Did you know Raven Baxter, the iconic and hilarious main character from Disney Channel's early '00s sitcom That's So Raven and its subsequent sequel Raven's Home, played by out actress/singer Raven-Symoné, could have been a lesbian??
The 35-year-old Raven's Home star was joined by her wife Miranda Maday during a recent appearance on the Pride podcast, and the couple (who just got hitched last year) talked to host Levi Chambers about her career so far, what it was like playing so many iconic characters from shows and movies that millennials and Gen Z grew up watching, what the married life is like, and the current state of LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream media.
When asked about the possibility of Raven Baxter, probably her most well-known character, being queer and having her sexuality portrayed on the screen, Raven revealed that before Raven's Home, an ongoing sequel series to That's So Raven, started back in 2017, folks at Disney reportedly asked her what she thought about Baxter being written as a lesbian—and how and why she turned that idea down.
"You know what, there was a conversation before the series started and I was asked the question, 'Would you like Raven Baxter to be a lesbian?' And I said, no. I said no," Raven revealed.
"The reason I said, no, wasn't because I wasn't proud of who I was, or I didn't want to represent the LGBTQ+ community in any way. It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter. There was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her. And Raven Baxter is a character that I was proud to play. Even if she is straight, cisgender, I don't mind, let her have her moment."
Raven's Home first debut back in 2017 to positive reviews and tells the story of a now grown-up Raven Baxter and her best friend Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) living together under the same roof as two divorced single moms raising their kids in Chicago.
Though it would have been so nice to have even more explicit LGBTQ+ representation on screen, especially a character so many queer people grew up watching and loving, Raven (who publicly came out IRL back in 2014) says she didn't want to change who the character was (there was never any hint of Raven Baxter being queer or being attracted to other girls in the original That's So Raven series) and that she wanted there to be a clear-cut line between her personal life and the character she plays on TV, which in all fairness is completely understandable.
"I felt like the quiet undertones of living with Chelsea was enough, you know?" she continued. "Not that that was a true statement, that was never the intention of living with my best friend, but, you know, people say stuff that is just hilarious. I didn't want to change who she was. When you really start blending your personal self with your character self, it's even harder. Like, I'm stereotyped for the rest of my life. Let's just keep it 100. You know what I mean? If you ever see me in another character, you see Raven Baxter, and that's just what the deal is. I think the one thing that differentiates me from her is now a lot more."
Listen to Raven-Symoné's full Pride podcast interview below.