Big news came out of Comic-Con this year: actress Nicole Amber Maines will be joining the cast of the CW’s Supergirl as the first transgender superhero, Nia Nal.
This doesn’t mark the first time Maines has spent time in the spotlight. She also made a name for herself after winning a discrimination lawsuit against her school district after being banned from using the girl’s restrooms.
Read on to learn more about Maines.
1. She Will Be TV’s First Trans Superhero
At Saturday’s Comic-Con, news surfaced that Nicole Maines will become the first trans superhero on television.
Speaking about the role with Variety shortly after the news was announced, Maines said, “I haven’t really wrapped my head around it… It feels fitting to say with great power, comes great responsibility. She went on say, “I’m nervous because I want to do it right.”
Speaking about TV in general, Maines continued, “We can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want, we can be superheroes because in many ways we are. We’ve had trans representation in television for a while but it hasn’t been the right representation.”
2. She Was Featured in the 2016 HBO Documentary ‘The Trans List’
The Trans List, a 2016 documentary, “explores the range of experiences lived by Americans who identify as transgender.” The HBO documentary featured interviews with many mainstream stars, including Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner.
Maines also played a guest star as a transgender teen in an episode of USA’s Royal Pains.
The documentary delves partially into Maines’ lawsuit. She tells Woman In the World that her parents filed a lawsuit against her school after a bodyguard was specifically hired to “ensure she used the staff bathroom.”
Speaking to the outlet, Maines said, “I would get up to go to class to just go to the bathroom and my teacher would have to stop me in front of everybody and tell me to wait for whoever was following me that day… It was really, really humiliating, so it felt really good to know that my parents recognized what was happening and knew that it was wrong.”
3. She Will Star in the Indie Film ‘Bit’
Next, Maines will star in the Indie film Bit. The show follows Laurel, a teenage transgender girl who “moves to LA and falls in with a gang of intersectional feminist vampires,” in the words of Deadline.
The film is written and produced by Brad Michael Elmore.
It is unclear when Bit will be released. According to Women and Hollywood, it finished filming in Spring 2018 in Los Angeles.
4. She Is the Subject of the New York Times Book ‘Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family’
Maines is the subject of the New York Times book Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, written by Amy Ellis Nutt.
Nutt, who covers health and since for The Washington Post, spoke to the Bangor Daily News about the effect she hopes her book has on others. She said, “I think what I want people to take away from the book is that these people are no different from you… No different from you, from your family, from your sons and daughters, from your mother, your father, your wife, your husband.”
Nutt continued, “And that, therefore, it’s universal. And frankly, this is about love and family coming together to overcome other people’s misunderstandings. It was not a problem in their family; it was a problem with other people. But they weathered it.”
5. She Grew up with an Identical Twin Brother
Nicole was born Wyatt Maines. Her identical twin brother’s name is Jonas.
In a 2015 interview with ABC, Nicole explained that she knew she was trans when she was three. “Well, I didn’t know trans because I didn’t know there was a word for it, but I just knew that in my head and my heart that I was supposed to be a girl.”
She continued, “Being a girl just felt right… It felt like that’s what I was supposed to be, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve never felt like I made the wrong decision. I’ve never felt like I’m doing the wrong thing with my life. I just knew this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.”
Nicole’s mother, Kelly, says she always knew Nicole was different. “I didn’t know that she was transgender at 3, I just knew she wasn’t like the other twin,” she explains. Her father, Wayne, admits the idea of letting go of one of his sons was difficult. “When the twins were born I had these dreams,” he told ABC. “I already knew what deer rifles I was going to buy, and by the time they were 2 years old they were going to have them. Football, basketball, everything we thought about for me was ‘the boys.'”