CNN reported Tue January 7, 2020: Josie Totah has been cast in the lead role for the reboot of the hit sitcom, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She will play Lexi, the most popular girl at Bayside High.
BY JOSIE TOTAH AUGUST 20, 2018
Acting has always been my passion. I’m grateful for roles I’ve gotten to play on shows like Champions, and I know I’m lucky to be able to do what I love. But I also feel like I let myself be shoved into a box: “J.J. Totah, gay boy.”
When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay. On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys. Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity. Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.
In the past, I’ve halfway corrected people by telling them I identify as LGBTQ. I wasn’t ready to be more specific. I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted, that I would be embarrassed, that the fans who knew me from the time when I acted in a Disney show would be confused. But I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy. I know now, more than ever, that I’m finally ready to take this step toward becoming myself. I’m ready to be free. So, listen up y’all: You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading.
My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.
This is not something that just happened. This is not a choice that I made. When I was five, long before I understood what the word gender meant, I would always tell my mother that I wished I were a girl. Since I could speak in full sentences, I was like, “Give me a dress!” I always knew on some level that I was female. But it crystallized about three years ago when I was a 14-year-old watching the show I Am Jazz with my mother.
The docuseries was about another 14-year-old, Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl who was going through a medical transition. As I learned more information about hormone replacement therapy, I knew that this was what I had to do. I looked over at her in the middle of the show and said, “This is me. I’m transgender. And I need to go through this.” My mother, who is immensely supportive and gracious, said, “Okay, let’s do it.” Three days later I was meeting with my pediatrician, who referred me to a specialist, who put me on a hormone blocker. From that point on, I hit the ground running.
|Totah starred in the Mindy Kaling-produced comedy Champions.|