As an extension of the ELLEN brand, Ellen Digital Network (EDN) continuously strives to tell stories that are funny, kind, and most importantly, authentic.
“Fearless,” starring body activist, entrepreneur, and supermodel Ashley Graham, is an opportunity for EDN to partner with a game changer in the body-positive movement and help empower people to be totally and unapologetically fearless in their everyday lives.
Twenty years ago, Ellen DeGeneres made history when she became the first openly gay actress to play a lesbian character on televison, and has since been an inspirational figure to countless teens and adults struggling to accept themselves. As a powerful member of the gay community, LGBTQ+ repersentation and diversity within all EDN’s series is essential in spreading Ellen’s message of inclusion and acceptance. Ellen Digital is dedicated to shining a light on individuals and stories that do just that. The team heard the story of a 25-year-old transgendered man who was struggling with his confidence and living as his true self. Rickey’s inspirational episode was posted during Transgender Awareness Week in an effort to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people as well as address issues the community faces, not typically addressed by mainstream culture.
In addition to on-screen representation, EDN’s goals was for ELLEN fans to either relate directly to Rickey or find common ground with his story and promote acceptance for the trans community.
In the premiere episode, Ashley Graham meets 25-year-old Rickey from Kansas City, MO who transitioned from female to male one year ago and is looking to top surgery for a much needed confidence boost. Rickey comes from a conservative family and found himself in a dark place while coming out to his friends and family. Throughout his transition, Rickey has become more comfortable in his own skin, but it’s still a daily struggle. He shares his pain, even sharing how he purposely showers in the dark, to avoid seeing his reflection in the mirror.
In an effort to help Rickey feel part of a community, gain support, and a deeper understanding of himself, Ashley introduces him to the first trans person he’s ever met - groundbreaking transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox.
Rickey’s reaction to meeting Laverne, the first trans person he has ever met, was priceless.
Laverne offers him words of wisdom for loving himself at every phase and both Ashley and Laverne surprise Rickey with $10,000 to put toward his journey, helping him live as his authentic true self.
Rickey’s inspirational episode was posted during Transgender Awareness Week in an effort to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people as well as address issues the community faces.
Ashley’s ability to make everyone she meets feel comfortable and valued is a gift and it organically translates across the screen. Rickey's story remains the top-performing episode thus far with 9M cross-platform views. The series garnered outstanding engagement across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with more than 1M likes/positive reactions.
The series hit over 41M total views and 121M impressions!
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