The Bold Type stars Aisha Dee as Kat Edison, Katie Stevens as Jane Sloan, and Meghann Fahy as Sutton Brady — three friends working at a women's magazine in New York City.
If you ask Aisha Dee to describe her show The Bold Type, she says it's like drinking a glass of rosé while reading a Cosmo. It's "real world" but it's also "wish fulfillment," she says.
Dee, Katie Stevens and Meghann Fahy star as Kat, Jane and Sutton — three best friends living in New York and working together at Scarlet magazine, a fictional outlet inspired by Cosmopolitan. The Freeform comedy series begins its third season Tuesday night.
The premise is familiar — HBO's hit shows Sex and the City and Girls both followed the friendships of young women living and working in New York. But The Bold Type aims to provide a fresh take, dealing with issues of career advancement, sexuality, race, women's health and the #MeToo movement.
"These three girls are strong, and they are empowered, and they're making strides in their careers — but they're also not perfect," Dee says. "We get to see them be vulnerable and also kind of navigate these situations that a lot of us come up against."
"Sometimes it's nice to put on TV and just escape," says Meghann Fahy, who plays Sutton. But the stars say what's special about The Bold Type is that it provides a space to tackle issues that affect women — as well as an escape.
"We try to have the happy medium of making it aspirational for people to watch, but also making sure that we do put in failures, and we do put in mess for these characters because that is what's real," Stevens says.
They're portraying young women living in 2019 America — but nobody "wants to sit in the darkness of what that really looks like," she jokes.
On the real Cosmopolitan
Aisha Dee: I'd go to the library with my mom all the time and like sneak into the magazine section because I knew she wouldn't approve of me reading it. ... I think Cosmo told me a lot about about life, and sex, and love.
Meghann Fahy: It's really a women's health magazine. Sometimes I think it gets a bad rap ... When we were young ... not being able to read it, or feeling like we had to hide it, was ... an oppression of, like, sexuality and sensuality and, like, what it is to be a woman and a girl who's learning about her body. ... On our show we sort of talk about how the magazine is so much more than [what people give it credit for].
On people comparing their show to Sex and the City
Katie Stevens: What's more cool to me is you see all those BuzzFeed quizzes that are like, "Are you Miranda or a Carrie, or..." you know. And now there are quizzes that are like, "Are you a Sutton, Kat, or a Jane." I think that ours is obviously like a refreshed, newer version. ... I could watch all of my favorite shows from that era and find problematic things about them. But I think ultimately what you take away from Sex and the City in terms of the women's friendships and them navigating their lives and their aspirations ... I think that you get the same feeling when you watch The Bold Type.
On where their characters are headed in Season 3
Stevens: For Jane, when we left her at Season 2 she had some big decisions to make in terms of who she wanted to be with, and kind of navigating her health stuff in terms of freezing her eggs, and if she was going to do that or not. So in Season 3 she's finally made those decisions. ... I've learned so much from playing this storyline ... about women's health, and we touch a little bit more on that in Season 3.
Fahy: For Sutton in Season 3 I think she's really sort of grappling with what it is that she actually wants to be doing. I think she finally got into the fashion department and ... she doesn't want to be an assistant forever. So she's kind of trying to decide what it is that she does want to work towards. I think that's exciting we haven't actually seen her do that yet.
Dee: We get to see this woman, [Kat], who is described as being so strong and confident, but often we see characters like that and we don't feel the need to ask the question, "Why they need to be so strong and why they need to be so confident?" You get to see Kat be vulnerable and also kind of discover parts of herself in her 20s. ...
I love getting to see this woman who is an adult ... or is trying to be an adult — and she's still discovering who she is and still finding herself, and finding confidence, and falling in love for the first time, and falling out of love for the first time. It's been really a very special story to get to tell, and it's inspired me a lot.
Sydney Harper and Joanne Levine produced and edited this interview for broadcast.