Shadow And Bones Star Jessie Mei Li Opens Up About Her Gender Identity

If you don’t know the name Jessie Mei Li yet, rest assured: it’s only a matter of time. The “Shadow and Bone” star is making waves in a huge way, and people are loving every minute of it. 

Li stars as Alina Starkov on the show, and relishes the opportunity to portray a character who she can relate to. She explained to PopSugar, “[Alina] wants to save the world to validate herself as a member of this nation. It really felt true to my life. As a mixed-race person, it’s part of who I am. It shaped who I am. It shapes my personality, but it’s not everything that I am.”

One of the things fans like the most about Li is her willingness to share truths about herself in such a frank and open way. She recently opened up another topic that is truly quite personal: her gender identity and how she sees herself in the world.

Jessie is open about exploring her gender identity

As W Magazine has pointed out that Jessie Mei Li uses both she/her and they/them pronouns. Li explained that the reason she uses both is that she’s still learning more about her own gender identity. 

“I was thinking, ‘Well, am I completely non-binary? What am I?’ And I realized, actually I am who I am,” she explained. “I’m first and foremost, just a human being who likes what I like. I am also a woman, and that’s how the world has viewed me the majority of my life. I’m proud of that as well, and I can identify with both those things.”

Li also celebrates the fact that this self-exploration has allowed her to be more of who she feels she truly is — which she says is true for all of us. “I think that’s the thing with your pronouns and gender identity, you can just be who you are,” she expressed. “That was so freeing to me to understand that I could have multiple pronouns and some friends will refer to me as they, and some will refer to me as she, and that’s okay … I’m proud to be gender nonconforming.” 

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