Samy el-Noury is a transgender actor, advocate, and author of Lebanese/Puerto Rican descent. A recent transplant from Baltimore, Samy now lives in Brooklyn and has performed in cities across the country.
Samy's interest in the arts began at a young age. He has been playing the piano for almost 20 years, and began performing in stage productions as early as elementary school. Although he planned to study illustration in college, he decided to major in his second greatest love: History. (If Samy had not ultimately decided to pursue acting, he would have continued with a life in academia!)
He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Japanese Studies and a certificate in East Asian Studies. At the same time, he continued to train as an actor and perform throughout his academic career. Both of his passions collided when, in 2012, Samy saw a casting call for a production based on the life of playwright Yukio Mishima. He reached out to the director about serving as a dramaturg, but was instead invited to audition. He was cast in a small ensemble role, and has been performing ever since.
Over the years, Samy has worked as an art installer at various art galleries, and as a grantwriter for a local public television station; but by 2015, he started making his living entirely off of artistic endeavors and political activism. In addition to performing, he has worked as a teaching artist for the Smithsonian Discovery Theater, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater, and the Young Playwright's Theater.
As an activist, Samy served on the leadership teams of the DC Area Transmasculine Society and the Baltimore Transgender Alliance. He leads panel discussions on the barriers trans people face in accessing health care, and has helped develop trans-specific medical simulations at Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland Baltimore, and Anne Arundel Community College.
In 2017, Samy published his first-ever op-ed in The Advocate, on the challenges of being a trans actor of color. He has since appeared in a Buzzfeed video to address the same issue, and has also taken to Medium to publish new written work. He aims to highlight the diversity of the transgender experience—not just their struggles, but also their triumph.
Since moving to New York in 2018, he has continued to work with organizations on peer support, mentorship, and outreach for LGBTQ-identified individuals. He also completed a fellowship at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, where he examined the contributions of ballroom culture to the mainstream. He is currently in the middle of a residency at TED, which will culminate in a TED talk this winter on the importance of transgender history.
As of 2018, Samy has completed one ten-minute play, Ancestral Lines and Other Tall Tales, which will be published in the upcoming Latinx Archive. He is currently developing two new works, including a solo show, both of which he aims to premiere next year.