Diesel Celebrates Pride with Creation of ‘Francesca’ Film with Harlow Monroe
Diesel celebrates Pride with a beautiful short film that tells the story of a young woman’s transition.
Entitled “Francesca,” the film is directed by Francois Rousselet and realized with the advice of Diversity, an Italian association committed to promoting social inclusion. The film follows its titular character, a young woman assigned male at birth, as she transitions and comes into her own identity.
Played by model and activist Harlow Monroe, Francesca begins her transition excited but perhaps unsure of herself; she hides her body under chunky clothes, pokes at her Adam’s apple in the men’s bathroom. But as time passes and the process goes on, each scene punctuated by her taking her hormone therapy medication, she becomes more confident and begins to feel like herself. She trades her briefs and baggy jeans for panties and high-waisted Diesels, assuredly steps into the women’s bathroom at a rock concert, gets flirted with by boys but knows she is totally out of their league. Wonderful editing and use of music excellently match the uplifting emotional transitions; she has worked so hard and we feel so proud and happy for her.
But it is the film’s final twist, another transition, when the importance and power of its message is really revealed. We learn that Francesca has been working towards being a nun; she is warmly accepted into a convent and swaps her Diesel jeans for a habit. Francesca’s gender expression is certainly an essential part of her identity, but to learn of her spiritual goal, to see that being recognized as a woman is only a prelude to her life’s work, recontextualizes what we have seen before and makes her all the more impressive and admirable, makes her story even more real. The film’s opening shot of her crucifix necklace suddenly takes on a deeply personal meaning. When the Diesel tagline “For Successful Living” finally appears, the film’s message crystallizes, and the tagline in turn becomes much more real. Successful living is living with pride, freedom, the confidence to embrace oneself. Francesca exemplifies this life.
I truly responded to the story of ‘Francesca,’ because, like me, she has always been a believer. I’ve always known my true identity, and I’ve never stopped believing in my ability to live the life I wanted. It takes personal bravery and family support, but we both made our truths a reality, and now we can tell the world our story and how we reached our version of successful living.
– Harlow Monroe
It is so important to put this kind of narrative out there. To enact social change towards transgender equality and inclusion, it is essential to make these narratives of breaking and overcoming social stigma highly visible. This film does it beautifully and hopefully can reassure young trans people everywhere that they are loved, accepted, and supported. It is also essential that Monroe herself is a trans woman, and is vocal about her own experiences and active in creating welcoming dialogues on issues of LGBTQ+ equality. Diesel has done great work by giving her such a powerful and visible role, and for telling this story so beautifully. Successful living is living with pride.
Diesel Founder | Renzo Rosso. Agency | Publicis Italy Director | François Rousselet Producer | Jules de Chateleux Produced by | Division Talent | Harlow Monroe Music | Sizzer Music Supervision | Michael Bertoldini Music Producer | Seppl Kretz