Talk about your family drama! Last week on must-see TV from The Bold and the Beautiful, as the wedding day of transgender woman Maya Avant (Karla Mosley) and the love of her life, Rick Forrester (Jacob Young) began to play out, deep-seated and long buried sentiments, resentments, and denials came to the forefront, as Maya’s parents, particularly her father Julius (Obba Babatundé), revealed in front of the entire wedding party that he has suffered in his own way with his objections, and his struggles to accept Maya’s transition from being his only son, Myron. This included even turning his back on Maya when she was younger, and throwing her out of the Avant home! Maya’s mom, Vivienne (Anna Maria Horsford), who was racked with guilt over her hand in throwing Maya out the front door, then reveals she was caught in the middle between the man she loves and her child, and begs Maya’s forgiveness.
However, in the showdown of all showdowns, Maya stands up to her father! After Julius walks out on the wedding, Vivienne stays behind. Maya and Rick said their “I do’s”, and then began their honeymoon as newlyweds. But with everyone sharing their “truths”, what’s next for Maya and her parents? Can they find resolution?
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the talented trio who have delivered Emmy-worthy power performance after power performance in this storyline: Karla Mosley, Obba Babatundé, and Anna Maria Horsford. The accomplished threesome weigh-in on their gut-wrenching scenes, including Julius secretly telling his wife that Maya is a “freak show” before her wedding. In addition, the actors discuss the effort, care and the importance that the CBS Daytime drama series is taking to look at, and tackle all the complexities facing the transgender community … in particular when a family member discloses, or is revealed to be transgender, and the long road a family often finds themselves on to find common ground, and to love one another in-spite of their differences. Here now are Karla, Obba and Anna Maria!
Last week, viewers of The Bold and the Beautiful watched the massive confrontation scenes between Julius and Maya at her wedding to Rick. Then add to that Vivienne revealing her guilt for siding with her husband for kicking Maya out of the house years ago, and not doing anything about it. What did you think of those scenes? I felt like I was watching an incredible Tony-award winning stage play!
OBBA: I could not agree with you more. I think what was amazing about it is that we are watching a family fight, and in a very complex and difficult situation for everyone involved. I think that’s what came across … that there is no simple answer. How does that get worked out? It’s not just right or wrong. I think the unveiling of what Julius was also experiencing, which was unbeknownst by Maya of what had happened with her grandfather, and her father in terms of the disownment, brings an even greater gravitas to the circumstances, because it’s generational. We were able to identify his viewpoint, attitude, and opinion, where it may not have been understood before, because it may have only been looked upon in its present state. It actually went back generationally. I think you saw the angst and the challenge, and one of things that I also loved when watching the episode was I saw the sameness between Maya and her dad. The same vigor, the same fire, the same obstinance, was there in terms of the way they represent their points. I thought it was beautiful. To have an opportunity to work with the kind of actress that Karla Mosley is has been incredible. I think we fed off of each other and gave to one another. It was an absolute joy to play.
Karla, what has it been like creating this very deep familial back-story with Obba and Anna Marie?
KARLA: I think it’s really important with all characters, and this is the road I have taken for Maya, Julius, and Vivienne. And that is: people aren’t evil. People don’t just do things because they are bad people. They do things because of circumstances, and things that happen, particularly in families. I think we can all relate to the complexities of our histories, teaching and upbringings. I think that part of the reason people have children is to challenge themselves to change and grow. So, this is part of that. We get to watch the Avant family do that in such a beautifully written, and sensitive and carefully crafted way.
Prior to the wedding ceremony, in hurtful dialog and a touching scene, Maya overhears her father calling her a “freak show” to her mother. B&B has to be commended for really looking at the plight of people of the transgender community from all aspects. What has been your reaction to the scripts?
KARLA: I think it’s really been how our head writer Brad Bell, and writers Patrick Mulcahey and Michael Minnis have been working so closely with GLAAD – thinking very carefully about the scripts. They have also been very open to our thoughts and input. The writers have the base of the story, and the life of the family to really making sure we are sticking to the bare bones. There is so much written there already. You have a transgender child … you have a family that has been estranged for 15 years or more … you have Nicole (Reign Edwards) thrown into the mix … and you have the economics. There is so much there that we don’t really need to put anything else into it.
My mouth was hanging open as I listening to the words of this showdown between the family, and the emotions expressed. I think anyone who is a minority, under-represented, or misunderstood for who they really are, and striving against adversity and acceptance to be their authentic selves, could appreciate the words and sentiments during those scenes.
ANNA MARIA: I kept saying, it’s not just about the transgender individual; it’s about the parents’ acceptance of any child that is different. I am not only talking about those who are gay, but just different. I do have a philosophy that the parents know that their child is special or different. They may not say it, but they know.
Karla, what was your reaction when you learned that none other than Obba Babatundé, and Anna Maria Horsford were going to be playing your parents on B&B?
KARLA: I have not told them this yet, but I am a big fan of both of them! It was a pinch-myself-moment for sure, and a blessing to be able to work with these amazing teachers in my lifetime. I consider Obba and Anna Maria two of my teachers, and I am so grateful. They could not be more generous, and obviously ridiculously talented.
