Risa Tanania

Risa Tanania by Anna Silva

Risa Tanania wants young queer people to know that she is making change. Co-founder of The House that Casting Built — a feminist, queer-owned, boutique casting house for unscripted television — Tanania’s vision is to greatly improve inclusion and representation on TV. “When an audience sees someone that looks or sounds like them [or] has had a similar journey to theirs, it can alter what they deem possible and can help people — certainly young people — to know they can dream a bit bigger,” she tells GO. Her plan seems to be working. Her most recent project, Netflix’s “Dating Around,” features LGBTQ+ daters, people of color, and participants over 70, which caught the attention of both The New York Times and Vanity Fair. The most rewarding aspect of her work is “Seeing it. Seeing different body shapes, people of color, and a fluid band of queers,” she says. “A spectrum of ages and identities on the screen is quite powerful, even life-changing, to those at home watching.” In addition to working toward a fix in the media’s representation gap, Tanania is on the Board of Directors at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest queer synagogue. When she’s not changing how marginalized people are reflected in the media, she’s in her Chelsea home with her wife, Anna, and their two fur babies: Artie, a Havanese, and Barbra Streisand, a rescue mutt. —NT

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