Actress Mercedes Ruehl was thrilled when the mother of murdered transgender woman GWEN ARAUJO rewarded her with a bottle of perfume for portraying her in a harrowing new TV film.
Ruehl was worried Araujo's mum, SYLVIA, would not be pleased with her role in A GIRL LIKE ME: THE GWEN ARAUJO STORY because it was such a heartbreaking project.
But the devastated mother, who has become a leading transgender activist following her daughter's hate crime death, felt the actress was destined to play her.
Ruehl states, "She always wore the perfume Tommy Girl (Hilfiger) because that's what Gwen wore. She gave me a bottle.
"She feels in close contact with her daughter on a spiritual plane and believed it was no mistake that we were summoned to make the film."
But despite portraying Sylvia Araujo, who was forced to come to terms with her son physically becoming a woman, the actress fears she still wouldn't be as brave if one of her two sons expressed a desire to switch sex.
She adds, "There is enough of a conventional bourgeois many generations back in me that I would have to grow in courage."