Transgender teen Nicole Maines makes her acting debut as a guest star on USA's Royal Pains tonight, June 23. Maines plays Anna, a transgender teenager and choreographer whom Hank (Mark Feuerstein) treats and discovers that some of the hormones she has been taking for her transition may be endangering her health.
"Playing Anna on Royal Pains was an incredible experience and the amount of warmth and encouragement that I received from the cast and crew was so unexpected, but welcome," Maines says. "Everyone's words were so supportive and kind and they really made me feel part of the cast immediately, and made my very first television acting experience a pleasure -- one I will remember forever."
Maines, a 17-year-old high school student, made history in January 2014 by winning a landmark transgender rights case in the state of Maine. It was the first time that a state court has ruled that trans students are allowed to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity. At the age of 13, Maines served as the keynote speaker at the 2011 GLAAD gala banquet and again in 2012. She and her family also received the Roger Baldwin Award, the Maine ACLU's highest award for civil rights advocacy.
USA Network partnered with PFLAG, the original family and ally organization uniting people who are LGBTQ with families, friends, and allies, to raise awareness about the transgender community and to provide support and resources for viewers.
"The Maines' family story has been a journey of love, education, acceptance and celebration, but initially they thought they were on this path alone. Now, as part of the extended PFLAG family, we are so proud to see Nicole step confidently into this challenging and groundbreaking role on Royal Pains," Elizabeth R. Kohm, deputy executive director of PFLAG National, said in a statement. "With the visibility of people who are transgender at an all-time high, it is more important than ever that PFLAG's support and educational resources are easy to find and readily available. We are thrilled to partner with our friends at USA Network on a public service announcement to bring that important, and potentially life-saving, information to its viewers."
This special episode of Royal Pains airs June 23 at 10/9c on USA Network. Watch the clip below: