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"The director is shouting at me ‘rock side to side!’”: How The Bold Type's sex scenes are really made.

Katie Stevens is well aware that her job is a little weird.

The 27-year-old actress is now in her fourth season of portraying journalist Jane Sloan on The Bold Type, a role that sees her do everything from filming comedic shower-sex scenes to debating white privilege and women’s fertility alongside two other actresses who now feel like family.

The Bold Type, which was inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan Editor-In-Chief Joanna Coles, follows three 20-something women who work at the glossy Scarlet magazine in New York City.

In the series, Australian actress Aisha Dee portrays social media director, Kat, while Meghann Fahy plays fashion assistant turned fashion influencer, Sutton Brady.

Thanks to the show’s glossy veneer, somewhat unattainable fashion and swoon-worthy love stories, The Bold Type was initially typecasted as a bit of TV froth, but all that changed when the series pivoted to more realistically reflect women’s lives, merging the light with the dark.

Speaking to Mamamia‘s daily entertainment podcast The Spill, Katie Stevens said that while the onscreen presence of The Bold Type is very much an explosion of colour, behind the scenes it’s all about the grey.

The Bold Type came as a surprise to all of us, because when we first read the script it was just fun and we were all drawn to how it spoke on female friendships in a different way to how we’ve all been groomed to think,” she said. “But it all changed when we started talking about what it was like to be a woman in this era, to be a woman of colour or a queer person. Now we’re able to tell stories that are nuanced and show a grey area.

“I have never pushed back on a storyline, but I have definitely felt nervous about some of the storylines on the show. Especially in this day and age, because you never want to tell a story that will alienate anyone.”

Listen to the Bold Type actress Katie Stevens talk about sex scenes, sisterhood and controversial storylines on The Spill, post continues.

In an interesting twist of fate, two of the storylines Katie was initially most apprehensive about filming both took place in the show’s second season and have gone on to have the most lasting effect on fans.

In Stride of Pride, Jane is frustrated after being passed over for a plum role at a magazine because she adds no diversity to the team. In Betsy, she throws down with roommate, Sutton, over Sutton’s right to own and keep a gun in their apartment.

“I was especially sensitive to the gun episode,” Katie told The Spill. “In that episode, Jane is so judgmental and set in her thoughts about it all. We’re also living in a time where everyone feels like they now need to have their opinion heard, especially around the issue of gun control, where it’s easy for people to become emotional.

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“I thought it was really great that we were showcasing the grey area of that issue, that there are people out there who own guns who are responsible, but that doesn’t mean everyone should have one.

“That’s what The Bold Type does really well. In the episode on privilege, where Kat talks to Jane about her white privilege, it’s an episode that has really sparked conversations between people. We have fans who message us all the time and say ‘I hit pause during this episode so my friends and I could have a conversation about it’.”

For Katie, who married musician Paul DiGiovanni in 2019, filming the show’s sex scenes has been a particularly memorable experience and one that takes a lot more work behind the scenes than viewers watching at home would ever guess.

“What’s been really interesting is that along with Jane’s journey of becoming more comfortable with her sexuality and me having to film those scenes is that it has done that for me as well,” she said. “I’m not a person who leads with my sexuality in my own life. I am a sexual person, but I keep that between me and my partner. So to have to strip down and be intimate with (co-star) Dan (Jeannotte), someone who is not my husband, it’s a jarring experience.

“I have to be in nipple pasties and teeny tiny nude thongs in front of cameramen and the guy holding the microphone. There are so many people on set.

“But Dan Jeannotte is the loveliest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He has always been a person who has wanted to protect me so deeply in these situations. Every time we’ve started filming a sex scene he says ‘let me know if you want to stop’ or ‘let me know if your nipple covers are coming off’.

“I remember vividly the scene where Jane has her first orgasm and that was the first intimate scene Dan and I had ever filmed together. It was also the first sex scene I had ever filmed in my career. Dan was on top of me in that scene and when they called ‘cut’ he looked down at me and said, ‘I won’t get up from you until someone brings you a robe, so that you’re covered.’

“I’m lucky to have a scene partner to protect me.”

Katie Stevens as Jane Sloan and Dan Jeannotte as Ryan Decker in The Bold Type. Source: Stan.
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Along with co-star Dan Jeannotte, Katie said the show's trio of leading ladies has also formed a close bond over the years while filming on location in Montréal, which stands in for New York in the series.

"Every day on set for The Bold Type is different, it just depends on what we are shooting that day," she said. "One of us could be shooting something really emotional and in that case, the other two need to be there for that person and ask them what they need.

"But mostly when we’re on set, Aisha has always got a new album for us to listen to and she’s playing music and we just have so much fun with each other. We decide what we’re going to order for lunch together every day and we eat at lunch at the same restaurant in Montreal pretty much every day, they should really just sponsor the show.

"What’s so great about our dynamic is that we can look at each other and say ‘hey, I’m having a bad day'. We’ve developed a real sisterhood.

"Sometimes we’ll bicker with each other and get on each other's nerves but at the end of the day, we’re a family. The experience of what we’ve gone through with this show is something only the three of us will ever be able to understand and connect with each other on.

"At the end of the day, we can get through anything."

The Bold Type is available to watch now on Stan, new episodes premiere weekly, the same day as the US. All previous episodes of seasons one to three are available to stream now on Stan.

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