings. And I just think that has been so elusive for trans women. So for me it was really special.

Why is this series meaningful to you, as an actress and as a co-producer?

This series is meaningful to me as an actor and a co-producer because it’s a story I’ve never heard before. And as a co-producer, I think it’s important that trans people are involved in crafting our own stories.

What was it like for you to take part in a story that puts romance and pleasure at the center?

The link between romance and pleasure is very important to me. I have learned how to separate the two in my adult life, like I think a lot of people have, but innately I think that they are linked, and the best pleasure for me is always linked to romance.

What do you hope listeners take from your Dipsea series?

I hope listeners take away that trans women are deserving of love and opportunity and unapologetic romance. Our bodies are desirable in a way that’s not just a fetish. If they take that with them, I’ll be happy!

Dipsea icon

Find your favorite fantasy.


Or download the Dipsea app for the best listening experience.

Dipseas on apple storeDipseas on Google play store