Juliet Evancho is Jackie Evancho‘s sister, although she was born Jacob. Jackie Evancho, a former America’s Got Talent finalist, was the singer chosen to perform the National Anthem at Donald Trump‘s inauguration on January 20. After Trump rolled back protections for transgender students, Jackie pleaded with Trump to help her sister.
Jackie also wrote that she was disappointed in the president’s decision on February 23.
Since Juliet is transgender, that raised questions about her sister’s decision to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the inauguration. However, she defended Jackie, who did not attend the inauguration. The 18-year-old Juliet is two years older than Jackie and they both grew up in Pittsburgh.
Jackie and Juliet also have two younger siblings – Rachel, 13; and Zachary, 14. Their parents are Lisa and Michael Evancho and they are Catholic.
Here’s a look at Juliet.
1. Juliet Defended Her Sister Singing For Trump, Saying it’s an ‘Honor’ for Jackie
Jackie and Juliet sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning ahead of the inauguration. They both defended Jackie’s decision to sing before the inauguration and insisted that it didn’t mean she was endorsing Trump’s views on gay rights.
“I hope to just kind of make everyone forget about rivals and politics for a second and just think about America and the pretty song that I’m singing,” Jackie told CBS. “I’m hoping that I can bring people together.”
Juliet said that this is a great honor for her sister and doesn’t think she’s singing for Trump, but for the country.
“The way I look at it is, Jackie is singing for our country, and it’s an honor for her to be singing in front of so many people,” Juliet told CBS. “So I feel that’s really where I look at it. And that’s where I’m going to leave it right now.”
2. Juliet Wasn’t at the Inauguration, Reportedly Because She Had Gender-Reassignment Surgery
Although Juliet is often seen by Jackie’s side, she was not in Washington, DC for the inauguration. In a New York Times interview, Juliet said she will be there “in spirit.” Juliet told the Times that she has “prior engagements.”
However, TMZ reports that the reason Juliet was not there is because she was having sex-reassignment surgery so she can “finally be herself.” The procedure, which took place in Philadelphia, was planned months ago, according to TMZ.
TMZ reports that Juliet’s absence wasn’t a form of protest of Trump or his vice president, Mike Pence.
3. Juliet Recorded ‘I See the Light’ From ‘Tangled’ With Jackie & Saw Singing the Male Part as a ‘Huge Step Backwards’
In 2012, Jackie recorded Songs from the Silver Screen, which featured a duet with Juliet. They sang “I See The Light” from Disney’s Tangled. Juliet, then still known as Jacob, thought singing the male part in the song was a step back for him.
In an essay for Teen Vogue, Juliet wrote that this was a “huge step backwards.” At the time, she was trying to grow out her hair, even as she was very concerned about the Evancho family’s public image for her sister’s sake.
While Jackie was promoting the album, they filmed a PBS special. A makeup artist cut his hair. “Did I look like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo? Yes. But was that the best representation of who I really was? Yes,” Juliet wrote. “I did my best not to cry.”
Juliet called filming that special a “turning point.”
4. Juliet Wrote That Her Father Took the News of Her Gender-Dysphoria the Hardest
In her Teen Vogue essay, Juliet wrote that her father took the news that she had gender-dysphoria the hardest. Her mother had suspected it and Jackie wasn’t surprised, but it was difficult for her father to take.
“My dad took it the hardest, and I couldn’t blame him, even if it hurt me a lot. He tried to hide it, but I could tell. He was, after all, losing his oldest son. Not just his, but the son that had his name as a middle name,” Juliet wrote for Teen Vogue. “My youngest siblings Zach and Rachel were a little too young to fully understand, but I told them, too. Not even my best friends knew the real me. Everyone just assumed I was a feminine gay boy.”
After that, Juliet went to a therapist for two years and dealt with depression. When she turned 17, she gathered her extended family together for a pool party to announce that she is transgender.
“There was a brief, really awkward silence and I thought for a split moment that I had just ruined my relationship with most of my family, but those thoughts were soon interrupted by an uproar of applause and cheers from everyone. Everyone told me they loved me just as much as when I was Jacob,” Juliet wrote for Teen Vogue. “I realized pretty quickly just how lucky I am to have such a supportive family.”
Juliet wrote that she understands how lucky she is to have a supportive family. She still has faith in God and knows that she also has to share her story. That way others understand that “there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
5. Juliet’s Dad Calls Concerns About Transgender People Using Bathrooms That Don’t Match the Gender on Their Birth Certificate ‘Nonsense’
In May 2016, Juliet and her father, Michael Evancho, were interviewed by KDKA in Pittsburgh after debates about transgender people using bathrooms at schools that do not match the gender on their birth certificate.
“I’m not this monster who’s there to hurt their children. I’m there to learn and use the bathroom if need be,” Juliet told KDKA.
“This nonsense that assaults can happen or anything like that. It’s just that, it’s nonsense,” Michael told KDKA.
Michael told KDKA that it was difficult for him to take the news that Juliet was transgender. However, he’s fully supportive of her now. “I love her, very proud of her. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I could be that brave,” she told KDKA.
According to KDKA, the current bathroom rule for the Pine-Richland School District, where Juliet is a high school senior, allows students to use bathrooms that match the gender they identify with.
“I don’t understand what’s so wrong with me using that bathroom, using my preferred bathroom,” Juliet told KDKA. “Because there have been transgender students in Pine-Richland for two-and-a-half years and now it’s an issue? I just don’t get it at all.”
On February 27, 2017, The Associated Press reported that a federal judge ruled that Juliet and two other transcgender students can use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. There is still a lawsuit against the Pine-Richland School District’s high school’s policy.
“Other than perhaps one report received by the high school principal in October 2015 from a student that ‘there was a boy’ in the girls bathroom … followed by a parent inquiry along the same lines in early 2016, there have been no reports of ‘incidents’ where the use of a common restroom by any one of the plaintiffs has caused any sort of alarm to any other student,” U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak wrote.