Who Is Lilli Kay? 6 Things to Know About Your Honor & Yellowstone Actress

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Lilli Kay in Your Honor

Following appearances in Yellowstone and Your Honor, fans are itching to learn more about one of those projects' biggest new stars, Lilli Kay.

Your Honor featured Kay as Sofia "Fia" Baxter in both Season 1 and Season 2 before she joined the Yellowstone cast in Season 5, making an imprint across the fandom.

In that series, she portrayed Clara Brewer (an assistant working for Kevin Costner's John Dutton).

6 Things to Know About Lilli Kay

Lilli Kay selfie
Lilli Kay

Lilli Kay Strives for Accurate LGBTQ Representation

As listed on Lilly Kay's Coverfly profile, she is a vocal member of the LGBTQIA+ community and seeks accurate and authentic on-screen queer representation.

She is naturally drawn to stories about "messy, brutal, unconventional femmes (feminine-appearing lesbian women)," wanting to showcase them as often as possible.

On top of that, she strives to see gender non-conforming women put into the spotlight on a more regular basis, putting the LGBTQIA+ community into more projects to emulate everyday life.

Lilli Kay Wants To Dive Into Music

Outside of her acting career, Lilli Kay is steadily building experience as a musician, being equally passionate about that side of the arts.

Speaking with Photobook Magazine, she expressed a desire to explore music more in her on-screen work.

When asked if there was a future role she wanted to take on, her answer was "something to do with music and music history," describing herself as "a nerd for that stuff."

Lilli Kay's Other Major Projects 

Outside of her work on Yellowstone and Your Honor, Kay has a handful of other movies and TV shows on her resume.

Some of her biggest appearances come in projects like Madam Secretary and Chambers, the latter of which saw her credited in all 10 episodes.

In her chat with Photobook Magazine, she previewed her work on her most recent project, the 2023 Netflix movie Rustin. This film centers on an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. who dedicates his life to equality, but he is also a gay man who winds up nearly erased from the civil rights movement in the history books.

That film sees Kay playing Rachelle Horowitz, a 22-year-old girl who led a team transporting thousands of people in and out of Washington over eight weeks. She later volunteered with labor, socialist, and civil rights movements in the late 1950s.

In her chat with Photobook Magazine, she shared how excited she was to see the film while praising leading man Colman Domingo in her commentary:

"I am excited about a film I’ll be in later this year called 'Rustin.' It’ll be on Netflix this fall, and it tells the story of Bayard Rustin, a far-too-little known hero of the civil rights movement (played brilliantly by the singular talented Colman Domingo). I can’t wait to see it."

Yellowstone Features Lilli Kay’s Whole Family

Yellowstone is a family affair for Lilli Kay. Her father (Stephen) is a director and executive producer on the series while her stepmother (Piper Perabo) portrays Summer Higgins, an environmental activist from Portland currently in a relationship with Kevin Costner's John Dutton.

Speaking with Deadline, Kay looked back to her dad taking her to set while he was working, telling her about the days he would spend "with horses and amazing actors:"

"My dad would brag to me about how he was spending every single day with horses and amazing actors. I was like, 'Hey, I’m a horse person! I want to come hang out!'"

She also addressed her casting in the series, admitting her family ties helped her find a place in the show's cast. She went on to call it "literally a dream come true" to work with both of her parents, remembering days when she would cry tears of joy from how much she loved the experience:

"Well, it’s a very weird thing. I’ve sort of been on the edges of it. Lucky for me, I was a fan and already had family who was working on the show. I had heard such amazing things from them. And then a part came along that I might be right for. Taylor Sheridan had seen my work. I had known him for a while and he knew that I could ride, so he threw me in the mix. My dad directs a lot of the show and EPs the show, which was a very sneaky move that I made. I’ve not been able to do jobs with my dad. It was literally a dream come true. The number of days that I came home from work crying over how amazing it was to hang out with both dad and Piper at work … I was like, ‘oh my God, this is my dream.’ It was so lame of me, but also so much fun. I grew up in LA but I worked on a ranch when I was in high school. I was a horse kid my entire life."

