Sitting in a classroom was the last thing Ian Harvie wanted to do when he was in school. Dreaming about getting out early enough to get home in time for “General Hospital” or “All My Children” as the school day came to a close was a common occurrence. Now, as an actor on the rise, Harvie is making his dreams come true one at a time.
Harvie, who is a transgender man, has landed his biggest role to date as a recurring character on ABC nighttime soap "Mistresses." The series centers on a group of women who are navigating difficult families, complex relationships and other curve balls.
Michael Hester, Harvie’s character, is a wealthy financier and recent transplant from New York who ends up hiring April Malloy, played by Rochelle Aytes, as his interior designer. The actor was tight-lipped about whether his character will be a trans or cisgendered man, but he did say Michael is going to be April’s latest suitor.
“Shortly thereafter [they meet], there is some chemistry and in that chemistry there is some confusion, because April is in a relationship that is the first stable relationship she has had in a really long time, but it’s with a guy she wouldn’t normally pick," Harvie explained. "So we have a bit of a love triangle. There’s some action, some decisions and some truths to be revealed.”
Harvie said “Mistresses” was a very positive experience for him, in part because of the show’s willingness to work with LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD.
“The great thing about GLAAD is it’s not just a watchdog for after the fact to go in and say ‘I wish you could have done that differently,’ but they are preemptively meeting with writers and producers, directors, so that people understand their storytelling teaches people how to treat people.”
While he may be relatively new to acting, Harvie, who was also on the hit Amazon show "Transparent," is no amateur. As a veteran stand-up comedian, Harvie is already seasoned in front of an audience and is setting his sights on becoming a successful actor as is next challenge.
“I feel like I am chasing acting in the same way I was chasing stand-up when I first started. I love it so much, and I love the stretching that it requires of me into this new space and form.”
If Michael Hester is a trans character, it would not be the first time “Mistresses” has told LGBTQ stories. The series has had gay characters, explored bisexuality and featured a lesbian couple in the past.
“There was a trouple last season where the psychologist on the show had a relationship with the married couple," Harvie explained. "There are very brave in the things that they write.”
Fans of the ABC drama will be enjoying Harvie’s performance while the actor looks ahead to his future. “I would love to do acting that prepares me to do acting on my own show,” he told NBC OUT.
Regardless of where he ends up next, Harvie does have one main dream in mind.
“I would love for stories about trans guy characters to be elevated, and I would love to have a show that did that. That’s my dream, but I don’t know if that will come to fruition. Whether it is one I [write] or another that someone shares, that would be my dream.”
“Mistresses” airs Mondays at 10pm ET on ABC.