Photo: Leah Huebner

Emmett Preciado, formerly known as Emmett Claren, is an American transgender actor and singer-songwriter of Latin, Spanish, Mexican and European descent. He was born in Merced, California but grew up in Chilton, Wisconsin. Emmett is the oldest of seven kids, with three brothers and three sisters. He grew up in the Mormon faith, which was very difficult for Emmett because he knew at a very young age he was different. In kindergarten, he knew he liked girls and also believed he was a boy. It wasn’t until he reached puberty and his body started to change that Emmett felt extremely uncomfortable in his body. He wore layers and hoodies to cover his chest and always asked for short haircuts, not wanting the girls in his class to see he was turning into “one of them.”

Performing was a way for Emmett to escape his reality, so he actively participated in school musicals as a child and into his teen years. He was always putting on plays for his family, singing on stage, competing in talent shows, and started writing music when he was ten years old. His family moved to South Sioux City, Nebraska when he was a freshman in high school. He played French Horn, performed in Show Choir, was Drum Major two years in a row, and a three-time All-State singer.

After graduating from High School in 2012, Emmett went to community college for a year to pursue a degree in the medical field. At age 19, he left Nebraska to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He believed that if he served faithfully, maybe God would make him feel “normal.” He served as a sister missionary for 18 months in The Salt Lake City, Utah Mission. When Emmett returned from his mission, he attended a semester at Brigham Young University, Idaho. At this time in his life, he was depressed and struggling with suicidal thoughts. He had tried for years to fit in and be the person his family and the Church wanted him to be, but decided it was time to finally be true to himself.

In the late summer of 2015, Emmett dropped out of college and moved to Utah to pursue his physical transition from female to male. He came out as transgender to his family and friends. It was not easy at first, but over time his family became more and more supportive of him. He remained as active in the Church as possible for a couple of years and has spoken at and participated in conferences and events for LGBTQ Mormons.

Emmett started to seriously pursue his acting career in the Fall of 2018 and got his first principal role in the spring of 2019 while living in Provo, Utah. He was encouraged to go stealth and not be openly trans when he went into auditions or shared his resume. But Emmett wanted to make a difference by being seen. So in June of 2019, he moved to Los Angeles and started getting cast in small commercials and projects. He has worked with The Trevor Project and The National LGBTQ Task Force. In the Spring of 2020, Emmett was cast as Rowan, a recurring character on Freeform’s Good Trouble. At the end of 2020, he shot his first Guest Star role as Rio Gutierrez which can be seen on an episode of the ABC hit drama, The Good Doctor.

Fun fact about Emmett’s last name: his former last name, “Claren,” was actually made up. He never knew his grandfather, meaning Emmett’s father didn’t know who his father was. On his dad’s birth certificate, “Claren” was the name written down. But in 2019, Emmett’s dad took a “23andMe” test and found his father and a whole side of the family they never knew about! The name on his birth certificate should have been Preciado, the name he now proudly goes by.

Photo: Martin Salgo