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'I was so scared.' Stan's The Bold Type star Aisha Dee on her bravest moment in the public eye.

Winning the role of Kat Edison on Stan’s The Bold Type came into the life of Australian actress Aisha Dee when her self-esteem was at an all-time low.

The 27-year-old actress, who was raised on Queensland’s Gold Coast, has played the beloved Kat on all five seasons of The Bold Type. Bringing to life a character who, over the course of the series, has explored her sexuality as a queer woman, stood against racial prejudice and abuse as a biracial woman, and who has delved into storylines surrounding friendship, wealth, career, and that special time in your twenties when your life expectations tilt and your friends feel like your family.

The Bold Type was inspired by the life and career of former Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and focuses on three best friends who met while working at the fictional Scarlet magazine in New York City.

Watch: The Bold Type vs In Real Life. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Alongside Aisha's Kat, the central trio is comprised of assistant turned stylist Sutton Brady, played by Meghann Fahy, and Scarlet writer turned Vertical Editor Jane Sloan, played by Katie Stevens.

Season four of The Bold Type ended in quite a rocky fashion for Kat who, after being fired from Scarlet due to leaking information about her boss and his gay conversion activities, then embarked on a surprise romantic relationship with his daughter, Eva Rhodes (played by Alex Paxton-Beesley).

It was a relationship that came as a surprise to fans of the show, given the fact that the two had such wildly different political views and values, as Eva was a fierce Republican and Kat a proud, biracial Liberal.

Speaking to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast The Spill, Aisha said the relationship had never felt true to the character she had helped to create. So she ended up actively voicing her opinion that this particular romantic storyline didn't have a place on The Bold Type.

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Listen to this episode of The Spill's Watch Club on how The Bold Type's final season will change the TV landscape forever. Post continues below.

"It felt very out of character for Kat," Aisha told The Spill. "I think it's always really good to be presented with opinions that are different to our own, but when it came to Kat entering into a romantic relationship with someone like that, it did not ring true to me. But it also didn't feel right to just drop that story out of nowhere," she said.

"So we definitely needed to close that chapter in a way that felt right, so you'll see that happen this season. And for Kat, she's now got some people from her past coming back into her life, which is very exciting," she continued.

"I love these characters and the stories we tell so much that I really do feel an intense sense of responsibility around them. I want to tell the right story and really, Kat is who I hope to be when I grow up. Kat has inspired a lot of people to live authentically and to be their truest selves. It's never too late to do that.

"It’s actually been really beautiful over the years to connect with people who are inspired by the show. People have actually told me that they were inspired by our show to do things like ask their boss for a raise, or they were inspired by Jane to take charge of their health." 

In truth, Aisha's love for The Bold Type and the people who create it runs so deep that in late 2020 she posted a long statement to her Instagram account detailing how she had felt like an outcast growing up in Australia in the 90s due to being a biracial woman and the colour of her skin. 

In the post, she also said that The Bold Type itself needed more diverse voices behind the scenes in order to properly move forward with the stories the show wanted to tell.

In the statement, she said: "By speaking out, I’m taking a risk. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. This is not a judgment. This is a call to action. We deserve to see stories that are for us, by us." 

It was a call that was met with an outpouring of support from the show, her co-stars and fans of The Bold Type but Aisha said she was filled with fear the moment before she sent it live.

 Alex Paxton-Beesley as Eva Rhodes and Aisha Dee as Kat Edison in The Bold Type. Image: Stan.  

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"I'm Australian so I know all about Tall Poppy Syndrome, which means don't talk about yourself too much," she said on The Spill. "But in this case, it didn't feel genuine for me not to say anything."

"I also felt like it was important to bring specificity to it and be very honest about my experiences. It was very nerve-wracking, to be perfectly honest. I pressed share on that Instagram post and then I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and threw it into the ocean. I just could not engage at that point," she shared. 

"I never expected that it would have the kind of impact that it did. Honestly, it was a little bit scary for me and I kind of didn't really know what to do with it. I guess I was really nervous that people wouldn't see or understand that I'm coming from a place of pure love because I adore the show," she added.

"The real motivation behind it was that I really love the fans of the show. Maybe we don't all know each other personally, but when I can feel that a space that used to be so safe for us is starting to not feel that way it feels really important to speak up. So I didn't feel like I had much of a choice. 

"These things are systemic and it doesn't just exist in the film industry," she continued. "Historically, people with darker complexions or people who don't fit into the category of straight white cisgender people, have been treated like this. You also can't begin to fix a problem like this with an Instagram post and a phone call.

"But I think it's really encouraging that we're willing to start these conversations now. And even though they feel awkward and messy, it's really important that we force ourselves to have these conversations. That's the only way we will eventually get to a place of real change. 

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"I just hope the next generation of young actors, or even people across different industries, can take this idea and feel motivated to be brave." 

It's Aisha's desire that our screens, both in Australia and across the world, will better reflect the world we live in, with more diverse faces and voices allowed to tell their stories.

 Aisha Dee as Kat Edison, Katie Stevens as Jane Sloan and Meghann Fahy as Sutton Brady in The Bold Type. Image: Stan.  

In Australia, she explains, it can be difficult to land film or TV roles, in both local and international productions, unless you fit into one particular category. 

"Culturally, in Australia, the default is blonde hair, sun-kissed skin, and carrying a surfboard and if you don't fit into that people don't understand that you can be Australian," she said. "Australia is actually so diverse but unfortunately, I think a lot of this perception that it's not does have to do with the film industry and how Australians are portrayed as just one type of person. 

"But the Australia I see is so colourful. So I really hope people start to celebrate that in a big way, because it's one of the things that makes Australia so incredible."

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The fifth and final season of The Bold Type is currently airing on Stan and Aisha is well aware that when it comes to Kat, there are two particular questions that fans of the series want answered.

Namely, will Kat find her way back to Scarlet with Sutton and Jane and will she reunite with her former love, photographer Adena El-Amin, played by Nikohl Boosheri.

"I'm not going to ruin anything for you but I will say that this season you'll get to see Kat and Adena move into a new space," Aisha said. "A space where they're trying to see what their relationship looks like after all the drama has gone down. Looking at how they can be in each other's lives in a healthy way.

"I also won't say whether Kat is back working at Scarlet or not," she continued. "But she's definitely going to be in that space. But I won't say what the context of that will be, but she is going to be back with Jane and Sutton in the office. 

"I won't say whether she's working there or not, but she's definitely going to be the Scarlet space."

New episodes of The Bold Type premiere weekly on Stan. All episodes of seasons one to four are available to stream now on Stan. 

Feature Image: Stan.

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