EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Bold Type’s Aisha Dee Talks Being A Part of Shows That “Push the Boundaries”

(via FreeForm)

It’s no surprise that The Bold Type has taken over as my favorite summer show. With it’s portrayal of real women and real issues, I can find a part of myself in every one of the girls: Jane and her sex life, Sutton and her personal and work hurdles, and Kat and her work status. This show reflects what’s going on in the real world and doesn’t take shortcuts or go the easy route.

So of course I jumped at the chance to chat with Aisha Dee, who plays Kat Edison, having followed her from Sweet/Vicious (RIP NVR4GET) to The Bold Type. But don’t expect Aisha to be just like Kat — she thinks her job at Scarlet would have nothing to do with social media; “I’ve been catching a lot of flack for being slow at live tweeting because I get distracted by either the show or the company I have or just reading all of the funny responses cause people are great on Twitter, so probably wouldn’t be [working in] social media.”

As for what she would actually do at Scarlet, Aisha is fine with working with something that has to do with food or music because, “Those are the two things that get me through my day, I don’t know what I would do without either of those things.”

But before Aisha was pretending to be good at social media, and even before Sweet/Vicious, Aisha was a part of a show called Chasing Life, which was about a woman battling leukemia and still trying to live her life. It’s clear that shows about strong, feminist ladies is Aisha’s niche — and we aren’t complaining.

“I’ve always been really attracted to shows and projects that push the boundaries, are unafraid and — for lack of a better word, really bold in what they want to say.” Aisha says when asked about what it mean to be a part of shows with such a powerful message, “Chasing Life was that, then Sweet/Vicious came along and it was about subject matters that I felt really strongly about. [Then] The Bold Type came up and it was saying everything I wanted to say. The character was going through things that I could identify with in such a real way that I desperately wanted to do it and the fact that they trusted me to be Kat is really special.”

Kat is Scarlet’s head of social media — who Aisha can describe using three emojis: “Definitely the red dress dancing lady, also the baby emoji cause she’s a strong woman who dances her way through life, but she’s also kind of a baby sometimes. And then the hand holding the phone. It feels right.” 

But she’s not that different from Aisha’s Sweet/Vicious character, Kennedy Cates, “They’re both in different places in their lives, but honestly, the two characters really remind me of each other.” Aisha says of the two characters, “They’re both similar in that they’re both leaders, they’re both confident and people are drawn to both of them.”

She continues with a laugh, “I’ve had people bring up the last episode of Sweet/Vicious where Kennedy is going to go work for YesGirl as an intern and people are like ‘Is YesGirl in an alternate universe Scarlet magazine and that’s where you go to work and Kennedy changes her name to Kat?’”

I don’t know about you guys, but I would love for a crossover episode or maybe like a guest appearance by Eliza Bennett (Jules Thomas) and/or Taylor Dearden (Ophelia Mayer) and for there to be some sort of nod to Sweet/Vicious.

But for as much as Kennedy is like Kat, there are some differences between the two, as Aisha points out, “For Kennedy, she was much younger than Kat, in a different place in her life. She was a little more emotionally open and available. For Kat, she was a little more scared and there was a few more walls up. She’s not the kind of girl, especially at the start of the season, to really feel her feelings or to feel confident being sad or feeling vulnerable.”

As we’ve seen in previous episodes, Kat Edison is known to be the confident, take no shit girl, but sh has trouble expressing herself when it comes to her feelings and it’s something that Aisha can relate to this, as most can, “Throughout my life, one of things I struggled with for awhile was that I would be really confident at times and I would feel really great and then I would have these moments of feeling really vulnerable or whatever the emotion was — it just didn’t feel like it was correct to me and I would really punch myself for feeling that.

I think that a lot of people experience that, so Kat to me is just a normal girl who happens to err on the side of confidence, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t everything. I think we’re all on the spectrum of being able to feel the same things — it’s what connects us, really. I love the fact that you get to see Kat kind of reaching her goals  and feeling amazing and confident in what she does, but then at the same time she’s kind of falls apart a little bit. But then she puts the pieces back together and gets back on the bike. That’s more inspiring to me than seeing someone who never breaks.”

One of the people that really throws Kat off of her game is Adena. The relationship between the two ladies has taken over the internet and the ship is sailing. But Aisha could’ve never seen it coming, “It was a surprise, honestly! I wasn’t expecting people to ship them and they have! We’re five or six episodes in now and people are so into it. It’s amazing. And in a weird way, it’s not because I think people are sort of craving representation.”

Representation is something that’s really important in both the show and in Aisha’s personal life. Especially when it comes to being an empowered and strong woman of color for her younger sister to look up to, “That’s the reason I wanted to do this in the first place; when I was growing up, it was hard to find representation, it was hard to find a movie or show where people looked like me or reminded me of me. I think there’s a natural thing to want to watch something and be able to identify with at least one of the characters.”

This need for representation obviously extends into the Kadena ship, which Aisha notes, “People are excited to see some diversity and representation. It’s a big thing and it seems like these studios and networks are finally listening to what people are saying they want to see. Everyone is just really excited to see themselves in the things that they watch — it’s a big part of the human experience and that’s something that we all deserve.”

And for those wondering what’s in store for Kat in future episodes, Aisha teases, “I think episode nine and ten is where you see that the walls are finally down and you see a slightly different version of Kat.”

The Bold Type airs Tuesday’s on Freeform.

Well versed in all things concerning pop culture and social media. I write recaps not tragedies.