“The Bold and The Beautiful” Introduces Trans Character
By David-Elijah Nahmod, June 18, 2015.
Viewers of popular daytime drama “The Bold and The Beautiful” were no doubt surprised by the March 2015 revelation that the character of Maya Avant, a fashion model with a colorful love life, was revealed to be transgender.
"Did you always talk like a girl?" asked Nicole, Maya's estranged sister.
"How do girls talk?" Maya asked in return.
"Why didn't you just wear the clothes?" Nicole probed further.
"Being myself isn't an outfit I can put on and take off," Maya replied. "I was never a boy. This is the way I was born."
As portrayed by actress Karla Mosley since January 2013, Maya promises to be part of the show's canvas for some time to come.
For the first year of her B&B tenure, the role of Maya was believed to be a cisgendered woman. Viewers enjoyed her often-melodramatic romantic entanglements, as well as her glamorous life as a model. But last month Maya's long-lost sister, Nicole, stumbled upon the truth about Maya's past: Maya was once known as Myron, a brother Nicole had lost track of.
"I was nervous," Mosley told Echo about her character's coming out. "It kept me up at night. I was nauseous for three weeks, because I care about this story so much. I want to represent [trans] people correctly."
Mosley said her friends had to figurativly toss her "off the ledge," so she could dive into the pool and play out this new storyline.
"I do have friends who are trans," she said. "I turned to them for advice and inspiration."
Additionally, the actress said she studied the works of feminist icons to assisted her in preparing for her portrayal of the "new" Maya.
"It's so wonderful researching this character by reading the works of modern feminist authors like Audre Lorde," she said. "And now it's exciting to see Maya living her life."
The storyline wasn't all that shocking to American viewers, who might have been prepared for it by the emergence of transgender celebrities such as Lavern Cox and Caitlyn Jenner. However, Mosley was quick to point out that “The Bold and The Beautiful” is seen in more than 100 countries, some of which do not yet have a visible trans community.
"We're seen in places where being LGBT is still illegal," Mosley said. "It'll be interesting to see the ripple effect around the world. I hope we open people's hearts."
Mosley reports that the response to Maya's outing has been 80- to 90- percent supportive.
"I tend to engage with people online," she said. "I made a point to answer people's questions. I get the best tweets!"
According to Mosley, some of her Twitter followers have told her that she's telling their story, which she said "means a lot."
Mosley realizes that some viewers might object to her being cast as Maya.
"It's controversial for me to play trans when I'm cisgender," the actress said. "I want to do justice to Maya's story."
The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekday afternoons on CBS TV.