Interview: Nicole Maines Talks ‘Supergirl’ and Trans Representation – Exclusive
Nicole Maines has become one of the biggest breakout stars of the hit CW series Supergirl. Starring as Nia Nal aka “Dreamer”, Nicole has become a symbol of hope and representation within the LGBTQ+ community as television’s first transgender superhero.
We spoke with Nicole about what’s ahead for Nia’s character in the upcoming episodes of Supergirl and how it feels to be an inspiration to her audience.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Nicole Maines below:
What would you say initially motivated you to pursue acting as a career? Was there anyone who influenced or inspired you?
For me, my love of acting grew from my love of dress up as a little kid. Playing dress-up was one of the few times that I got to wear clothes that I felt comfortable in and portray characters that I identified with. I think my parents let me do that because they could kind of shrug it off as “Oh he’s just playing dress up, you know. This isn’t indicative of something larger.” And so growing up I think I thought that acting; well I still think that acting is dress up for adults. We are a bunch of adult children playing dress up and running around with capes pretending to fly and I think that that is absolutely magical.
Can you tell us a little about your character Nia on Supergirl and what viewers can expect from them?
So Nia Nal is Kara Danvers’ protégé and similarly Dreamer is Supergirl’s protégé. She was introduced at the beginning of season four as kind of a throwback to car season one and to give Supergirl an opportunity to be the mentor at CatCo and on the battlefield. And since her introduction at the beginning of last season up until now going into the end of season five has totally transformed as a character. She has gone from a kind of timid, clumsy, and eager to please cub reporter to a fully realized confident superhero with her own set of skills in her own powers and she has just completely become a force of nature. She is the embodiment of courage truth and puns.
Your character is a symbol of hope and representation as TV’s first transgender superhero. Can you talk a little about what attracted you to this role and why it was important to you?
I mean who doesn’t want to be a superhero? That alone is enough to get my attention, but also that she’s bringing this kind of representation to the trans community just got me so excited for the character. I would have been excited to see a trans superhero anyway, because that’s not a lens that trans people had gotten to see themselves through before, but to have the opportunity to get to put on the suit myself and to BE that superhero was the chance of a lifetime! And affirming on a billion different levels.
How does it feel for you to be an inspiration to so many others that may be watching and reading?
I mean all I can say is that I hope that people watching are getting as much out of Dreamer as I am. It’s been so uplifting for me to get to watch Nia come into her own as a superhero, so I’m so happy that other people have been inspired by that journey as well.
Can you talk a little about Nia’s superpowers and how it’s been for you to play a superhero? Do you have to do anything special to prepare for your role?
Nia has the power to see into the future in her dreams. She also has special gauntlets that were made for her by Brainiac-5 that channel the Dream Energy into blasts and shields and lassoes. So just getting to play around with all of that has been so fun. Getting to feel out how to shoot energy blasts is never something that I thought I’d be doing in my day to day life. Then of course there’s finding the Superhero Strut. That’s an art form all by itself!
New episodes of Supergirl are currently airing on The CW. Can you tease a little about what viewers can expect from the upcoming episodes and what’s ahead for Nia this season?
So going into the tail end of season 5, we’re going to start seeing Dreamer’s visions play a bigger role. They’re going to have larger consequences, and it’s going to be harder for Nia to separate what is prophetic and what is her subconscious messing with her, and whether or not she wants to let that in or if she’s going to fall back into her old habit of suppressing her powers.
What are your hopes for Nia’s character moving forward? Where would you like to see her storyline progress?
I would love to see us delve deeper into Nia’s Naltorian heritage, and to explore the lore of Naltor more. We’ve teased a couple of things here and there like that it’s a matriarchy and that the Dreaming is passed down from mother to daughter, but not much else outside of that. We know that Nia’s grandmother was like the Supergirl of their planet, so I want to know more about that!
What else are you working on? What can your fans look forward to from you next?
Well, right now, I’m not working on a dang thing! The whole business is kind of on pause while we’re all quarantined. So fans can expect more messages about social distancing from me! It’s unclear how it will be affected by the outbreak but I do have a movie, Bit, about a group of intersectional teenage vampires, that was supposed to be released soon, so hopefully that’s something that folks will be able to look forward to in the coming months. Did I mention the social distancing? It’s important, folks!
Thank you so much to Nicole Maines for taking the time to answer some questions for us!
Be sure to check out Supergirl currently airing on the CW.