Representation is important. That is a fact. 19 year old Josie Totah spoke with Variety about Saved by the Bell, it’s representation and why it was important for her to be involved on a bigger level.
It was important to the actress that there was proper representation behind the camera to help tell the complex stories in a more authentic way.
“The more we got to talking about [my] character and her storyline, specifically her gender identity, it became clear to me that if I was going to do the show, I needed to have more stake in it,” she told Variety. “If we were going to explore her gender identity, there had to be going representation behind the camera or in our writers’ room or on our producing team. And I was so grateful that Universal and Tracey Wigfield really championed me and allowed me to be a producer on this project because I didn’t feel comfortable doing a show that explored my character’s gender identity if representation didn’t exist. I didn’t feel it was right, I didn’t feel like the story would be told authentically, and I would have had to have stakes in my character’s story in order to do it.”
We completely agree with Josie. She continued, “Just getting to have a voice was super cool because our showrunner Tracey was constantly turning to not only me as a producer but also the entire cast to do a temperature check with us, to see if it felt right or if whatever we were saying or doing in the episode reflected not only our age group but also our identities, whether that was our race or our gender. We always got to have input. At one point me and my cast mate Dexter sat down with our showrunner and Matthew Cherry, who’s an incredible director and an amazing man, and we rewrote a scene sitting in the Max, right after rehearsal but before we were about to shoot it. And I think that’s a testament to how much Tracey cares about our show and wants it to reflect reality, and that was super cool.”
Saved by the Bell is airing now on Peacock.