Spoilers below for The Bold Type’s third season.
This season of The Bold Type was an emotional roller coaster for Kat Edison. Not only was Scarlet magazine’s biracial and bisexual social-media guru trying to get over a breakup with her first girlfriend, Adena, but said heartbreak led her to an impromptu run for city councilwoman that resulted in a loss and an unexpected love triangle with her campaign manager and her ex. All this while trying to hold down a day job where she’s tasked with figuring out how to make a lip stain seem woke on Instagram.
If that all sounds a little far-fetched for one season of television, Aisha Dee doesn’t disagree with you. But she says that’s part of the fun of The Bold Type. “This show is always this weird kind of blended mix of the real world and this fantasy world where you wear $30,000 worth of clothes every day,” Dee says with a hint of an Australian accent that might surprise fans who, thanks to her spot-on American accent, don’t know she’s really an Aussie.
Before the season-three finale aired, Vulture spoke with Dee over the phone about being forever Team Adena, petitioning for a musical episode, and The Bold Type’s very bold decision to only refer to Scarlet’s website as “the Dot Com.”
The Bold Type is so good at infusing recent events into its story lines. How much was Kat’s City Council run this season influenced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and last year’s midterm elections, where we saw more women take office than ever before?
I definitely think parts of Kat’s story took inspiration from AOC and also all of the young queer people of color basically saying, “You know what? Politics has been run by a certain type of person for too long and we’re all going to throw our hats in the ring.” It’s been really amazing to see all of these diverse voices coming into politics, and it felt like the right time to be telling this story even though part of it feels so unrealistic to me. I remember reading it and being like, “Really, guys? Really?”
What part felt unrealistic to you?
Well, first of all, it feels like something we might have done in season seven or eight, like when we were out of stories. [Laughs.] And also, Kat doesn’t know anything about politics. In episode nine, Kat is spiraling out and is like, “I don’t know anything about politics. Why am I running for City Council? This is ridiculous.” I think it was important to me for Kat to have that as a part of her reality, feeling kind of unworthy. But it’s also kind of inspiring to see someone who doesn’t know that much about politics educate themselves and really get involved, because does anyone really know what they’re doing? We’re all just children playing adults, really.
In the end, Kat loses her election to the incumbent. Did you always know she was going to lose her City Council bid?
I did not know that going into the season and I was like, “Guys, Kat has gotten the shit knocked out of her this entire season.” She’s just making bad decisions left and right. She’s a messy bitch, but I love her.
How did you feel when you found out she wasn’t going to win?
I mean, I was really sad, but I guess I didn’t realize when we started this story line that if she was to win she would have to leave the magazine. When that came up halfway through the season I was like, “Man, so if we get another season what’s going to happen?” I started to kind of feel this sadness because I was like, “Well, that means I won’t get to shoot in the bull pen anymore and I won’t get to go into the fashion closet anymore,” and I think that’s almost parallel to the moment that Kat has in episode nine where she’s kind of realizing she’s going to lose all these things. But I’m always rooting for Kat. I wanted her to win because I wanted her to have some kind of personal win.
Kat’s decision to choose herself over starting a relationship with her campaign manager Tia (Alexis Floyd) or her ex-girlfriend Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) feels like a win going into season four.
Yeah, I think it’s going to be really special to see Kat come into her own as her own person. Especially someone like Kat, who is kind of discovering who she is so much later in life. She’s only just come to terms with her sexuality and also her racial identity and finding her power as a woman, and just figuring out how to move through the world as her own person. I think it’s important for young women and men and anyone who’s watching to see that as well. Just because you have feelings for someone and just because you love someone doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right thing for you. Your first priority should always be yourself. I mean, look, I’m a fan of Kat and Adena, and I so badly want them to get back together because I also just love Nikohl, but I think it’s really important to get to see Kat grow on her own and become her own complete person. And then hopefully they can find their way back to one another at some point in the future.
The finale ends with Adena getting a job as Scarlet’s in-house photographer. How does this throw a wrench in Kat’s plan to be independent?
I don’t know. I really want to see Kat and Adena be friends. I truly think it’s possible for them because I think they connect on a level that was more than just sexual tension; it was deeper than that. But I think they understand each other in a really special way, so I would really like to see them be true friends for a long time, and then they’ll get married. [Laughs.] You know, just elope, go to Vegas. Unfortunately, I don’t write the show, so I have no control over this.
You’ve previously talked about how you’ve given suggestions to The Bold Type’s writers of what you’d like to see. What’s on your list of suggestions for next season?
Oh Lord, I have too many ideas. But they haven’t yet said that they don’t like me calling them up and saying, “So, I have thoughts.” I would really love to see some trans characters on the show; we haven’t really explored that yet. I would love to see Kat find her own queer community. I also really love Tia and her story so much. I feel like we only got to scratch the surface in terms of her perspective and where she’s coming from as a queer woman who’s just in the process of coming out. She’s similar to Kat, but also she’s really coming from a completely different worldview and perspective, and I think that’s really important to explore. Kat is coming from this place of a lot of privilege, really. Actually, all three of the girls are. When we think in terms of class, we haven’t really explored the fact that these girls are blessed to live the lives that they do.
I also really want a musical episode. I want the girls to do mushrooms and then Jacqueline is our shaman. I want to see Melora Hardin [who plays Jacqueline Carlyle] do a grapevine. Oh man, let’s start a petition or whatever!
I would definitely sign. This season ends with Jacqueline disappearing after making some major changes to Scarlet’s September issue. The office is literally being torn apart in that final shot. Do you know what this means for next season?
I have no idea, but I’m so curious. They’ve done this to us almost every season, the cliffhangers. In the first season, we actually shot a few different endings, and then the same thing happened this past season. We shot a bunch of different endings, so I know what they used, but I don’t really know where they’re going.
What were some of these different endings for this season? How do you think they compare to the one The Bold Type chose?
We shot some less cliffhanger-y ones that were just like, “And we’re going to the office.” I think there was something with Jane, but I’m blanking on it right now. The one they picked is good. We like the drama of the movers taking all the shit out and the lights going off. I love when the show leans into its campy side. We want the drama; we don’t want reality. Well, we want a bit of a mix of both. The show’s at its best when it’s walking the line between the real world and this kind of fantasy.
The real mystery of this season is The Bold Type’s use of the phrase “the Dot Com.” Are you aware of how obsessed fans are with this?
It’s my favorite thing ever. [Laughs.] I did try to play “the Dot Com” drinking game when I was watching one week, and then I was like, “Oh, I’m not trying to die today.” I think it’s so fucking hilarious. I live for that stuff because I have the most fun watching shows when I can feel involved and I’m in on the joke a little bit. That’s what I always loved about the teasers for this show. They always felt, at least to me, like they were winking at the audience, being like, “It’s okay, we know. Do you want to just come have fun with us for 45 minutes, and then we’ll all go and have our weeks?” I love “the Dot Com.”
Do you know why everyone on the show refers to Scarlet’s website in this way?
You know, I never really had much to do with “the Dot Com.” I don’t think I ever had to say it myself. I wasn’t super involved in that story line, whereas Jane is writing for “the Dot Com,” but she doesn’t want to write for “the Dot Com.” But, like, why don’t you want to, bitch? Everyone’s on the internet. Who’s buying magazines anymore? [Laughs.] I’m sorry, I can’t get over it. Meghann [Fahy, who plays Sutton] showed me this article that her friends had sent her where it was just all the times “the Dot Com” has been said. It’s incredible.
That was Vulture’s video, which means this is all coming full circle.
Well, well done whoever made that video; you made me laugh a lot.