Mulvaney’s end goal, however, was always to be onstage or in front of a camera. “When I moved to New York, I was handing out flyers at Brookfield Place. I was handing out deodorant wipes in the subway, because I didn’t want to get a real job that would take me away from auditioning.”
Now that we are post-“Day 365 Live!,” Mulvaney hopes she’ll be able to return to bigger stages and screens. The show was intended to demonstrate her wide array of talents, whether enthusiastically interviewing a state senator or belting a pop cover. When I joke that the show was like a long audition reel, she agrees: “And an expensive one too.”
Another item on Mulvaney’s vision board is a Mary Tyler Moore-esque scripted series in which she will star. Until that project is greenlit — and it almost certainly will be, given how many people are working behind the scenes to launch Dylan Mulvaney further into the stratosphere — the near future looks like a string of TikTok videos. Mulvaney is guided by the virtue of “authenticity,” which is why she makes an effort to seem the same in person when meeting fans in the wild as she does on TikTok. She reminds herself: Dylan, do not always be in full glam when you’re trying to make videos. “Because that’s not the reality of the situation.”
Earlier this year, Mulvaney chose to document her experience with facial feminization surgery, but not without a bit of hand-wringing. On one hand, gender-affirming surgeries save lives; on the other, she didn’t want her procedure to be seen as a tacit recommendation for all trans people. “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” she says. “People say, ‘Well, we’ll take you seriously when you get bottom surgery. When are you getting your boobs? When are you changing your name?’”
She went through with documenting her surgery in part because her face was becoming increasingly public, and in part because, if her followers found out, she wanted them to hear the news from her. In late January, she posted a series of professionally shot videos to celebrate her “face reveal.” Her audience went nuts.
“I brought my hairline down, shaped my brow bone, rhinoplasty, I got a lip lift, I took a little bit of my chin in, and shaved off the Adam’s apple,” she says. “But you have to be really careful, because I’m a singer.” She was euphoric with the results. At “Day 365 Live!,” she saved a front-row seat for her surgeon, Dr. Harrison Lee, and sang him a tune: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”