With no prior acting experience, Harmony Santana earned major buzz for her breakthrough performance as a male teenager who was trying to live openly as a girl and dealing with a disapproving father in the compelling coming-out drama "Gun Hill Road" (2011). Santana's portrayal of Vanessa/Michael, a shy teenager undergoing a sexual transformation, was a case of art imitating life. Before being cast in the film, Santana also endured an estranged relationship with her own father, who disapproved of her lifestyle and identity crisis. After the film premiered, Santana appeared in two installments of the gay-themed film comedy series "Eating Out: Drama Camp" (2011) and "Eating Out: The Open Weekend" (2011). Yet, it was her searing performance in "Gun Hill Road" that earned her critical acclaim and made her an inspiration to people who shared her own transformative experiences.