On October 14, The CW hosted an event for the launch of its new fall season, which also showcased Shethority, an online collective that provides a positive space for all women to discuss the unique challenges of the female experience in today’s world, and debuted the #CWOpenToAll initiative that reinforces the network’s commitment to inclusion and representation.
Collider was invited to hang out on the red carpet to chat with the arriving talent, where we got a few minutes to get some scoops from Nicole Maines, who is playing Nia Nal, a.k.a. Dreamer, on Season 4 of Supergirl. During the interview, she talked about her reaction to finding out that she’d gotten the role, having to pinch herself to make sure that it’s all real, the importance of introducing the world to the first transgender superhero, what she was most excited and most scared about, what she hopes people get from seeing this character, how cool it is to have a superhero suit, and what it’s like to work with Melissa Benoist, a.k.a. Supergirl.
Collider: What was it like to get this phone call and find out that you’d be playing this role on Supergirl?
NICOLE MAINES: I had been shooting a movie, and we had just done a very, very late night shoot ‘cause it was a vampire movie, so I was sleeping. All of my agents were on a conference call, and they called me and said, “You got the part!” And I was like, “What?! Oh, wow! Okay.” They had to tell me three times before I was really like, “Oh, I got that part!” And then, I went back to sleep.
What’s the experience of actually being on set like?
MAINES: Oh, my gosh, I have to pinch myself, every day that I’m on set. I can’t believe that I get to do this with so many lovely people, and they’re all so friendly, welcoming, talented and professional. It is an amazing environment to get to bring this character to life in.
What were you most excited about and what were you most scared about, when it came to playing Nia Nal?
MAINES: I was most excited and scared about introducing this character to everybody and giving people the first trans superhero. It’s exciting because she’s the superhero that we need right now, and it’s scary because she’s the first. We want to do it right, and we want everyone to love her as much as we do. We’ve been working really, really, really hard – (co-showrunners) Robert [Rovner] and Jessica [Queller], everyone in the writers’ room, and myself – to try to make Nia the best that she can be while still being a relatable, flawed, three-dimensional character.
What do you hope people can take from seeing this character on this show?
MAINES: I really hope that people watching are going to see the humanity in Nia, and they’re going to see normalcy brought to trans representation on television. I hope they’re going to realize that this whole trans thing is not a huge deal. It’s not the biggest part of a trans person’s life. It is one facet of their identity, but it’s one lens of many to look at issues and experiences that we go through. I just really hope that people learn to love a trans superhero.
How do you think the younger you would have reacted to seeing a character like this?
MAINES: The younger me would have had a billion and one questions about what it’s like to be an actor and what it’s like to be a superhero. She’d wanna know all about the suit, and she’d wanna know about the shoes and the hair and everything.
What’s it like to get a suit, and are you hoping to see people dressed up as the character for Halloween?
MAINES: It’s a dream come true! I’d want to be Dreamer for Halloween. She’s amazing! The suit is beautiful. I’m bias, but I think I have the best suit.
What’s it like to work with Melissa Benoist?
MAINES: She is so warm, friendly, funny, and just so amazing. She sets the tone for everybody else in the cast and crew. It’s hard to have a bad day on set with someone like Melissa walking around. She’s just a ball of sunshine. She’s always polite and always nice. I have so many scenes with her, and I absolutely adore her. I’m very, very lucky to get to call her a friend.
Well, now that we have the first trans superhero, I think we need to make the first trans superhero action figure happen.
MAINES: Me too! I’m right there with you!
Supergirl airs on Sunday nights on The CW.