Trans activist Josie Totah will star in the Saved By the Bell reboot
The NBCUniversal Peacock reboot of Saved By the Bell has found its most popular girl at Bayside High. Trans activist Josie Totah will play Lexi, the “sharp-tongued cheerleader” who rules the school. The Hollywood Reporter describes Totah’s character as “both admired and feared by her fellow students,” and we can’t help but liken her to Regina George, Cheryl Blossom, Sharpay Evans, etc.
Totah, who previously starred in NBC’s Champions, will share the small screen with original Bell cast members Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) and Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater). The follow-up series to the original show, which ran from 1989 to 1992 and starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the scheming heartthrob Zack Morris, will be one of the first original shows to premiere on NBC’s new streaming service, which will launch in April.
Totah came out as transgender female in a moving 2018 Time op-ed. "My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah," she wrote.
Having a transgender person cast in a lead role in a major revival is a huge step in the right direction for the LGBTQ+ community, and NBC’s doing so raises the bar for other networks in terms of diversity.
"I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play," Totah wrote for Time. "And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy." She called her coming out "a clean slate—and a new world."
Mindy Kaling, who produced Champions, shared her praise for the casting choice on Twitter.
We can’t wait to see Totah play Lexi in the Saved By the Bell reboot. This is a big win for the LGBTQ+ community, and hopefully, the kick in the pants other networks need to work toward inclusivity and equality with their casting.