You Are Reading
Inside Leyna Bloom’s History-Making Cannes Experience

Inside Leyna Bloom’s History-Making Cannes Experience

From the moment Leyna Bloom read the script for Port Authority, she connected with its story. An actress, dancer, and model Bloom has undertaken her share of creative projects, but writer-director Danielle Lessovitz’s coming of age romance stood out as something special. “I knew it had the potential to do something amazing, it was so current,” shared Bloom who was struck by the contemporary nature of the love story set against the backdrop of Harlem’s kiki ballroom scene and its diverse behind the scenes team. “There were so many black and brown bodies attached to it. Fionn [Whitehead] was attached. Martin [Scorsese] was attached. A Jewish lesbian woman was the director and writer. I knew it was going to go somewhere, but I had no idea that place would be Cannes.”

The film, which premiered last week in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section has received a warm reception at the festival. Praised for its authenticity and Bloom’s performance as Wye, a street smart young woman whose relationship with a naive Midwesterner drives the plot, it is the first Cannes selection to feature a trans woman of color as its lead, as well as the first to have a trans producer at the helm, Jari Jones. For Bloom, who describes every day of the production as a learning experience, the history-making premiere was especially meaningful. “A huge highlight was seeing my brothers vogue on the red carpet,” she says of the viral moment when co-stars Taliek Jeqon, Christopher ‘Afrika’ Quarles, Eddie Plaza (aka Miggy Mulan), Paris Warren (aka Monsieur Pariè), and Devon Carpenter treated the paparazzi to an impromptu ball on the steps of Palais de Festival. “I was a young kid in the Southside of Chicago, so seeing that was life-changing for me. I started crying, I’ll never forget that.”

The unforgettable night kickstarted Bloom’s Cannes experience. With a full schedule of interviews and events she made the most of her time at the festival paying a visit to Dior’s beauty suite, sharing a dance with Salma Hayek, and most importantly garnering well-deserved awards buzz for her first significant role—one she hopes has as big an impact on the audience as it’s had on her. “I want people to take away that no matter what your background is or what your walk in life is, you can come together,” she says. “You can find love, find friendship, and you can find yourself! That’s the most important thing, that’s what the movie is about, it’s about people finding themselves in the craziest areas. That’s what life is about.”