Transgender teen’s tragedy to air on Lifetime – Eleni Economides, Staff Writer

Portrayal of Gwen Araujo ‘very emotional’ for actor

Newark – When J.D. Pardo auditioned for the role of slain transgender teen Gwen Araujo, he first embarked on a physical transformation. Pardo went to Victoria’s Secret and bought a bra, went to Lane Bryant and bought clothing, and had his sister do his makeup.

“I wanted to dress up and walk around to see people’s reactions,” Pardo said.

When he found out that he had received the part, Pardo began to research the life of the real Gwen Araujo and the lives of transgender people.

It suddenly became more than a physical transformation for Pardo ? it was a moving experience.

“It was very emotional to know I had the part,” he said. “As an actor, I can take it off. Transgenders deal with this every day.”

Shot over a month in Vancouver, B.C., “A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story” will air at 9 p.m. June 19 on the Lifetime Channel. The film chronicles the life of the Newark transgender teen who was killed in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, when it was learned she was biologically male.