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‘Sense8’ Star Jamie Clayton on Playing a Trans Character Well Past Transition: ‘Nomi Is the First’

TCA 2015: ”I’m thrilled beyond words. I’m honored, I’m so pleased, I’m so happy. What are more words like this?“ Netflix star gushes

Trans actress Jamie Clayton couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm about her role as transgender character Nomi on Netflix’s “Sense8.”

“Playing a trans-character on a show being shepherded by Lana Wachowski, I knew I would be protected and represented in a way that trans people have never been represented before on TV,” she said on stage during the show’s panel at the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

“I love Nomi, I love the character. She really represents something we’ve never seen before. It’s empathy. People come together to help each other, it doesn’t matter that they don’t speak the same language, it doesn’t matter their genders, their sexuality.”

Clayton plays one of eight strangers living around the world who find themselves inexplicably connected, being able to see and talk to each other, and even access each other’s thoughts. Clayton’s character Nomi is a trans woman, a hacktivist living in San Francisco with her girlfriend.

Other actors on the series include Brian J. Smith as Will, a cop living in Chicago, Naveen Andrews as Jonas, a sensate belonging to a different cluster who tries to help the newbies, and Daryl Hannah as Angel, another sensate who ends up becoming a mother of sorts to the new group.

Accepting the vastly different characters for who they are is a large part of the show as the strangers get to know each other and find out what they can each contribute to their cluster, and Clayton was extra effusive in getting to play a trans character whose story was not centered around her transition.

“I’m thrilled beyond words. I’m honored, I’m so pleased, I’m so happy. What are more words like this?” the actress gushed. “The amazing thing is what I’m hearing from fans – how pleased they are. There has never been a trans character in a movie or on a show before whose story didn’t revolve around the transition. Nomi is the first. She’s living her life, she has a job, she’s in love. No one cares, because at the end of the day, we shouldn’t care that she’s trans. She’s a human being.”

With all twelve episodes of the show’s first season now on Netflix, fans are eagerly awaiting news of a second season – especially as showrunner J. Michael Straczynski admitted he and the Wachowskis have something of a five season plan, for their own writing process if nothing else.

But for now, there’s nothing concrete about a renewal.

“We’re still awaiting word. We’re in the process,” said Straczynski. “It’s cautiously optimistic. But ultimately it’s Netflix’s call.”