Everything you need to know about amazing trans Renegade Nell actress Iz Hesketh

Iz Hesketh posing with Hollyoaks sign and in costume for Renegade Nell.

Trans actor Iz Hesketh is a rising British star who is making waves in the world of theatre and TV. 

The 26-year-old, who you may recognise from long-running soap Hollyoaks, is one to keep an eye on.

Her latest role in the Disney+ series Renegade Nell only serves to showcase the impressive growth in her career and filmography. Renegade Nell follows the adventures of a quick-witted young woman framed for murder, who unexpectedly becomes the most notorious outlaw in 18th-century England.

So, it feels like a particularly good time to reflect on Hesketh’s work to date and what you can expect from her performances. 

Who does Iz Hesketh play in Renegade Nell?

In March 2024, Hesketh announced she was playing Valerian in the British historical adventure television series Renegade Nell.

The Disney+ live-action series follows young fugitive Nell Jackson, after being accused of murder, navigating war-torn Europe as the most feared highwaywoman in the country. 

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Hesketh’s Valerian is an 18th-century non-binary character who is the assistant of Lady Eularia Moggerhanger (Joely Richardson).

“As far AS I’m aware I’m the first Non-binary character to appear in a [Disney] live action series which obviously is a HUGE honour that isn’t wasted on me,” she posted following the release of the show. 

“Even though this isn’t how I identify now it’s how I identified at the time and I am SO proud.”

Previously, Disney Pixar featured its first ever non-binary character Lake (voiced by Kai Ava Hauser) in the 2023 animated film Elemental

Renegade Nell is available to stream on Disney+ now. 

Who does Iz Hesketh play in Hollyoaks?

Hesketh is certainly keeping herself busy. She is also part of Hollyoaks, the long-running British soap opera, portraying Kitty Draper.

In January 2024, the actor announced on Instagram that she would be playing the character that she feels “British TV has needed for a long time.”

Describing Kitty, Hesketh noted: “She’s fiery, independent and has a huge heart. I’m so excited to show that trans people are just like everyone else. We have flaws, we fall in love and sometimes we make bad decisions for good reasons…”

Kitty’s introduction to the show was a moment of heightened dramatics. She was part of a huge car crash and took the ID of a dead woman, assuming the identity and continuing with life. 

Kitty has also forged a budding romance with Beau Ramsey (Jon-Paul Bell). 

Hollyoaks streams via Channel 4 each weekday at 7.30pm. 

Iz Hesketh previously appeared in the stage production of Legally Blonde

In 2022, Hesketh played Elle Woods’s friend Margot in the London musical adaptation of Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde follows fashion merchandising major Elle Woods attending Harvard to win back her ex-boyfriend. However, along the way, Elle discovers the power she possesses is more than she could have ever thought. 

With the announcement of her role in the musical adaptation, Hesketh posted on Instagram: “As the first trans person to play this role professionally I can’t quite put into words how grateful I am to be taking this huge step in musical theatre history.

“I am so excited to show future generations that being true to yourself never goes out of style.”

Celebrating the opening night, Hesketh posted on X: “Tonight I made history as the first ever Trans Non-binary person to play Margot in Legally Blonde.”

The adaptation also saw Black actors play lead characters Elle Woods (Courtney Bowman) and Emmett (Michael Ahomka-Lindsay).


Iz Hesketh’s GoFundMe

In February, Hesketh launched a GoFundMe to help pay for her gender-affirming surgery.

On the page, Hesketh notes that she has taken steps “to start socially and medically transitioning.”

“For me this next step is Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS). Sadly Trans healthy care (both abroad and in the uk) is extremely expensive.

“So I have set up this Go Fund Me to ask for support from loved ones, friends and hopefully kind strangers so I can put every penny I raise towards my gender affirming healthcare.

“I have set my goal at £20,000. (I know WOOF) Sadly this won’t cover all the cost involved with getting surgery but I didn’t want to set my goal too high and feel like I’m asking too much of people.

“This journey is only beginning and I cannot wait to update you all every step of the way. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story so far, from the bottom of my heart I truly appreciate it.”

To date, Hesketh has raised £7,259 of her £20,000 target, you can find out more and donate to Hesketh here.

We wish Iz Hesketh all the luck and good fortune in the world, and we can’t wait to see what this icon of trans representation does next.

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