How "Baby Reindeer" empowered trans actor Nava Mau to play a woman so "entitled to her own emotions"

"As a trans woman, as a Latina woman," Mau said, she is accustomed to quelling her emotions "in order to survive"

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published May 8, 2024 4:24PM (EDT)

Nava Mau as Teri in Baby Reindeer (Courtesy of Netflix)
Nava Mau as Teri in Baby Reindeer (Courtesy of Netflix)

The "Baby Reindeer" cast on Tuesday at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles chatted about their experience starring in Netflix's wildly popular limited series, and Nava Mau is no exception.

The transgender actress, who plays the love interest to Richard Gadd's Donny Dunn — a flailing comedian who is stalked by a woman (Jessica Gunning) — said she was immediately captivated by the script. “I stayed up all night and I started journaling about it,” she said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “It really kind of found a place in my mind and in my heart and never left."

In the series, Teri (Mau) is the character who is the most honest with herself and sets clear boundaries about how she would be treated. That means despite her attraction to and sympathy for Donny, she also sees how his emotional issues don't serve her in a relationship.

“I had no idea that I internalized so much anger and that I shut it down," Mau continued. "As a trans woman, as a Latina woman, I have had to do that in order to survive, in order to make my way into the world as far as I have, it’s kind of been my responsibility to take care of other people’s emotions. It was so difficult and challenging, honestly, to play a character who felt so entitled to her own emotions and was not too concerned about taking care of other people’s emotions. That was very empowering for me to get in tune with my body again.”