17 TV Actors Who Potrayed Their Truths on the Big Screen

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Representation is huge and even more impressive when the actor chosen to portray the role truly understands and identifies with the differences or struggles their character was written. 

Or perhaps it's progressive when the writers choose to include the actor's storyline into their character's storyline. 

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Here's a list of empowering characters whose storyarcs included the true version of their portaying actor's life. 

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on our list! 

1. Stranger Things - Gaten Matarazzo

Stranger Things - Gaten Matarazzo
Gaten Matarazzo has a genetic condition called cleidocranial dysostosis that affects the development of his bones and teeth, and he struggled to land acting roles as a result of it, but when he received the role of Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things the writers decided to incorporate this into his character's storyline. It's mentioned within Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 1 and Season 3 Episode 4.

2. Switched At Birth - Marlee Matlin

Switched At Birth - Marlee Matlin
Switched At Birth is huge for bringing representation to the deaf community, and even more impressive that they included a majority of deaf actors to play their big roles. Marlee Matlin, especially, is a huge advocate in the deaf community and has a history of many deaf roles, and was able to continue this as Melody Bledsoe in the show.

3. Glee - Chris Colfer

Glee - Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel on Glee is among many actors in this increasing climate of LGBT representation who are finally representing their true sexual orientations.

4. Breaking Bad - RJ Mitte

Breaking Bad - RJ Mitte
Although RJ Mitte has a much milder form of Cerebral Palsy than his counterpart Flynn White Jr. in Breaking Bad, it doesn't lessen the fact that he still has it and can relate to Flynn more so than an actor who might not be affected by the disorder.

5. Speechless - Micah Fowler

Speechless - Micah Fowler
Micah Fowler portrays JJ DiMeo in Speechless, a boy with cerebral palsy that leaves him unable to speak, as the title suggests. Micah also has a progressive form of the disorder, which doesn't leave him speechless, but it does keep him wheelchair dependent.

6. Euphoria - Barbie Ferreira

Euphoria - Barbie Ferreira
Barbie Ferreira, the rising star due to her fame from Euphoria has also struggled with weight and bullying on and offline, just as her character Kat Hernandez. Barbie has mentioned her struggle with being a curvier model and receiving criticism, as well as keeping an anonymous Tumblr blog to escape, again similarly to Kat.

7. Fresh Off the Boat - Constance Wu

Fresh Off the Boat - Constance Wu
Jessica Huang on the comedy Fresh Off the Boat lives with her family in a predominantly white neighborhood and has to deal with the struggles of being an Asian American in the south, just as the portraying actress Constance Wu lived through being raised in Richmond, Virginia. Wu has talked a lot about the systemic racism that prevails throughout Hollywood and feels lucky to shed light on through her comedy.

8. Girls - Lena Dunham

Girls - Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham has struggled with OCD from a young age and was lucky enough to pull from her real-life experiences to accurately portray it through her character Hannah Horvath in Girls.

9. The Secret Life of an American Teenager- Luke Zimmerman

The Secret Life of an American Teenager- Luke Zimmerman
Luke Zimmerman portrays Tom Bowman, Grace Bowman's older brother who has Down syndrome. Luke Zimmerman is an advocate for the Down syndrome community and he gets to expand the mind of the viewers and normalize people with disabilities on television.

10. Callie Tores- Grey's Anatomy

Callie Tores- Grey's Anatomy
Sara Ramirez played Callie Torres for seasons on Grey's Anatomy and chose to come out publicly shortly after her character did. Sara grew up within a religiously Catholic family similarly to Callie and was able to mimic the same inner turmoil she experienced growing up as queer in the tv show.

11. Supergirl - Nicole Maines

Supergirl - Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines portrays the incredible Nia Nal on Supergirl, and adds to the wonderful representation of trans actors and characters. It wasn't mentioned until much later into her role that her character was trans, and the writers did a beautiful job seamlessly including it as a part of her story.

12. Lady Dyamite - Maria Bamford

Lady Dyamite - Maria Bamford
In Lady Dynamite, Maria Bamford plays a fictionalized character of herself and is able to put her struggles with OCD on a platform that will not only humorously depict living with OCD, but also present it in a truthful manner.

13. NCIS - Daryl Mitchell

NCIS - Daryl Mitchell
In his role on NCIS: New Orleans Daryl Mitchell's character Patton Plame performed a scene that stemmed from his real-life struggles of getting ready in the morning and doing the small and major essentials, and how being bound to a wheelchair can affect that greatly.

14. Nashville - Hayden Panettiere

Nashville - Hayden Panettiere
Just as Juliette Barnes in Nashville struggles with postpartum, Hayden Panettiere struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter. Panettiere mentions that she's able to add in truthful storytelling while portraying her character's struggles on the show.

15. Friends - Lisa Kudrow

Friends - Lisa Kudrow
It's one thing to have to shoot scenes while wearing a fake pregnancy belly, but when you're truly going through the stages and discomfort of actually growing a human inside of you, that's another story. There's a lengthy list of women who shot a character's pregnancy while enduring their own, just as Lisa Kudrow did on Friends when Phoebe acted as a surrogate for her brother and his wife.

16. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Rachel Bloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Rachel Bloom
Rachel Bloom's show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend allowed for representation of mental illness on TV. Bloom played Rebecca Bunch, the main character who struggles with an array of mental illnesses. In an interview, Bloom talked about going into the worst depressive state of her life during the pitching phases of the show and was able to incorporate her experiences into her character's storyline.

17. Euphoria - Hunter Schafer

Euphoria - Hunter Schafer
In the newly popular HBO show Euphoria, Hunter Schafter's character Jules mentions her transition in the show, just as Hunter's own reality. The show didn't outright explain Jule's trans identity instead they alluded to it and included later on as part of her backstory. Showing that it's not her main identity, which is important to note.

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