Art & Culture

Aisha Dee: ‘The Bold Type’ and Beyond

The Australian actress and musician discusses the legacy of the cult tv series and opens up about her future.

Yesterday, fans in the US waved goodbye to The Bold Type, which came to a close after five series. First beginning in 2017, the show took us into the lives and loves of three empowered, get-up-and-go millennials working at Scarlet (a dead ringer for Cosmpolitan): writer Jane, stylist Sutton and social media maven Kat — the latter of whom quickly became a fan favourite for her outspoken morals and infectious personality. 

Now that The Bold Type has come to an end, it’s time to familiarise yourself with Aisha Dee: the actress behind Kat, whose bubbly on-screen presence has been lighting up our screens for the past four years. Raised in Australia, early gigs on tween show The Saddle Club ignited her passion for performing which, fast-forwarding to 2021, now see her exploring her talents as a musician and filming in Austin for Netflix film Plus/Minus, from none other than Rafiki director Wanuri Kahiu. 

Below, we catch up with Dee to discuss her beginnings in the industry, growing up on screen and the exciting new horizons for her career. 

Great to meet you Aisha, we’re big fans at HUNGER. As a first question, when did you get into acting?

Growing up I always found a lot of comfort in TV and movies, I’d look for ads in the Yellow Pages and the newspaper and beg my mum to take me to open calls. Looking back I guess it was all a bit extra. 

 

So it all started young? After that initial enthusiasm, what was your experience of breaking into acting in Australia? 

My first experience on set was this kids show called The Saddle Club. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing but I was blessed to have been surrounded by people that created an environment where it was safe to learn. Our camera department took the time to explain marks, lights, and set ups and our producers encouraged us to share our ideas. We got to ride horses and every episode ended with a group hug and a musical number. Thirteen year old me was like, “This is what dreams are made of!”

What was it like growing up on screen?

Going through puberty is never cute. At the time, I struggled with seeing my body change and having all that documented on camera was complicated for sure. But I was lucky to have a good group of people around, reminding me not to take it all too seriously. My family has always had this superpower of being able to see the humour in all things, I try to remind myself of that when things start to get heavy. 

 

Always a good approach to have! Let’s talk The Bold Type: Kat is such a beloved character, what’s it been like playing a role with such a following?

First of all, Kat is way cooler than me! I admire her a lot, and feel protective of her too.The idea that this character has also empowered and inspired people out in the world is kind of hard to conceptualise. I love Kat so much and I feel really honoured to have had the task of bringing her to life.

 

Why do you think Kat resonates with people so much?

I’m not sure, I feel like it’s personal for everyone. For me, I always really connected with her because I saw her strength and I saw past the walls she put up. She speaks her mind and stands in her truth and we also get to see her at her most vulnerable. 

 

Beyond playing Kat, what’s been the best thing about working on the series?

I’m a better human because of the people I got to work with over the last five years. Maybe it’s a little cliché, but it’s true, I cant imagine my life without them in it. 

What do you hope the series’ legacy is?

Thinking about the show in the context of having a legacy is so wild! I hope that, no matter what, it brings people comfort and the confidence to speak their truth and live their most authentic life. All in all, I guess its what Jaqueline said in the pilot; “I expect you to have adventures.” 

 

Looking to the future, what attracts you to the roles and projects you want to work on?

I’ve always been attracted to things that feel different and new, I don’t want to get too comfortable. With every project and new character, there’s an important lesson to learn. So I try my best to just stay open and go with the flow. 

 

The Bold Type partly reached such a big audience because of streaming, something which would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Do you have any thoughts on what the future of television could be?

I have no idea! But isn’t the uncertainty of life what makes it so exciting?  

 

Finally, what’s next for you?

I’ve been working on music a lot lately, just me and my laptop on the floor of my living room. Music has always brought me a lot of peace, so Im hoping to share some of that soon. I’ve got a couple movies in the works too but, to be honest, my biggest priorities moving forward are to eat good, stay hydrated, and hug my family and friends as much as possible. 

1 July 2021

#AishaDee #TheBoldType