Интернет-магазин DONTA

Baby Reindeer’s Nava Mau closely related to her character Teri’s story

Baby Reindeer's Nava Mau closely related to her character Teri's story

She “deeply” understood her character's story, and hopes the show will interrupt cycles of violence and silence.

Netflix sensation Baby Reindeer has hit us hard.

A true-life adaptation of comedian Richard Gadd's own experiences and one-man stage show, the series may depict the relationship between a young man, Donny, and his female stalker Martha (played by Jessica Gunning) on the surface, but it also skilfully explores the wider, devastating impacts of trauma and abuse.

Filmmaker, director and actor Nava Mau plays Teri, a trans woman who Donny falls in love with, sadly subsequently subjecting her to the shame that he feels around his sexuality.

Her performance is one of powerhouse proportions, and the response to Baby Reindeer has left her feeling overwhelmed and humbled. “It really means a lot to me that people are not afraid of the conversations that this show explores,” she says.

Nava sat down with GLAMOUR to talk about navigating other people's shame as a trans woman, her hopes that the show will help to dismantle the patriarchy, as well as her work with queer survivors of abuse and how that helped her “manifest” the role of Teri.

Baby Reindeer's Nava Mau closely related to her character Teri's story

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What drew you to Baby Reindeer and playing Teri? What felt true and different about it to you?

Teri has always felt like she was entitled to her feelings, her needs. She does not shy away from her own power – and for trans women, and especially trans Latina women, it's rare to see a character depicted on screen that is entitled to her own power.

Cardi B has even posted about Baby Reindeer! How has the response to the show felt to you?

Well, first of all, shout out to Cardi B, the people's princess! I cannot believe that so many people are watching. And it brings me so much joy. I said to Richard [Gadd], ‘This story will reach all the people that it needs to reach’. And I guess that it needed to reach a lot of people.

You’ve spoken about the importance of showing that “trans women exist in real life and in relationships with other people” – what do you hope is the impact of this visibility and representation in Baby Reindeer?

Well, I hope that people who may have been ignorant, judgmental, or hateful when it comes to trans people – and especially the notion of trans people being an intimate relationship with cis people – I hope that they realise that we’re just human, first and foremost.

We want love, we have friends, we have careers, we have dreams, we have fully developed personalities and we are not just a headline, we're not just a punch line. We are not on this planet to be the scapegoat of so many people's hateful rhetoric. So, I hope that Teri and the depiction of her relationship with Donny encourages people to feel greater compassion towards trans people and to consider the ways that we can all treat each other better.

Baby Reindeer's Nava Mau closely related to her character Teri's story

Cole Ferguson

In your work in Baby Reindeer and HBO's Generation, you’re telling multi-faceted stories of queer people – how does it feel to be amplifying these voices and how important is that to you as you’re choosing or accepting roles?

I only ever want to perform a character that I feel connected to in my heart, and I have to let that lead me. So if that means that, I actually don't work that often, and this is the end of the story for for my acting career, then I will have done enough, because I've done what my heart needed to do. If that has created a sense of representation of queer characters, that are nuanced and genuine, then I feel like it's it's really because it comes from the heart.

You’ve said before that you see yourself in Teri – would you mind telling me a bit more about that?

I had to work pretty hard to find the differentiating line between me and Teri. I related to her so much, and I deeply understood the dynamic between her and Donny, it was very familiar to me, from my own life, and from the people I know.

Have you experienced people you’ve dated not being their true selves due to shame, in the same way as Donny?

Absolutely. I would love to hear a trans woman's life story that does not include brushes with other people's shame. In our day and age, a huge part of daily life for a lot of trans people is having to contend with other people's shame and judgement. So it's almost a second language, you know – I speak that fluently.

You made a short film (Waking Hour) about the challenges of dating as a trans woman – what do you hope changes for younger generations of trans people looking for love?

Ultimately, I hope that new message for future generations is that trans people are not dangerous, and there's nothing to fear. When it comes to dating, we'll be able to build relationships – however fleeting they may be – from a place of understanding, openness and consent.

In our day and age, a huge part of daily life for a lot of trans people is having to contend with other people's shame and judgement.

You do a lot of your own activism and support work for trans and queer survivors of abuse, how did that tie in with your performance and understanding of Baby Reindeer?

I mean, that is called deep alignment. I could not have dreamt of this role. What I did ask for out loud… I remember I was sitting on my couch at the beginning of 2022 and I said ‘I want to go work in London for six months on a role’. I said that out loud. And by the end of 2022. I was [doing it].

Did you manifest Baby Reindeer?!

I manifested Terry in my life. I think that the opportunity met me on my own path. You have to already be moving towards the opportunity in order to meet it. And so my path has been working with survivors. My path has been that I was a counsellor. My path has been that I do work in film and television that confronts the the topics of violence and intimacy. And so it just made total sense. I didn't even skip a beat. I knew exactly what it was and what to do with it.

What perspectives do you hope are altered or challenged by this show?

I think that this show has the potential to serve as something that interrupts the cycle of shame and silence. Men are survivors of violence, too, men have trauma too – I think that something that the show starts to explore is is the way that cycles of violence come out of that.

It's time for men to break down the walls of shame and silence that have been built to sustain the patriarchy. I am here for the empowerment of women and trans people and non binary people. And I also know that men are part of our world. And we can't leave men behind.

Baby Reindeer's Nava Mau closely related to her character Teri's story

Your character experiences a racist and transphobic attack on screen – how did it feel to film, and how important was it to you that it was portrayed on screen?

Filming the attack on Teri was what I was most nervous about, I was most concerned that I would not be able to pull it off.

It was such a blessing that I met Jess [Gunning, who plays Martha], for the first time when we were doing our stunt training. And she was the most lovely person you could ever meet. [While filming the fight scene] she kept me cracking up. Non stop. Those three days that we filmed that fight, I was cracking up in between takes.

Did filming it trigger any experiences of your own?

I think physically, absolutely. I had physical recall in my muscle memory from when I've been attacked like that.

You’ve said before that it’s empowering to create your own roles in the industry when it doesn’t make space for trans actors – can you tell me a little more about that? How do you hope things might change?

Right now, the industry seems to be afraid of taking risks. I asked my manager, ‘are there any trans specific roles that are in the pipeline coming up, in the next few weeks, months?’ and he said, ‘no’. The answer is simply no. So that is very sobering and confirms what a lot of us are feeling, which is a lack of opportunity.

We have seen time and time again that trans people on screen can be superheroes, can be the love interest, can be the villain, can be hilarious and comforting. The entire spectrum of what is possible on screen is also possible for trans people. So I don't know what people are afraid of, to be honest.

The entire spectrum of what is possible on screen is also possible for trans people.

Was there an empowering element to filming Baby Reindeer?

I felt empowered in pulling off the fight scene… I think I conquered a lot of fears in this performance. There was some some high heights and some deep depths that I had to go to, and I went to all of them – and I couldn't be more proud of that.

You’ve spoken before about running from performing and transitioning, but that now you’re owning your own power – what helped you reach that point?

I have been blessed in my life to have been guided, supported, and simply held in times of great need by incredible women and amazing, queer and trans people who gave me the inkling of hope to believe that I could become who I want it to be, even if I didn't really know that was.

I needed people to tell me that so much, in a world that tells you the opposite, as a trans person, as a queer person, as a woman as a Latina. In a world that tells me that that I should stay small, that that I should say ‘well, this is it, this is enough’, I really, really, really needed people to push me. So it's it's really thanks to those educators, healers and mothers that I am who I am today.

This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.

Baby Reindeer is available to watch on Netflix now.