Monday, January 18, 2021

‘Star’ Actress Amiyah Scott Talks Trans Representation and Why Cotton is a Hero [EUR Exclusive]

STAR: Amiyah Scott in the “Take It or Leave It” episode of STAR airing Wednesday, May 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Wilford Harewood/FOX

*“When I was growing up there wasn’t much representation. I didn’t have a hero that I could look to and say, “Okay, things are possible,” trans model and actress Amiyah Scott tells EUR/Electronic Urban Report when asked which images of representation she looked to during her transition process.

“And that’s not saying they didn’t exist,” she added, “but people weren’t as vocal and things weren’t as up front. So it may not have been an identical representation of what I desired. There was no trans representation when I was growing up. I had to pull from different places. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t have role models but as far as a trans woman, or someone whose journey is comparable to my own, no. I had to find it elsewhere.”

Scott is best known for playing Cotton Brown on Lee Daniels‘ “STAR” on FOX. In the series, Cotton was born as Arnold Brown to her Father, Jahil Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) and mother, Carlotta (Queen Latifah) while she was serving time in prison. He later transitioned and was renamed, ‘Cotton’ from a procurer that she used to work for.

We last spoke to the actress during season one, and she dished on the “surreal-ness” of landing her first BIG acting role and working for the award-winning Lee Daniels. This time around, the New Orleans-native explains why Cotton is a much-needed hero in the TV landscape today.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: ‘Star’ Actor Lance Gross on Playing a ‘Beast’ in the Music Industry [EUR Exclusive]

STAR: L-R: Amiyah Scott and Queen Latifah in the “Mrs. Rivera” episode of STAR airing Wednesday, May 16 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Wilford Harewood/FOX

“I think Cotton is strong but feminine. I think the way her character is written, it’s not demeaning. There are things that we have to address. There are realities that we have to talk about and I like the way Lee (Daniels) tries to make it authentic,” she explained. “So yes, I would look at her as a strong trans character that’s much needed because we don’t have many of them. That’s what I’m trying to change now.”

Fans of the series have watched Scott tackle some pretty tough subjects, from Cotton’s tense relationship with her mother, that emotionally-charged scene with Tyrese to Cotton finally meeting her son this season.

When asked how she’s come to grow comfortable wearing Cotton’s skin, Scott explains: “I think I was comfortable to begin with (but) I think about the times that I was not comfortable and that is what I use when I’m playing Cotton. I try to channel back to those moments because I’m much further along in my transition than Cotton is. But I have to distinguish my personal life from the character that I’m playing.”

STAR: Amiyah Scott in the “Forward (E)Motion” episode of STAR airing Wednesday, April 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Wilford Harewood/FOX

While Scott admits that she never feels under pressure (while filming) to please the trans community, she would never take on subject matter that requires her to “compromise myself or my integrity.”

“Cotton is in earlier phases of her transition and it was slightly difficult at first for me to tone my authentic self down to make it more realistic with Cotton and her journey. As long as it’s authentic, and I’m not degrading my community, or doing something that I don’t think would help us, I’m not really concerned with how I’m accepted. I’m doing my job. I would never do anything to compromise myself or my integrity. I’m there to do a job. I’m there to portray a character. I’m an actress, that’s what we do. If people can’t distinguish the fantasy from the reality of who I really am then, it’s on them.”

According to the S2 finale synopsis posted at BBW:

“When egos clash, Take 3’s future as a group is at risk. Noah’s (Luke James) continued substance use jeopardizes his relationships with the people who care about him most and Simone (Brittany O’Grady) and Angel’s (guest star Evan Ross) relationship faces the biggest test yet. Meanwhile, Ayanna (Michael Michele) undergoes a major life change and Cassie (guest star Brandy Norwood) and Carlotta’s (Queen Latifah) sibling FEUD comes to a head in the all-new “Thirty Days to Famous” season finale episode of STAR.”

Tune in to the “Star” season finale airing Wednesday, May 23 at 9/8c on FOX.

Watch:

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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