ANNA MARIA: Let me just say, Karla, that I am so honored to play your mother on TV. I tell you the passion you bring to daytime and The Bold and the Beautiful, or whatever you have done previously, that is a joy that you really don’t see with young actors. I will tell CBS, “Whatever you are paying her, it’s not enough!” This girl works her butt off! The thing that she has that really makes me want to cry every time I think about it is the integrity of who she is, and what she brings to the screen, and how she really understood what we were saying. She took a stand of: “Yes. This is the treasure. This is the gold”. But she has to be raised that way to feel that strongly. Most people are like, “I just want the part. Just gimme the part … and give me the check!” I am really saying this from my heart. This human being will be remembered for her acting ability, because there is so much truth that you can’t really train somebody to do that. You almost have to come to show business with it. You have to have that with you. Do you agree with me, Obba?
OBBA: Absolutely! I can concur with everything that has been said by both ladies, because both ladies are not just actors who happen to be brilliant, but human beings who happen to be about something. I think one of the reasons you and others sat in tears, or in astonishment while you were experiencing the scenes between Julius, Vivienne, and Maya is because it registered to you on a very human level. Yes, there are great performances going on, but it resonated with your core. I am so thrilled that we had the opportunity, and that the Gods brought this union together of us three actors to be able to tell this very important story. I’ll be honest with you, from what I have read on social media with the tweets, people said, “Oh, my God! I feel like I am intruding on a family’s personal experience, but I can’t leave!” And yes, there are people out there going, “This is ‘my’ story, and how did they know to tell ‘my’ story?” That is how real it seemed for everybody. I also had the opportunity to play as well with our baby girl, Reign Edwards (Nicole). Earlier, Karla mentioned the writer’s names, but I also have to mention our directors Michael Stitch and Cyndi Popp’s names, who were right there with us fashioning and helping us shape those big scenes, and they wanted to get it right. I believe Brad Bell (B&B executive producer and head writer) was really courageous at taking on this story. They trusted, and they put people in place that they believed in, and they wanted to tell this right.
Ladies, can we just give Obba his Daytime Emmy now? I mean, he has some great scenes to choose come Emmy voting time.
ANNA MARIE: From your mouth to Emmy’s ear! (Laughs) And let me say this … when I watched it and was viewing it, I thought it’s almost like a sword fight between Maya and her father. She stood her ground, she understood, and was strong when she heard the things he had to say. Then he came back in, and it became this sword fight, and I don’t even know who won. I can’t tell you, because I felt strong for the father’s view, and I felt strong about Maya’s, but what I saw in the acting was that she was really so much like him. It felt like child and parent saying, “Don’t deny what you got from me!” What Maya got was the ability to open her mouth and argue with him. Maya was basically saying, “You might not believe my point of view, but I believe it,” and he did the same. My poor fans who follow my work said about me, “I have never seen you with your mouth closed!” (Laughs) This is about a woman trying to keep her husband, and most women, as strange as it is to some, want a family. They don’t want to just say: “I am rooting for my child or I am rooting for my husband.” You’re rooting for a family, which is a very interesting dynamic. I think Vivienne still in all of this pain, confusion and embarrassment, still wanted to see her family intact.
Where do you see the relationship between Maya and her parents heading in the future? Now while Maya has gone off on her honeymoon with Rick, when she returns things are on shaky ground with many wounded parties in the Avant family.
KARLA: There really was no winner in what the audience saw. You could see how people love each other, and want to find a way to be in each other’s lives, but yet they are still so far from that. It feels so far. I think there is a possibility of reconciliation now that they have ultimately hit rock bottom, and had this very hard conversation with each other in a real way. It could really open up a possibility for discussion in how to move forward in the future.
JULIUS: I think there is no way to put a bow on this thing right away. I think we have to see: What if Julius is right about the situation? What if this all doesn’t work out necessarily for Maya? Healing comes in different ways. It doesn’t just come by someone saying, “OK, I’m sorry.” Julius and Maya love each other even though they have different views and opinions. And if you remember, Julius said, “No matter what, I will never not be your father.” He meant that! When Julius spoke to Rick he asked him, “Are you going to be there continually?” One of Julius’ objections was, “Suppose this dude decides he doesn’t want this no more? What happens then? And, who does she have to turn to? Her parents!” And remember, Vivienne didn’t divorce her husband … she just stayed at the wedding when he walked out! (Laughs) There’s so much room for continued growth. I think that the fans are connected enough to this now that they want to know that, and what happens from here. There are so many more roads still left to be traveled. There is this family there, and that family is still in crisis, and the crisis hasn’t been resolved.
What have you thought of the performances of Karla, Anna Maria and Obba during B&B’s transgender storyline? When you watched Maya’ wedding and watched the familial drama play-out, did you feel like you were eavesdropping on a private moment between parents and their child? Do you think Maya and her father will eventually reconcile? Share your thoughts contained in the interview in the comment section below!