Kay also spoke about working with series star Kevin Costner (via Variety), noting how he is "so wonderful at his job that [she] was absolutely terrified" of him. She also spent many days in disbelief that she was working with such incredible talent:

"As nervous as I was on the first day to act with Kevin, I was equally nervous to act in front of my father. We’ve never worked together really. I hold him in such high esteem and think he’s so wonderful at his job that I was absolutely terrified. But ultimately he’s so wonderful at what he does, it was just really a gift to get to do that together. There were so many days that I just couldn’t believe that I got to do this with someone who I admire and love so much. So it was definitely nerve-wracking just because I want him to be proud of me. But other than that, it was just a total treat."

Lilli Kay Worked Through Being Starstruck on Yellowstone

Kay further reflected on her time working with Kevin Costner in her Variety interview, admitting how scary it was acting opposite him on her first day.

Having no idea "what kind of human being" people like Costner would be, she would then call him "the kindest, most generous scene partner" she could have hoped for:

"It was absolutely terrifying. I was shaking on my first day with him, because I also had no idea what he would be like. You have these people who are so massive in the history of cinema, and you’re going, 'OK, I have no idea what kind of human being this person is and how they work, what they’re like in a work environment.' He was just the kindest, most generous scene partner I could have asked for. So I got very lucky and my fear and starstruck-ness gradually melted away."

She also spoke on his generosity off-camera, noting how he "loved talking about really getting into the scenes" ahead of shooting together:

"He loved talking about really getting into the scenes before we would shoot them, which was wonderful. You don’t necessarily expect someone who is so established to be so collaborative, but he really was and he really wanted to get into everything. To me, that’s just a huge thing to learn from and to take away: Not to be afraid to have those conversations, because they make the work better and not to be intimidated by someone who’s been working longer than you have."

Lilli Kay’s LGBTQ Kiss on Yellowstone was an Accident

Lilli Kay divulged new information on Yellowstone's first-ever LGBTQ kiss on Yellowstone, which was a complete accident, as she explained to Variety.

Due to filming taking place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kay had to find somebody she could kiss who was already "in the [COVID] testing cycle." She then asked her partner if they could step in for that role, leading to it coming to fruition on screen:

"It came about kind of accidentally. I was in Montana with my partner and we were trying to figure out… It was just written [in the script] that I was making out with someone. We were going, 'Well, who can you bring in for one day who’s comfortable to make out with, who’s in the [COVID] testing cycle?' We thought about it and I said to my partner, “Is that something you’d be comfortable with?” Because the idea had been thrown out there. And they said, “Yeah, for sure,” and so it worked out that way."

She also expressed gratitude that they did not have to skirt the issue of it being an LGBTQ moment, explaining how "everybody was very loving and supporting" through the process:

"I’m really grateful that nobody was going, 'Oh well, how is this going to be? We’ve got to tiptoe… How is this going to be received?' Everybody was very loving and supportive and didn’t make a fuss about it, which I think is hopefully the direction that we’re headed in."

It also meant a lot to her to see the kiss treated without much fanfare, explaining how the kiss did not "have to come out of anywhere" since "queer people exist:"

"I remember seeing something about it where somebody wrote that, 'A lesbian kiss just came out of nowhere.' What do you mean? It doesn’t have to come out of anywhere! Queer people exist. We’re in the world and to just treat it like she’s just in the background and making out… I think that’s something good. To me, it felt nice not to have a lot of fanfare around how it was going to be received."

Lilli Kay Was Excited to Do LGBTQ+ Kiss Scene

Kay further touched on the LGBTQIA+ representation in Yellowstone with The Mary Sue, expressing her excitement to make that moment happen.

It was important to her to "normalize just people existing," reiterating how a queer kiss does not "necessarily have to come from anywhere" and does not have to have fanfare or extra commentary surrounding it:

"I was excited to do that because I think that it’s important to normalize just people existing. Because we’re all over the place and I think it’s exciting. I remember I read something where somebody was saying like, out of nowhere a gay thing and I was like, well, gay things don’t necessarily have to come from anywhere. We’re kind of just around. I think to me that is an exciting thing to have just a relaxed and not a fanfare, no comment. Just, ‘Hey, here we are.’ I think it’s kind of cool. So I was really happy and I’m happy a lot of people have had really excited reactions to it. So that’s been really gratifying."

How to Follow Lilli Kay Online

Fans looking to keep up with Lilli Kay online can do so on her Instagram page (@lilllikay).

Your Honor is streaming on Netflix and Paramount+, and Yellowstone is available for viewing on Peacock.

- In This Article: Yellowstone
Release Date
November 10, 2023
Kelly Reilly
Kevin Costner
Luke Grimes
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.