Rayanne Graff Was the Original Rayon

Now that Jared Leto has secured an Oscar win for his role as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, it seems fitting to pay homage to the character he gleaned his unwitting acting prompts from: Rayanne Graff. Apart from the obvious similarity in the names Rayon and Rayanne, Jared Leto took a few other inspirational cues from the infamous My So-Called Life character played by A.J. Langer.

The fun-loving, self-destructive nature of Angela Chase’s partner in crime closely mirrors that of the drug-addicted, AIDS-ridden Rayon–making it evident that Leto learned a lot through osmosis from Langer during his tenure as unattainable dreamboat Jordan Catalano. Rayanne’s devil may care approach to life is encapsulated in a line she delivers to Angela after she expresses a fear of getting a scar from popping a zit. Rayanne scoffs at her trepidation, asserting, “Everything causes a scar. Living causes a scar.” Rayon, too, shares this free-spirited stance on existence.

Moreover, the flirtatious propensities of both Rayon and Rayanne are undeniable, with Rayon doling out banter like, “I’ve been looking for you, lone star.” Rayanne, likewise, possesses a certain unignorable charisma; she has the sort of bravado that only someone damaged and overcompensating can understand. Rayon’s severed relationship with her parents is indicative of why she tends toward unbridled confidence. Rayanne, too, suffers from insecurity, particularly as her friendship with Angela begins to take a more competitive slant.

As for the rapport Rayon shares with Ron (Matthew McConaughey), it is a melding of the one Rayanne has with Angela and Rickie (Wilson Cruz), with Ron combining personality traits of generosity (Angela) and occasional self-doubt (Rickie). While Rayon may be a far cry from Jordan Catalano, she is not so distant from Rayanne, who, arguably may have played a better trans woman.

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