“The Bold Type” enters into NYC’s political sphere with one of Scarlet’s leading ladies deciding to run in an upcoming City Council election.
Kat Edison, the head of social media for the Cosmopolitan-inspired magazine, makes the career-altering decision to run after one of the city’s few lesbian bars shuts down to make room for a luxury business complex. What starts as Kat volunteering for a candidate’s local campaign quickly evolves into her finding her own political platform.
“We’ll see her try to navigate being in the political space while also being in the workplace and working through her recent heartbreak, so she’s going to have to juggle all of that,” says Australian actress Aisha Dee, who plays the spirited young professional with a message to spread and a platform to serve it on.
Dee says Kat’s clear viewpoint on issues impacting New Yorkers, such as affordable housing, will unfold in the coming episodes, we’ve already been exposed to the basis of her political platform. In seasons one and two, Kat’s storyline helped address immigration policy concerns under the Trump administration. In season three, she’s already led discussions about LGBTQ rights and gentrification.
“What Kat wants is what I want and hope a lot of people want: to fight for people that maybe have a little less privilege than we do,” Dee says. “Across the board, that’s what we should be doing, lifting up the people we can.”
The plunge into politics won’t exactly be an easy one for Kat. “It’s a scary place to live,” Dee says, hinting that issues from her character’s past may come into play when announcing her candidacy.
“We all know when you’re in the public eye, you have to deal with the fact that now your personal life is available to everyone, so we’re going to see her navigate being a public figure which will be very interesting,” she explains.
Kat’s own “privilege,” the actress says, will also come into play.
Though now exhilarated about the chance to bring a political plotline to the screen, Dee admits she was a bit taken aback when she initially read the script.
“I was kind of apprehensive about [it] because it just felt not real, but now that I had the chance to think about it, it makes perfect sense given who Kat is and the recent climate. We’re seeing more women and people of color in politics than ever before.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of the Bronx, served as an inspiration to Dee when crafting this new side of her character.
“When we were shooting actually was right when AOC was on the come-up, so I definitely looked to her in terms of figuring out how Kat would move in this space,” she says. “She’s such a cool example for young women and anyone who wants to get into politics. She’s the real-life, much cooler version of Kat.”
With 3.3 million Instagram followers, the political newcomer who defeated Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary last year might also help shape how Kat uses social media to reach young voters.
“We’ll see her work out the, How do you do that? What’s the best way to approach that as a form of resistance?”
On a personal level, Dee hopes the plot sparks an interest in local politics for Freeform’s younger viewers.
“The show in general, as far as I’ve experienced it, inspires people to go out and ask for what they want in a relationship or in the workplace. I hope that people watching see Kat being an activist and it inspires them to go out and volunteer or do something as basic as educating themselves and going out and voting.”