Yasmin Finney Portraying Heartstopper’s Elle Argent: Their Fashion & Personal Journey

Yasmin Finney Portraying Heartstopper’s Elle Argent: Their Fashion & Personal Journey

by Nikola Marković - August 2023 

In April 2022, the whole world got struck by Netflix’s "Heartstopper." This heart-melting queer coming-of-age queer romance based on webcomics/graphic novels written and created by Alice Oseman, has set an example for teen queer and trans representation. Aside from the central queer love story between a gentle schoolboy Charlie and his classmate Nick, one of the more ground-breaking sides of "Heartstopper" comes through the character of Elle Argent, a trans girl portrayed by rising trans star Yasmin Finney. Finney, being 18 at the time, broke out not only as a brilliantly talented actor but quickly became a trendsetting fashion icon. This article will explore Finney’s personal and fashion journey, as well as those of her character Elle whom she infused with an incredible depth of personality and unique style.

Yasmin Finney’s Personal Journey

Just like the character she embodies in the show, Finney, who is only 19, identifies as trans and uses she/her pronouns. Raised in Manchester in poverty by her single mother who is of Jamaican descent, she reported for Teen Vogue that, very early on, she showed interest in acting and performing, participating in many local theatre productions before she would go on to college to study performing arts. Three years before her acting breakthrough in 2021, Yasmin started sharing her experience growing up as a black teen trans woman in Manchester on TikTok. Through her TikTok presence, she gained a remarkable following that by April 2022 reached over 741,000 and now counts 1,7 million followers. In her most viewed video, which at the time reached 9.1 million likes, she openly discusses transphobic experiences from potential romantic partners.

On numerous occasions, Yasmin also talked about being bullied at school and her not-so-easy relationship with her family, the majority of whom she is not speaking to. “My family are very Catholic, so they have a ‘one rule for all’ situation, and I kind of just broke from that, as did my mum,” says Finney in an interview for GQ.  She adds that, after transitioning, it took her mum quite some time to accustom to her new gender identity. “It’s been a rocky journey, but eventually, she accepted me,” concludes Finney on a positive note.

Already gaining TikTok fame helped Finney have a smooth transition into her acting at the age of 17. After having been cast in Billy Porter’s film "Anything's Possible" but having to withdraw due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Finney debuted as Elle Argent in "Heartstopper". This role earned Finney many accolades, including Gay Times Honours Award for On Screen Trailblazer, Soho House Awards for Breakthrough Actress, Rose d'Or Awards for Emerging Talent, Children's and Family Emmy Awards nomination for Outstanding Supporting Performance, and Queerty Awards Nomination in the category "Badass". She was also featured in GLAAD's annual 20 Under 20 list.

Elle Argent seemed to be the perfect character for Finney to channel her social engagement. On numerous occasions, she expressed immense appreciation to be part of the show that highlights all the natural things about being trans. For PinkNews, she said it was particularly important to portray a trans character that "doesn’t delve into gender dysphoria, or depression, or bullying, but just the positive — the friendship, the chosen family, the moving from an all boys’ school to an all girls’ school." It is indeed so refreshing that only once in the "Heartstopper’s" pilot, it is mentioned that the character Elle is transgender. Finney also said that she learned so much in her role of Elle – especially to be unapologetically yourself!

Yasmin Finney’s Fashion Journey

Being an inspirational young trans role model rarely goes without a strong footing in the fashion world. Finney has already been on the cover of British Vogue, Teen Vogue, GQ and recently Elle magazine, and has become the face of the Tiffany and the YSL Beauty campaign making history as the brand’s first UK local ambassador. She has also partnered with Marc Jacobs Fragrances for a promotional post and has been spotted on the front row at Harris Reed and JW Anderson. Fashion publications proclaim that she is trendsetting Gen-Z fashion, describing her style as "joyous" and "bold".

Browsing through Finney’s social media and looking at her appearances on red carpets and award shows reveals Finneys’ eclectic, playful, and flamboyant sense of style that celebrates all the shades and textures of trans identity. She supports emerging brands like Nensi Dojaka, and Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy but is not afraid to bravely strut in big labels like Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, or Ralph Lauren. On one occasion she appears feminine, ethereal, and almost angelic; on the other, dressed in a ’70s-looking attire, with a bold afro and in a halter top and drop-waist velvet pants. To the inaugural Soho House Awards, she appeared seductive, sharp, and sexy wearing a 90s-looking body-sculpting brown dress, while at the GQ Style Magazine party, she appeared in more androgynous denim separates consisting of bootcut jeans exposing midriff and fur-trim denim jacket like a badass Y2K rap diva.

At Wimbledon, she wore Ralph Lauren blue suiting with a black tie and a white shirt looking elegant and classy, while on another occasion she was giving Pamela Anderson, in a skimpy bra motorcycle jacket, and a long blonde wig. At the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards she showed up in a punky look with white brows and a leather trench coat while at the BFI London Film Festival, she was spotted in a patterned asymmetrical dress with silver sandals and monogrammed Gucci jacket.

