The Bold Type’s Aisha Dee Talks Kat’s Bisexuality and Custom-Made Strap-On


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[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday’s episode of The Bold Type. Read at your own risk!]

Over the past four seasons of The Bold Type, Kat’s (Aisha Dee) journey to discover her own sexuality has taken many turns, but none of them were as shocking as her decision to sleep with a very cute, very male bartender in last week’s episode. Sexuality isn’t simple, and The Bold Type had no interest in treating Kat’s like it was in Thursday’s new episode, which actually ended up giving her a very intriguing story this week.

Initially, Kat decided that she was simply looking for a physical relationship, but had trouble keeping her heart out of the way when it came to dating women. Men, on the other hand, she’d never had an intimate, emotional connection with, despite having good sex with them, which seemed like the perfect solution for her current predicament. Things became a little more intense when that cute bartender asked Kat if she’d be interested in pegging him, but who doesn’t want to experiment with strap-ons right?

After the fun and games though, what could have been a simple struggle with finding a bisexual label that felt right to her ended up becoming a much more complicated, and yet much more rewarding journey for Kat to discover how to be vulnerable with anyone regardless of gender. TV Guide spoke to Aisha Dee about creating this emotional arc for Kat and trying to understand the complex relationship she has with labels.

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Most important question… Did you actually get to wear a strap-on for this episode?
Aisha Dee:
Yes! They actually made it special for me, the costume department, because it was kind of tricky to figure out like how do we show a strap-on given we’re not really able to show too much on the show, on network television. I think we have talked about making it where, yes, it was about like the physical thing, but also kind of seeing how Kat was exploring the fact that sex can be physical — but it can also be really spiritual and it’s a connection to a person. It’s about seeing Kat’s walls come down a little bit in the vulnerability of that. So we kind of needed to figure out a way to make that work in the scene and how we wanted to shoot it. The costume department made this really cool, custom-made strap-on that had these kind of halter things. I actually thought it was really f—ing awesome… It was a funny thing to walk into my trailer to find my costume with like a strap-on that I was supposed to put on underneath it.

Seems like one of those things you just never thought you’d ever wear for work.
Dee: No! This show is always throwing me curveballs. I’ve never had a normal day on set, to be completely honest.

What was your initial reaction when you first found out that Kat was going to be exploring what her queer identity was and venturing into bisexuality?
Dee:
I think it’s actually a really universal thing to struggle with that for a while. I don’t know, I think some people are really clear about how they feel and how they see themselves. And then for other people like Kat, who maybe take a little longer to discover themselves, I think it makes sense that it’s taken her a little while to put a label on it because I think it’s taken her a while to figure out exactly how she feels. I actually really love that she took the time to do that and kind of play around with some other labels along the way. And in some future episodes, I think we’re going to see Kat explore that a little bit further with Oliver too, which I really love. I’m always asking for more scenes with Oliver because I think it’s a beautiful thing for Kat to have a mentor.

Aisha Dee, <em>The Bold Type</em>Aisha Dee, The Bold Type

Where you at all nervous tackling this really important LGBTQ discussion, especially considering so many young, queer people watch the show?
Dee: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m always trying to do my research and trying to make sure that we’re telling the right story in the best possible way. Obviously, I’m just a piece of the puzzle. I don’t get to make all the decisions, otherwise I would wear sneakers in every single scene no matter what. Never be caught in a pair of heels [laughs]. But yeah, it was super important to me and very scary. I really care about the community of people that watch the show, especially just given the reaction that I get, like walking around in the world, when people come up to me and say that Kat inspired them to come out or Kat inspire them to tell the person they love that they’re in love with them. You know, it’s really, really cool to get to see that and how it kind of influenced people in the real world. So I don’t take that responsibility lightly and it is super, super nerve wracking. I honestly have thought about it a lot in the last few weeks, and I’m trying to navigate it a little bit, but I really hope people like it. And I hope that people see that Kat’s not perfect. She kind of a bit messy like all of us.

What sort of conversations you have behind the scenes about the goals you had for this episode and the message that you wanted to convey?
Dee:
At the end of the day, it’s about exploring Kat’s relationship with intimacy in general. It’s not really about specific people to me. I think it’s just about seeing where she’s at emotionally and kind of figuring out how to get her to take her walls down because they’ve been up for so long. I think, really, the most important thing to me is getting see her have a spiritual connection or some kind of connection with someone. Maybe yeah, she’s just having sex with them, but it also means more than that.

What do you think Kat has learned about herself now that she’s started to dig a little deeper into who she’s attracted to and why?
Dee:
I think that she learned how to connect with herself and really be her own best friend. Because I think we saw her really look to Adena to find validation in that. And then after that, we saw her look for it in Tia and look for it in her work. I think now we’re going to get to see her kind of look for her own confidence that comes from deep within instead of always looking for it in outside validation. And I think that for anyone, that’s really something you need in order to connect with someone else and love someone else. You have to love yourself first.

Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, and Katie Stevens, <em>The Bold Type</em>Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, and Katie Stevens, The Bold Type

And how important was it to have Jane (Katie Stevens) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) validate her regardless of which label she chose?
Dee:
I think it’s really inspiring to get see a coming out story that is like Kat’s because it happens a little bit later in life, and I think it also shows us that it’s not really a journey that is one that ever finishes. It’s not something that’s like, OK, I figured it out! I slept with this person, and now I know exactly who I am.” I think it’s something that you’re constantly discovering and rediscovering, and I love that she has her friends’ support through all of that.

Are we going to get to see Kat continue to explore romantic entanglements with men and women in the future?
Dee:
Yeah! I’m trying to think what else coming up in the season because honestly we’re doing Episode 16 right now. There’s going to be a lot in store for Kat. She’s going to explore some other stuff with a lot of different kinds of people, and she’s also going to be doing a lot of more soul searching.

The Bold Type airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Freeform

Meghann Fahy, Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, <em>The Bold Type</em>Meghann Fahy, Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, The Bold Type

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