The Bold and the Beautiful has made worldwide headlines with its introduction of the first front burner transgender storyline, leaving millions of viewers with the privilege of watching a beautiful non-traditional romance form between Maya (Karla Mosley) and Rick (Jacob Young). The journey hasn't come without bumps and drama, and Scott Turner Schofield, who plays Maya's best friend, Nick, tells Soap Central that the true drama has only just begun. So just what is in store for Maya as more and more people realize she's transgender and in a relationship with one of Forrester Creations' biggest names? And where will Nick fit into the story now that his friend's secret has been revealed? Soap Central spoke with Schofield to find out.
soapcentral.com: Well, first of all, congratulations on your B&B role and welcome to the crazy and exciting world of soap operas!
Scott Turner Schofield: I love it so much, thank you.
soapcentral.com: You've been on the canvas now for a couple of weeks, since Nick debuted on May 8. What have responses from your friends, family, and fans been like so far?
Schofield: Really positive. I've been really kind of overwhelmed. When this all started, I put up a wall in myself a little bit, thinking, "Oh man, now all of the crazies are going to come out and say mean things about me being transgender," and I haven't had that happen even once. So that's been great.
soapcentral.com: I was definitely going to ask you if you were hesitant about the possible negative reactions before you decided to take on the role. And honestly, from our end, it seems like most of the reactions have been positive, which is a beautiful thing to see.
Schofield: I agree. It seems that way from my side, too. I would never let [possible negative reactions] stop me, though; I wanted to do this because of that reason. My purpose in life is to help dispel negativity around transgender stuff. But you know, I did have to think, "Okay, how am I going to take care of myself if this happens?" And I haven't needed to, and I'm so grateful that's where we are as a society, and I think it has everything to do with how this is being done on The Bold and the Beautiful.
soapcentral.com: The show did extensive research in preparing to tell this story and has been doing it throughout. Has the show's executive producer, Bradley Bell, talked with you about your experiences and your knowledge of the issues?
Schofield: No, and I'm so happy to hear that that's true! I met Bradley Bell on my first day of work, and he said, "If there's anything in any of the scripts that doesn't sit well with you, that is not right or correct, if it makes you uncomfortable, please let someone know, and we will set about fixing it." And I sat down with these scripts -- and I happen to be someone who watches media and has a critical eye for media around transgender stuff, I'm always the guy on social media complaining about this or that [laughs], so I really do have a very critical eye -- and I read these things, going, "Thank God this is being put out there." I am so happy that this is being done this way. They've just done a phenomenal job, and I would have loved to have been involved in the process, but I didn't have to be, and that is a gift in itself.
soapcentral.com: Have any fans reached out to you directly, on Twitter or anything like that?
Schofield: Oh, yeah. Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with fans who are enjoying it. I had one slightly negative interaction with one fan out of hundreds, and all it was is they had a different opinion and said something in a very insensitive way. But it wasn't hatred or anything like that.
soapcentral.com: What a blessing. I'm happy to hear it's been positively received all around.
Schofield: Me, too. I'm sitting here going, "Is everybody just being nice to my face?!" So I'm really happy to hear that on your side of it, too, it's positive.
soapcentral.com: Were you able to find your rhythm for Nick pretty quickly?
Schofield: I was. I felt like I knew who Nick was very quickly and who Nick is very quickly. I'm just very excited to get to know him better. I hope he stays around for a while. It would be really wonderful to flesh out another transgender character on the show and let him have his own world within Forrester Creations.
soapcentral.com: Nick has been pretty instrumental in clarifying certain points throughout the story and being someone who really understands what Maya is going through. Now that the truth is out -- Rick knows, everybody knows -- where do you see Nick fitting in on the canvas?
Schofield: Well you know, Maya is going to have to go through a lot more. They say it takes ten years for your world to settle down after you come out. And I actually have been out now for a little over ten years now as a transgender, and I thought, "Oh, wow, that's actually true." It's really true. Now it's faded into the background, and I'm just a person who has other hobbies and other interests. But for a long time, you're always coming out to people, and you're always dealing with it. So you know, that's a true fact; it takes ten years after you come out for your world to totally settle back down again. And we're in a soap opera world, so you probably have to double it! And Nick occupies a very special place. There's a very special bond between friends who are both transgender. Every transgender person has their friends who are not transgender, and they have their family who are not transgender, and those are wonderful relationships. But to have a friend who is transgender and who has been through what you've been through and knows how you're feeling and can talk to you and help you get through things, those are really precious relationships, and Maya is going to need that as she goes back into the world.
soapcentral.com: Both Karla Mosley and Jacob Young have given beautiful performances throughout all of this. What has the experience of working with them been like?
