Peacock’s Saved By the Bell reboot star Josie Totah virtually sat down with GLAAD head of talent Anthony Ramos to talk about her role on the reboot of the classic teen sitcom, the importance of trans representation, and one person who helped inspire her.
In the interview, Totah said she felt alone as a trans person for most of her life. “For so much of my life I had never met another trans person, up until this past year,” she told Ramos. That’s why trans representation, like her character Lexi, is so important to her.
”I had no idea what anyone else’s experience was like,” she said. “I felt so alone, because I didn’t know anyone, because I thought something might have been wrong with me.” The experience isn't Totah's alone and she doesn't want any one else to have to experience that. And more importantly, she wants to make sure that trans people get to see positive trans stories onscreen.
“Much of the time when it comes to trans representation it’s told through the lense of trans struggle or portraying trans characters in a negative light,” she said. “So getting the opportunity to play a character and get to help develop a character that was so much more than that one part of her… is such an amazing opportunity and so cool.” She added that having trans people in her life be excited for her role “means everything to me.”
Totah said that through playing trans characters on TV, she hopes “we normalize acceptance of the trans community in our everyday lives.” She also wants to “let people know that they’re not alone, that there are people like them, that you can live a healthy happy successful life and still be your true self.”
The actress brought up the importance of positive trans representation, and mentioned one very visible trans person who helped inspire her. “I know that I Am Jazz, the show, was very important to you in your journey,” Ramos said, referring to teen trans activist Jazz Jenning's reality show.
“I love her so so much,” Totah replied, “and she’s such an inspiration to me and such an incredible human being and I’m so grateful that I have a relationship with her.”
You can watch Totah as Lexi when the new Saved By the Bell premieres on Peacock on November 25.