Greek Australian indie horror actor Zoe Terakes, star of the successful film Talk To Me, has clinched the GQ Actor of the Year award at the Men of the Year Awards in Bondi.

The 23-year-old, who identifies as non-binary and trans-masculine, made a powerful statement in a classic black suit at the event.

During their acceptance speech, Terakes expressed gratitude to trailblazers in the trans and LGBTQIA+ community for paving the way in their career.

“We are forever indebted to the the trans people of colour who fought like hell for the future of their community,” they shared. “They walked down the street through heckling, and violence, and abuse, and erasure, so we could run.”

They acknowledged the struggles faced by trans people of color, emphasizing their resilience against heckling, violence, and erasure.

Terakes, whose year included the hit release of A24’s Talk To Me, the highest-grossing horror film for the studio, is set to make history as the first openly trans actor in Marvel’s Ironheart. Their impactful roles in Wentworth and Nine Perfect Strangers showcase their versatile talent.

“I kind of fell into the right hands at the right time, and worked my arse off, but I think if I was born 20 or 30 years earlier, I wouldn’t have a career,” they said.

In the Men of the Year speech, Terakes shared the challenges of seeking visibility as a trans person in film and television, emphasizing the importance of representation.

“When you’re in search of your own reflection and can’t find it, you begin to feel like you don’t exist. But you know you do, you feel your heart beat and your toes touching and the air in your chest, but there’s a world out there choosing not to see you,” they said.

They concluded their speech with a heartfelt plea for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In the GQ Men of the Year issue, Terakes delves further into their journey as a trans actor in Australia, reflecting on the changing landscape for LGBTQIA+ performers in the industry. Other honorees at the event included Robert Irwin, Otis Hope Carey, Dion Lee, and James Parr.