Ian Alexander (actor)

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Ian Alexander
Born (2001-04-20) April 20, 2001 (age 19)

Ian Alexander (born April 20, 2001) is an American actor known for their[a] roles as Buck Vu on The OA, as Lev in The Last of Us Part II, and as Gray Tal on Star Trek: Discovery.

Early and personal life[edit]

Alexander was born in Salt Lake City, Utah,[1] to a white father and a mother of Vietnamese descent who migrated to the United States from Vietnam.[2] Due to their father's work with the Department of Defense, their family often moved and has lived in places such as Hawaii, Japan and Washington, DC.[3] During elementary school, they would participate in community theater and chorus.[3] He received viral attention online through his photo response to a transphobic incident perpetrated by four UCLA college students.[4]

Though he was raised in a Mormon family, he is not a participating member.[5] He came out as transgender in 2014;[6] his pronouns are he/him and they/them, and they are non-binary and pansexual.[7][8]


Alexander's debut acting role was on Netflix's The OA, where he plays Buck Vu. Buck, like Alexander, is also a transgender youth and was partially based on Alexander's real experiences.[6] He was cast from an open casting call online that spread through Tumblr.[8][9][10] Later he was cast in the 2018 feature film Every Day, based on the book by David Levithan, playing Vic, a trans teen whom the spirit "A" inhabits for a day.[11] In October 2017, Naughty Dog announced Alexander had joined the cast for The Last of Us Part II, the sequel to their popular video game.[12] He played Lev, a transgender character in the game.[13]

In June 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, sparking the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Queerty named him one of their Pride50: "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people".[14] Similarly, Alexander was one of the cover stars for them.'s 2019 Pride issue, "spotlighting three rising queer artists whose work and lives are breaking new ground for LGBTQ+ visibility".[15] In March 2020, it was announced Alexander will star in the independent film Daughter.[16]

In September 2020, it was announced Alexander had joined the cast of Star Trek: Discovery; he plays the first transgender character in the Star Trek canon.[7][17]


Year Title Role Notes Refs
2016–2019 The OA Buck Vu TV series; main cast
2018 Every Day Vic Film
2020 The Last of Us Part II Lev Video game; featured voice and motion capture role
2020–present Star Trek: Discovery Gray Tal TV series; recurring [18]


  1. ^ Alexander uses he/him and they/them pronouns.


  1. ^ Azzopardi, Chris (February 15, 2018). "16-Year-Old Trans Actor Ian Alexander Is Bringing Queer Power to the Big Screen". Into. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (April 2, 2019). "The OA's Ian Alexander Is The Future Of Trans Visibility In Hollywood". Deadline. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Q & A with The OA's Ian Alexander". Angry Asian Man. December 21, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  4. ^ Karlan, Sarah (May 19, 2016). "People Can't Handle This Trans Teen's Response To This Viral Anti-Trans Photo". BuzzFeed. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  5. ^ Alexander, Ian (January 27, 2017). "I'm Ian Alexander/Buck! AMA : TheOA". Reddit. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Weik, Taylor (February 2, 2017). "Meet The OA actor who wants to help pave the way for trans representation". NBC News. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Ennis, Dawn (November 5, 2020). "Transgender Actor Ian Alexander, The Newest Star Trek Star, Didn't Get The Part He Auditioned For". Forbes. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Walker, Harron (December 22, 2016). "The OA's Ian Alexander on His Big Acting Debut and Trans Representation". Vulture. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  9. ^ "Casting Call: Netflix series seeks Asian Transgender Teen". Angry Asian Man. August 25, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  10. ^ Houlihan, Ryan (December 28, 2016). "How Netflix's Newest Teen Actor Landed His Job on Tumblr". Teen Vogue. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  11. ^ Dresden, Hilton (February 15, 2018). "Watch This Exclusive Clip From Every Day Featuring Trans Actor Ian Alexander". Out. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Naughty Dog [@Naughty_Dog] (October 30, 2017). "Ian Alexander is Lev. #TheLastofUsPartII" (Tweet). Retrieved October 31, 2018 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Rosenblatt, Kalhan (July 8, 2020). "The Last of Us Part II brings queer stories to a pandemic-ravaged dystopia". NBC News. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Reddish, David (May 24, 2019). "The OA's Ian Alexander is making it safer for trans teens to come out & parents to accept them". Queerty. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Our Pride Issue, Featuring Ian Alexander, King Princess, and Chika". them. June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 10, 2020). "Casper Van Dien, Ian Alexander, Vivien Ngô, Elyse Dinh And Megan Le Join Corey Deshon's Thriller Daughter". Deadline. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  17. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (September 2, 2020). "Star Trek: Discovery Introduces First-Ever Non-Binary And Trans Characters With Blu Del Barrio And Ian Alexander". Deadline. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  18. ^ Vary, Adam B. (September 2, 2020). "Star Trek: Discovery Makes Franchise History With First Trans, Non-Binary Characters". Variety. Retrieved September 6, 2020.

External links[edit]