All of this accounts for Finney’s great fashion sensibility. She is having fun, shapeshifting personas, expressions, and aesthetical possibilities. For her, fashion does not necessarily have to be strict, or a direct and continuous reflection of our identity. It is instead a playground and invites artistic explorations. Finney’s style is therefore reflecting her own energetic fluidity and youthful freedom. Her fashion journey has commenced in such an inspirational and uplifting spirit, and given she is still so young, we are yet to witness where it takes her.

Elle Argent’s Personal Journey in Heartstopper

Back to Elle Argent, a character that has so many things in common with Finney herself. To Teen Vogue, Finney acknowledged that Elle and she are very similar. “Even when it comes to our social life, when it comes to our school life when it comes to our experience in high school,” she proclaims. “You know, it says in the series that she nearly got expelled because of her hair length, and I also nearly got expelled because of my hair length.” Much like Finney has a mixed racial heritage with an English father and Jamaican mother, Elle, too, is multi-ethnic, with her father being from the UK and her mother's family being from Egypt. However, due to the prevalent transphobic attitudes and homophobic laws present in this country, Elle hasn't visited her mother’s side of the family in many years.

When the first season begins, Elle is going through a transitory period. After years of going to a boy’s Truham Grammar School and dealing with bullying and transphobia, she has finally transferred to Harvey Greene Grammar School for Girls following her transition. Naturally, with her confidence shattered by the struggle in the old school, at first, she finds it difficult to make friends and find her place in a new environment, missing her old friends Charlie and Tao. Despite the trauma she has suffered, Elle remains very caring, sweet, compassionate, and friendly. That is why, as the season progresses, she becomes close friends with Darcy and Tara from the new girls’ school and brings her two groups of friends together. She is the one to whom friends confide about their romantic relationship and she holds the secrets sacred.

A very special relationship she has with Tao, calling him "Tiny Tao", and flirtingly teasing his short build. The two have crushes on one another. In episode 6, Elle is wondering if she has developed feelings for Tao and reveals it to her friends who hope to set the two up on a date. However, Elle confronts them being determined to protect and put first her friendship with Tao. “My friendship with him is more important, and if he knew then things would change, and I’ve had to deal with enough changes in my life lately. I don’t want anything else to change,” she proclaims. This also accounts for how emotionally mature her character is, she knows how to set healthy boundaries and take baby steps in her healing journey. Elle knows what she needs and what she can handle, realizing she is not ready to have a romance even though she does not deny having feelings for Tao.

Another great testament to her inspiring character happens later in the season when she is willing to risk personal inconvenience and harm and face the boys who bullied her just to watch her best friend Charlie’s rugby game. That shows her loyalty and, above all, bravery. Elle Argent’s story is one of grace and courage and she is an example of perseverance to all who are struggling with identity issues, transitioning, or queerness. 

Elle Argent’s Fashion Journey in Heartstopper

When it comes to Elle’s appearance, it is nothing less than inspirational. First of all, her physique is striking, being tall and beautiful, with dark brown wavy hair and dark eyes peeking through round glasses with thin golden frames. Throughout the whole series, Elle is wearing her natural hair’s texture which signifies that she is confident and comfortable in her skin. Like the other kids, Elle has to follow school rules and wear a school uniform, which consists of a classic grey wool suit jacket with a white shirt and red tie. However, in her downtime, her fashion comes into play with comfortable but fashionable pieces. Her style is mostly described as "comfy", "chic", and "quirky".

Elle’s character description states that she loves fashion and that she makes and upcycles clothes. As a creative and artistic person, she naturally leans towards fashion and even mentions applying to art schools after graduating. This is reflected in her dress, as she's often wearing skirts with patterns she designed and made herself. Her character description also states she likes weird artsy films, with Moonrise Kingdom being her favorite. This, too, is reflected in her style, in the pastel yellows and pinks, quirky overalls, wavy sun dresses, and 60s-inspired styling. On one occasion she wears a pink shacket embroidered with strawberries while, on another, a yellow heart print cardigan over a floral top. She is also spotted wearing a mustard teddy jacket with big pockets or a brushstroke print hoodie in vapor pink by Adidas with a blue hairband.

Her fashion choices show stylistic and aesthetical consistency – she knows who she is and her dress reflects this assuredness. While Finney’s style is bold, experimental, and eclectic, changing different styles, eras, and personas, her character Elle Argent seems to have found her comfort zone in soft textures and quirky but chic garments. This is equally commendable, as this coherence and steady trajectory goes in line with her character development. Elle is sweet, assertive, stands firmly on the ground, and knows her boundaries, as with her relationships so as with her fashion.


In the genre of queer romance that usually leans towards heartbreak or tragedy, "Heartstopper" is an absolute refreshment. Finney’s brilliant portrayal of Elle Argent marks a new era of trans representation, with her lively, fresh take on the trans journey. While Finney has enlivened Elle’s character in three dimensions and given her an inspirational style, Elle served as a springboard for Finney to reach an even wider audience on her mission to comfort and empower the gender-non-conforming teens of the world.

Nikola Marković (they) is a non-binary Serbian artist, researcher, and writer currently based in Vienna. They are about to start their doctoral research at London College of Fashion. Previously they graduated in Fashion under the mentorship of Hussein Chalayan and Grace Wales Bonner. Their artistic practice and research aim at disrupting the binarities/hierarchies of gender, class, ability, and subject-object dualism.