Schofield: Oh, God, with Jacob, I was just in tears. What an honest portrayal that he's been giving. And something that he's representing, we can talk about transgender representation all we want, but we have to talk about the people who are in love with us. Partners of transgender people also face their own discrimination, their own identity crisis. They have to go through a lot of things that nobody ever really thinks about. I'm partnered with a heterosexual woman, and she's also a Christian and comes from a very conservative background, and she's had to deal with unbelievable stuff, just because she loves me. So I watched Jacob, knowing the reality of what his character is going through, and I just have such praise for the sensitivity and the truth that he put on that. He was right there and so good. And don't even get me started about Karla! I mean, come on.
soapcentral.com: This story has been beautiful, and it has dealt with some very serious issues, but I imagine there's been an element of just pure fun in all of this, right? I mean, you're on a soap opera!
Schofield Totally! I mean, here's the thing. I'm a spiritual person, not religious but spiritual, and there's that thing about be careful what you ask for, and also if you really, really ask for something and it's the right thing for you, then it will come down in spades, right? And literally, I had been here for two weeks, in Los Angeles for two weeks, when I got the invitation to audition. I wasn't SAG, I was not a television actor. I have a decade's worth of experience touring the world with theater, but not TV. And when I got here, I said, "Look, I'm going to focus my attention on television, and I want to be a transgender person on television in a really big way, I just want that to really happen." And here I am. You can't control the way it happens, and it came through on a soap opera, and here we are: this soap opera has the most viewers of any [daily drama] on the planet, and I get to play this transgender role done really well in a way that is groundbreaking for all transgender representation -- ever. It's so huge.
sopcentral.com: It must feel so surreal. And you're right: be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!
Schofield: Exactly. And I am so grateful. I fall down every day with such gratitude that I could be the right person at the right time to tell this very good, very right story.
soapcentral.com: Were you very familiar with B&B or soap operas in general before you were cast?
Schofield: I was really into soap operas when I was a kid, but I grew up in England, so we watched Neighbours and Coronation Street. So I was really into it in that way, but when we moved to the Unites States, I was 14, and because they didn't have my soaps, I didn't get back into them here. So I haven't really watched, but I'm watching now!
soapcentral.com: Since you're familiar with the soap opera format, is there any typical soap opera situation you'd love to play while you're on a soap? Like a steamy affair, buried alive, crazy pregnancy storyline, that kind of thing?
Schofield: Yeah, so here's what I hope happens to Nick [laughs]: I hope that someone from the Spencer side of the world who doesn't know that I'm transgender falls in love with me and is then faced with having to get real with themselves. And it doesn't matter if it's a guy or a girl; I don't care either way, just the most dramatic way possible. And then, because of that love story, I hope that my death is staged and I disappear for a while, only to come back later. I love the "died and then came back" stories.
soapcentral.com: Well you're in the right place to get that! Stories that have impacted the LGBT community have been front and center on most of the shows in recent years, and I'm wondering what important social issue that you think daytime should take on next?
Schofield: Oh wow, that's a great question.
soapcentral.com: The shows have the power to make a difference, as we've seen with the Maya storyline.
Schofield You're right, they do, and that's why I'm taking it seriously, what you're asking me. I mean, really, if they were going to give the same treatment that they've giving transgender issues right now, and I heard about homeless stuff they did. I read up on that and how really impactful that was. You know, I think domestic abuse would be a really important to pick up, and doing it in the ways that are happening now, sort of like the electronic leash and psychological abuse that's going on in otherwise normal couples. People are acting really abusively now because we don't know how, what we're doing with technology. I think that would be important.
soapcentral.com: That's a good one, actually. And current. I've taken a lot of your time, but what do you hope to take away -- either for yourself or for the fans -- from your B&B experience?
Schofield: Well you know, I'm more concerned with what the audience is going through. What I hope is that by the time things start to settle down for Maya after this closure of her transgender identity, I hope that there are 30 million people in the world who feel that they know a transgender person and feel that they would know how to act compassionately and supportively to a transgender person in their lives. That would really make some change.
What have you thought about the character of Nick? Would you like to see him stay on the canvas for an extended period of time? If so, what story would you like to see play out? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.