What's it like to work at a magazine in 2017? Only those who have worked at one truly know the answer to that question, but a new series on Freeform is offering outsiders a glimpse.
"The Bold Type" tells the story of three young women in the early years of their careers at the fictional Scarlet magazine, which is loosely based on the real-life Cosmopolitan and its former editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.
The storylines may be fictionalized, but they draw from topics that will resonate with audiences. In the first episode, Kat (Aisha Dee) chases a story about a Muslim lesbian photographer named Adena (Nikohl Boosheri), with unexpected repercussions.
CBS News recently caught up with Dee to talk about her new role.
How would you describe your character, Kat?
Kat is the social media guru of the office. She is the head of the department and actually is pretty young to be in this position. I think she has gotten where she is just by being aware of who she is and feeling validated in that. She has no idea that she's supposed to be intimidated by these people in suits and chooses to speak her mind and think about the consequences later. I can tell you she definitely gets herself into trouble doing that. It's not an easy road for any of these girls, but I think it's going to be fun for the viewers.
You've said you felt connected to this character. What was it about her that you were so drawn to?
She is a character that has her own power and isn't afraid to speak her mind, but she's also not perfect. She has flaws and makes mistakes. Those mistakes don't mean that she's not powerful, they just mean she is a human who is not perfect. All humans are a little flawed, so I connected with that.
I was excited to see this girl who was a woman of color. I also just loved seeing someone centered in her narrative and really living her own life. The three girls on this show have such different experiences, but we really get to see their stories explored. I think no matter who you are, there is something or someone you will connect with.
Many young people today might be able to relate to your character's confidence. Who did you look to for inspiration in preparation for this role?
I spent a lot of time talking to and connecting with the women from Cosmopolitan magazine. They told us so many stories, which were interesting to hear. I also just tried to connect with that side of myself and the women I really admire in the world. There is a part of me that actually is naïve to what I should be intimidated by, much like Kat. I moved to a different continent when I was 17 years old and told my family I wanted to be an actress. Fortunately it worked out, but I don't think I was aware of how bad it could have been if I didn't get a job. So in becoming Kat, it was really just a matter of reconnecting with that side of me, and it's been great. I admire Kat so much. She is an inspiration for me and I hope she inspires others, too.
Were you surprised by anything you learned about the magazine and media industry?
I had no idea how much work really went into building a new issue and just the level of responsibility that these women must feel. It is just way more intricate and complicated than I thought it was.
Also, on the show and in real life, I think there is this idea of women's magazines being just about makeup. In reality, though, many of these magazines geared towards young females can not just be about makeup and fashion because we are so politically involved.
We want to start and be a part of the conversation, and I think magazines today reflect what is happening in society. That is where we are at in the world and that is what this show is about. We are not trying to redefine feminism in any way -- we're just reflecting it. It's actually really cool to see people of all ages, races and genders standing up and speaking their minds.
"The Bold Type" airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Freeform.