After a series of cameos and guest appearances on TV, the actor, who calls legendary pop icon Cher mom, became the first transgender man to play a male role in a feature film. Filmed two years ago, "Dirty" finally premiered at Cannes this year.
Bono, who started pursuing acting professionally four years ago, has wanted to be an actor since he was a young child -- but he chose a different path, becoming a motivational speaker and authoring several books. Although the reason for his choice wasn't clear then, in hindsight, it's clear as day.
"I didn't know at the time that I was transgender, but I knew that I wasn't very commercial, and I didn't play female characters very well, so I felt like I had to find something different to do," he told AOL in an exclusive interview.
After his transition, Bono was offered guest appearances on shows like "Secret Life of an American Teenager" and "Degrassi" -- and he was bit by the bug once again. After spending four years at Anthony Meindl's Actors Workshop, Bono says he got more confident and enjoyed acting again.
"It was like all the passion I had when I was young -- it just kind of came back. It never went away, it just got buried," Bono said. "And it just became very clear to me that I need to do what I need to do in order to make this my career for the rest of my life for as long as I can do it."
See photos of Chaz Bono through the years:
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Chaz Bono arrives at the premiere of Focus Features' 'The Danish Girl' at Westwood Village Theatre on November 21, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
American pop singing duo Sonny & Cher with their daughter Chastity (later Chaz), circa 1973. Left to right: Chastity Bono, Sonny Bono (1935 - 1998) and Cher. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 1981: Singer and actress Cher, her daughter Chastity Bono (Chaz Bono) and son Elijah Blue Allman pose for a photo session in June 1981 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 09: Chaz Bono arrives to the 2009 Outfest Opening Night Gala: 'LA Mission' held at The Orpheum Theatre on July 9, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Singer and actress Cher, poses with her son Chaz Bono after she was immortalized at her hand and footprint ceremony outside the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on November 18, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 11: Chaz Bono, gets a fist bump from Late Show host David Letterman after discussing manly behavior during Wednesday's 5/11/11 taping in New York. (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images)
NIGHTLINE - Cynthia McFadden spends the day with Chaz Bono, who recently completed gender reassignment surgery, and his girlfriend of many years, Jennifer Elia, for ABC News NIGHTLINE airing MONDAY, MAY 9 (11:35pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images)CHAZ BONO, CYNTHIA MCFADDEN
DANCING WITH THE STARS - Rehearsals - Chaz Bono is an LGBT rights advocate, three time author, speaker and the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher. He teams up with Lacey Schwimmer, who is back for her 5th season. A dynamic lineup of stars will take the stage performing either the Cha Cha Cha or The Viennese Waltz for the two-hour season premiere of 'Dancing with the Stars,' MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Rick Rowell / ABC via Getty Images)
CHAZ BONO, LACEY SCHWIMMER
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 1301' - A dynamic lineup of stars took the stage performing either the Cha Cha Cha or The Viennese Waltz for the two-hour season premiere of 'Dancing with the Stars,' MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images)LACEY SCHWIMMER, CHAZ BONO
MIAMI BEACH, FL - APRIL 15: Chaz Bono attends the 4th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade on April 15, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Troy Rizzo/WireImage)
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER - 'To Each Her Own' - Amy buys a thrift store wedding dress and is the only one who likes it, while Anne discovers that her ex, David, might be the biological father of Robie. An all-day marathon of 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' will air on Monday, March 18 from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM ET/PT, leading into the premiere of the final season, starting at 8:00 PM ET/PT. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC Family via Getty Images)
CHAZ BONO, MARK DERWIN, JOSIE BISSETT
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 04: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE; TABLOIDS OUT; EDITORS NOTE: This image has been retouched) Chaz Bono is seen during an at home photo shoot November 4, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/CB/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 28: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE; TABLOIDS OUT) Chaz Bono is seen during a portrait session August 28, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/CB/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Chaz Bono performs at Les Girls 15 at the Avalon on October 11, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JULY 28: Chaz Bono (L) and Mario Lopez visit 'Extra' at Universal Studios Hollywood on July 28, 2015 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
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Despite being Cher's son, it hasn't be easy. In addition to the "whole nepotism thing," Bono has also turned down transgender roles to avoid being typecast like what he's seen with many transgender actresses.
"It's like ... if you're known for doing stuff that isn't acting, it's hard for people to see you as that or really anything and take you seriously. Even if you are trained in it," he said. "This year has been the first time that I've been paid to act and things are just starting to seem like they're turning a bit of corner."
While his mother's connections might not be a huge help, being around her strong work ethic definitely is. Bono "really clearly" recalls Cher's transition from pop star to actress and the challenges of breaking into a new business.
"It's been really helpful to have gone through that with her and seen how she perservered and was extremely successful. And I can talk to her about it when I have those days of something not going my way. She's great because she can always one-up me."
Although Cher has arguably seen it all in her decades-long career, she's still her son's No. 1 fan. And even she recognizes the major "turning point" underway in Bono's career.
"She was with me when I was doing it when I was younger, and she's seen everything I've done. I'll always remember when she saw the clip for 'Dirty' and it was like she got it. She's really amazingly supportive of me doing this," Bono said.
Watch the clip below!
"Dirty" is being release nationwide July 12th on TV/VOD and all major digital platforms.