A 13-year-old transgendered actor has been cast in a live-action show on Nickelodeon, a first for the TV channel.
The trans teen, Sasha A. Cohen, will appear on a June 19 episode of superhero comedy show “Danger Force,” which he additionally co-wrote and directed, Variety first reported.
“I want Sasha to see his own power as an actor and as a human,” actor Michael D. Cohen, who stars in the series, told the outlet. “I want him to feel proud of his work and feel real confident in himself in every aspect and to know that he will help change kids’ lives by being the first kid of trans experience on Nickelodeon in live action.”
Michael D. Cohen, who publicly revealed to Time magazine in May 2019 that he had transitioned from female to male some two decades prior, discovered Sasha A. Cohen by way of his Trans Youth Acting Challenge. The virtual program, which launched in December, sought to help trans and binary youth get a foothold in the entertainment industry. Out of 200 applications, Cohen’s was accepted to one of the class’ 15 spots.
“I had never felt comfortable about who I am, and I always thought that I would never play a transgender role,” Sasha A. Cohen, who is not related to Michael, told Variety. “But there are so many kids out there who need to see someone like them — a role model who has the ability to put themselves out there.”
Cohen’s twin sister, Natalie R. Cohen, will also appear in the June episode.
“I had SO Much fun being on the set of ‘Danger Force,’ and I’m SO excited to be able to post about it!” Natalie captioned an Instagram post of the siblings on set with co-star Terrence Little Gardenhigh. “Everybody on set was so incredibly kind and welcoming, and I just want to thank everyone for being so absolutely amazing! Ok I’ll stop talking now.”
“It has long been Nickelodeon’s mission to be a home for all kids, and to authentically represent them in their full diversity,” Paul DeBenedittis, Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of programming and content strategy, told Variety of the casting choice. “This episode of ‘Danger Force’ ultimately tells a relatable story of friendship, openness and trust, through the lens of sitcom. We’re incredibly proud of it and of everyone involved.”